Industrial Revolution

This essay has a total of 979 words and 6 pages.

Industrial Revolution


The Industrial Revolution is the name given to the movement in which machines changed
people's way of life as well as their methods of manufacture. About the time of the
American Revolution, English People began to use machines to make cloth and steam engines
to run the machines. Sometime later they invented locomotives. Productivity began a steep
climb. By 1850 most Englishmen were laboring in industrial towns and Great Britain had
become the workshop of the world. From Britain the Industrial Revolution spread gradually
throughout Europe and to the United States.

The most important of the changes that the Industrial Revolution brought were:

1. The invention of machines to do the work of hand tools.

2. The use of steam, and later of other kinds of power, in place of the muscles.

3. The adoption of the factory system.

The Industrial Revolution came gradually. However, when measured against the centuries
people had worked entirely by hand, it happened in a short span of time. Until the
inventions of the flying shuttle in 1733 and the spinning jenny in 1764, the making of
yarn and the weaving of cloth had been much the same for thousands of years. By 1800 a
host of new and faster processes were in use in both manufacture and transportation.

Several systems of making goods had grown up by the time of the Industrial Revolution. In
country districts families produced most of the supplies that they used, while in the
cities merchandise was made in shops, and manufacturing was strictly regulated by the
guilds and by the government. The goods made in these shops were limited and costly. The
merchants needed cheaper items, as well as larger quantities, for their growing trade.
They had to establish another system of producing goods. The cottage or domestic industry
filled in the gap for some time, because it gave the merchant a large supply of
manufactured articles at a low price. It provided employment for every member of a craft
worker's family and gave jobs to skilled workers who had no capital to start businesses
for themselves. A few merchants who had enough capital had gone a step further. They
brought workers together under one roof and supplied machines. These establishments were

After centuries of the craft guilds and the government having controlled commerce and
industry, began the belief that it was better to let business be regulated by the free
play of supply and demand rather than by laws The English government started to leave
business free to adopt the new inventions and the methods of production which were best
suited to them.

The new methods increased the amount of goods produced and decreased the cost. British
merchants no longer found it a problem to obtain enough goods to supply their markets and,
at times, the markets were flooded with more goods than could be sold.

As conditions in industry changed, social and political conditions changed with them.
Cities grew rapidly, and the percentage of farmers in the total population declined.

A person had to have a lot of capital to buy machines and open a factory. The men who
controlled these enterprises formed a powerful new class in England called industrial
capitalists. Due to the "laissez-faire, factory owners could arrange working conditions in
whatever way they pleased. Grave difficulties arose for the workers. They had problems
with working hours, wages, unemployment, accidents, employment of women and children, and
housing conditions. The revolution began in England for various reasons. English merchants
were leaders in developing a commerce. There also were new ideas in England which aided
the movement, such as the growing interest in scientific investigation and invention.
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