Concept of Industrial Revolution
What is the Industrial Revolution?
An era of profound and radical economic, social and technological transformations is known as the Industrial Revolution.
The United Kingdom was the first to carry out a series of transformations that placed it at the head of all countries in the world.
In 1850 there was hardly any modern factory in continental Europe, only in Belgium was there a process of revolution followed by that of the United Kingdom. In the second half of the 19th century, the industrialization of Germany was strengthened in Thuringia and Saxony.
Music in the Industrial Revolution
At a time of the rise of the industrial and mercantile bourgeoisie but still dominated by the power of the monarchy, romanticism seemed to be the last breath of freshness before the arrival of the industrial revolution and the proletarianization of the great masses.
All of Europe
It spread throughout Europe and the United States, ending in the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The changes brought about in this era were so radical that they can only be compared with those experienced by humanity in the Neolithic.
They can also be summed up in the abandonment of an agricultural model of trade, work, and society, in favour of an urban, mechanized and industrialized one.
The cornerstone of this revolution was technology, specifically the appearance of the railway.
Subsequently electricity, which modernized labor and agricultural techniques based until then on manual labor and beasts of burden, respectively.
This impacted on the gross domestic product of nations and represented a sustained growth of wealth and a permanent change in the way of life of the great masses as never before lived.
The Industrial Revolution was divided into two stages: the first industrial revolution characterized by the discovery of the textile industry, and the second industrial revolution characterized by scientific and technological advances.
Two stages of the Revolution
In addition, the Industrial Revolution is usually divided into two stages.
The First Industrial Revolution, which began around 1760 with the application of the textile factory model in a Britain governed by the liberal, nonabsolutist monarchy.
The Second Industrial Revolution, characterized by an acceleration of the changes produced by new technology in European society, which began around 1850 and culminated in the beginning of the First World War in 1914.
Background to the Industrial Revolution
Causes and Background
The antecedents of the Industrial Revolution had to do with the Renaissance of European culture after the Middle Ages and its entry into the Modern Era.
This represented a new appreciation of the sciences and knowledge, already free from the yoke of faith, centred rather on human reason (a consequence in turn of the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century).
Another vital trigger was capitalism, which had already begun to establish itself thanks to the Bourgeois Revolutions and the abandonment of the Ancient Regime.
The liberal thought that prevailed in the nations of nonabsolutist monarchies, hand in hand with the spirit of Protestantism and the need to produce their own consumer goods.
In addition to the decline in imports caused by the Napoleonic Wars and the American Wars of Independence, it led to a necessary alliance between farmers and traders, which would cause a demographic boom and the availability of new labor.
The main causes of the industrial revolution in England:
- The prevailing political system in England was not the absolute monarchy, it was the liberal monarchy, which allowed the English to remain free of the revolutions that afflicted the other European countries.
- Modernization of agriculture through four-yearly crop rotation, an introduction of modern machinery to agricultural work and closure of fields. These measures left many peasants out of work who were forced to move to the cities and ensured the abundance of cheap labor.
- The English bourgeoisie had sufficient capital to finance factories, acquire raw materials and machines and hire employees.
- The economic benefits of dominating the European market and owning a large colonial empire. A large amount of capital available was invested in the new industrial activities.
Consequences of the Revolution
The consequences of the Industrial Revolution were tremendous and irreversible in the history of humanity. Among them we can list the following:
● The radical change in the model of life. Improvements in production and trading systems laid the foundation for the mass production of goods, which meant the emergence of new jobs and the generation of wealth in the mass.
● New transports. Steam technology, initially, and then the combustion engine and electricity, allowed new methods of transport that significantly reduced waiting times for goods and allowed human mobility at speeds never suspected.
● The emergence of left-wing ideologies. The predominance of the bourgeoisie as an owner of the means of production and its exploitation of the labor of the industrial workers and impoverished peasants marked the emergence of trade unionism, socialism, anarchism, and communism.
Negative Consequences of the Industrial Revolution
- Growth in the Cities, the mechanization of agricultural tasks and the concentration of industrial production in the cities favored the emigration from the countryside to the city.
- Demographic growth, the Industrial Revolution was also a process of social change. Throughout the 19th century, population growth accelerated. In 1900, more than 400 million people lived in Europe.
- The causes of this population growth were twofold: a sharp drop in mortality and an increase in fertility.
- Changes and the emergence of a new social class called the proletariat, which separated from the bourgeoisie and was called to work as workers in the factories.
- Exploitation at Work.
- Workers Movement.
- Trade unionism.
- Between 1800 and 1924, 60 million Europeans emigrated to other continents.
These transoceanic migrations took place in waves: until 1870 the British, especially the Irish and Scandinavians, emigrated the most.
At the end of the century, the groups that emigrated the most were Italians, Spaniards, Greeks, and Turks. The majority of European emigrants went to America.
Inventions of the Industrial Revolution
Some of the most important inventions that took place during the Industrial Revolution were:
- The steam engine. Built for the first time in 1768 by James Watt, this machine capable of converting the heat of a coal-fired boiler into moving force gave rise to trains, steamships and other much more powerful and fast production mechanisms.
- The trains. An emblematic and fundamental figure of the Industrial Revolution, the train shortened the time needed to move personnel and merchandise, unified distant towns and forever changed the way we think about distance.
- The light bulb. Devised at the beginning of the 19th century, it was perhaps the practical application of electricity that had the greatest impact on European households. Until then, lighting was produced by burning gas or fuel, and the electric bulb meant the possibility of lighting the nights and extending the useful periods of work and life.
- The spinning machine. This device revolutionized the production of textiles, which until then had been given manually and in a handmade way, allowing several spinners to work at the same time, maximizing textile production. Shortly thereafter, the first steps were taken in the relative automation of the process.
Second Industrial Revolution
The Second Industrial Revolution occurred between 1850 and 1914 and involved the development of great and revolutionary inventions in transport (combustion engines, airplanes) and telecommunications (the telegraph, telephone, radio).
Its impact was even greater than that of the First Industrial Revolution and forever changed the models of work, education and citizen coexistence.
In addition, it led to a so-called first globalization, in which the economy internationalized and expanded its influence over territories not reached in the previous explosion.
Evolution of the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution transformed traditional production techniques. Manual labor was replaced by machines, and human and animal force, as well as that of natural elements, gave way to new sources of energy.
The main industries affected were textiles, metallurgy, and chemicals.
The main feature of the industrial revolution was the creation of the mechanized factory system, i.e. factories have moved from simple manufactured production to the complex substitution of manual labor by machines.
This substitution involved accelerating the production of goods, which were produced on a large scale.
This time is very important because it went from a rural world to an industrial world. It was also a time of great inventions, highlighting above all one: The steam engine, With this invention, were born the railroad and the steamship.
The textile industry improved the production and quality of fabrics thanks to the steam engine, which transformed the expansive force of water steam into movement. The first factory was established in Manchester in 1806.
In the factory system, the organization of work was determined by the discipline imposed by the machines.
The textile industry generated a series of demands for iron machines and raw materials that boosted the growth of the metallurgical and chemical industries. Mining increased its production to supply coking coal to the metallurgical industry.
The chemical industry created artificial substances such as chlorine, sulphuric acid, soda, and the first artificial textile fibers.
Revolution in transport
At the beginning of the 19th century, the steam engine began to be used in means of transport.
Date 1807 the first steamship. In 1825, in England, the engineer George Estephenson managed to build the first railway.
With the steamboat and the railways, travel time decreased, the cost of transport decreased and the volume of trade, i.e. the market, increased even more.
With the increase in exchanges and the consequent need to produce more, the advances of industrialization became greater and greater.