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Industrial Revolution

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The Industrial Revolution

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, England began to undergo many social and economic changes, which society knows today as, The Industrial Revolution. The consequences of this revolution would change human labor, consumption, family structure, social structure, and according to newer research, the very soul and thoughts of the individual in a dramatic way. Historians are still in constant debate, asking the question; why this occurred and more importantly, why did this take place in England? According to Dr. Gregory Clark, the reason for this revolution was a change in the nature of human population, meaning, through the course of natural selection people began to think in different ways. Now, according to the text, A History of Western Society, the revolution occurred through the increase in population, and the demand of more efficient technology. With these changes lurking ahead, a new kind of lifestyle will soon emerge.

The debate takes off with the question; what brought about the revolution? As seen in the text by Robert Heilbroner, "England was the scene of the most successful and thorough-going transformation of feudal society into commercial society. A succession of strong kings had effectively broken the power of the local nobility and had made England into a single unified state." This was key to the success of England because if the country were in disarray like its neighboring countries, the industrial revolution would not have taken place. According to historians, people built up better immunity to diseases, which caused a rise in the population. With the population steadily increasing, and the food

supply decreasing, problems soon arose for England. England needed new technology to increase productivity, they soon developed a new way to grow and harvest

crops that surpassed the tenant-farming era. This new way of harvesting came about with the passing of the enclosure act. This method required less people and produced more surpluses.

Dr. Gregory Clark, the writer of the book A Farewell to Alms, has a much different perspective on how this revolution began. Instead of typical historian belief of increased population starting the revolution. He believes that through the process of natural selection the thought process of people changed. As this change occurred people developed new behaviors linked with the succession of modern economy. The upper class had these thought patterns already since they were so involved in wealth and not mainly concerned with scraping by with the bare minimal. Since birthrate compared to death rate was higher in upper class opposed to lower class, through analysis of ancient wills it was shown that the upper class eventually made up a large percent of the population. In doing so, the idea's for wealth and becoming a wealthy nation spread through Europe like cancer.

Another major cause of The Industrial Revolution was the textile industry, with cotton becoming the number one material used in the manufacturing of clothing, being it is stronger and less expensive then wool, new ways to harvest this beneficial crop must be found. Eli Whitney's cotton gin and Hargreaves's spinning jenny and all the different variations go hand in hand at this time period. The Cotton Gin made it faster and more

efficient to harvest cotton. With cotton being shipped in at a faster rate, textile factories were built in order to spin the cotton into cloth, which is later used for clothing. With the completion of factories, new jobs provide new hope for the people of England. Another invention that kick started the revolution was the steam engine. With this new technology they were able to make steam powered pumps that would drain mines of

water, allowing them to mine more coal. The steam engine also made it possible for the steam-powered bellows, which then made it possible to make iron at an affordable price. The steam engine also brought about the railway systems, allowing them to move freight with ease.




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