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A study on the origin and effect of the industrial revolution in England

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  1. Introduction
  2. Causes
    1. Spread of mercantilism and establishment of capitalism
    2. Establishment of a strong unified state
    3. Legislations and the establishment of capitalism
    4. Changes in land holding pattern
    5. Increase in population
    6. Work ethics
    7. The putting out system
  3. The revolution
    1. Developments in agriculture
    2. Textiles, metals, steam engine, chemicals and transportation development
  4. Impact of the industrial revolution
    1. The working class
    2. The luddites
    3. The middle class
    4. Political impact
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

The Industrial Revolution refers to the first breakthrough from a rural handicraft economy to a urban machine driven manufacturing economy that took place in England around 1780 C.E., and which, in the course of the next one hundred years, spread and established itself over much of Europe and North America. Massive changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and transportation wrought about by the Industrial Revolution went on to change every single aspect of human life including human labor, consumption, family structure, social structure, and even the very soul and thoughts of the individual. This revolution therefore marked a turning point in human history, just like the advent of agriculture had done so ten thousand years before.
The precursor to the Industrial Revolution was the spirit of mercantilism that established itself in Renaissance Europe that enabled Europe to free itself from the shackles of the Feudal Economy. Very soon, European traders, merchants, and men of commerce established themselves as the world's foremost manufacturers and traders, and the kings depended on these traders to provide them the ware withal to maintain the economy of their states, both in terms of flourishing commercial activity and the maintenance of armies. These trader-capitalists depended on growth of their trade, and after a point of time when the domestic consumption in Europe was satiated, required an ever expanding market to sell their goods and make additional profits. This gave an impetus for the Europeans to make voyages into distant lands, and eventually led to the establishment of colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The merchant-capitalist soon established flourishing trade with these colonies, and the procurement of raw material from the colonies, and the demand for new products from these colonies necessitated mass production.

[...] IMPACT OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION In terms of social structure, the Industrial Revolution witnessed the triumph of a middle class of industrialists and businessmen over a landed class of nobility and gentry. The Working Class The Industrial Revolution provided opportunities for the peasants uprooted from their land because of the enclosure movement. They flocked to cities and found employment in the new mills and factories. However, such factories often operated under strict working conditions with long hours of labor, dominated by a pace set by machines. [...]

[...] Developments in Agriculture Throughout the 17th and 18th Century, Britain witnessed an agricultural revolution that soon became a part of the Industrial Revolution. The enclosure movement gave the landowners the luxury of adopting new methods of farming and experimenting with new types of vegetables and grains, and in the process learned a great deal about manure and other fertilizers. Developments in agriculture came in the form of invention of new machines and discovery of better agricultural practices. Jethro Tull invented a horse-drawn hoe and a mechanical seeder that allowed planting seeds in orderly rows. [...]

[...] Steam Engine The first attempt at industrial use of steam power, made by Thomas Savery in 1698 ended in a failure since it was limited in pumping height and prone to boiler explosions. In 1712, Thomas Newcomen established the first safe and successful steam power plant. However since Savery had taken a very wide-ranging patent, Newcomen and his associates were obliged to come to an arrangement with him, marketing the engine until 1733 under a joint patent. The Newcomen engines successfully drained hitherto unworkable deep mines in Britain. [...]

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