There were many causes and effects of the Industrial Revolution. The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment combined to create a new world view. This, in turn, led to the creation of new technology and organizations like the British Royal Society of Arts focused on progress and Enlightenment ideals. The Agricultural Revolution and enclosure movements led to increased agricultural productivity and produced a pool of potential workers to work in new factories, leading to ability for industrial change. Natural resources and easy access to major waterways also allowed for increased industrial development.
In Great Britain, there were high levels of taxation. This taxation led to an increased government budget than in turn led to the potential for major industrial change. Another factor that led to the industrial revolution, competition from foreign countries inspired English industrial innovation as the English fought to maintain a dominant place in Europe’s economy as well as the colonial world. When new factories were built, cottage workers were reluctant to give up their way of life to work in a factory. This led to children, specifically orphans, working in factories.
During the industrial revolution, there was high demand for coal. The demand for coal called for innovations in coal producing technology which led to the eventual production of the steam engine as an efficient way to provide and produce coal. James Watt’s improvements to the steam engine between 1763 and 1779 led to its increased practical and commercial success. The technical innovations of the industrial revolution increased the demand for iron which led to an iron boom in Great Britain. One innovation of the industrial revolution was railroads.
The development of railroads led to lower shipping costs, a more connected world, and larger markets that decreased the importance and prevalence of cottage industry. A final factor that caused the industrial revolution was population growth that called for a growth in industry. Industrialization in Great Britain led to the industrialization of other countries as British innovations inspired other countries to innovate. Strong governments in continental European countries promoted industrial innovation by using state power to try to catch up with Great Britain.
Increased development in continental Europe was also caused by limited liability banks which lowered investment risks by ending the practice of making investors pay more than they invested if a business failed. One effect of increased factory labor was the decreased presence of working women as married women could no longer manage factory work and raising children. Higher classes adopted the ideology of separate spheres during this time period which also inspired the lower classes to decrease women’s presence in the workplace.
When capitalists attacked the labor industry, they led to the formation of the labor movement and unions that were aimed to protect workers’ rights. Finally, the British slave trade continued during this time period and led to increased demand for British goods by creating more markets for British goods and increased development of institutions to help industrialists obtain means to further their work as industrialists work often helped the infrastructure of the British slave trade. Thus, the Industrial Revolution had several varied causes and effects.
Some aspects of the Industrial Revolution are comparable while others are contrastable. During this time period, there were radical and extreme changes to French political structure in the form of the French Revolution. Comparably, the British Industrial revolution caused radical changes to industry through the adoption of new technology that mirrored the French’s adoption of new politics. Both Great Britain and France were also similar because of the high taxes they levied to pay off war debt.
However, French taxes led to revolution, while British taxes led to industrial development. During the Industrial Revolution, Great Britain increased its output of products immensely, producing 2% of the world’s products in 1750, a stark contrast to the massive 20% of the world’s products in 1860. Continental Europe, the United States, and Japan also industrialized in comparable ways as all three areas were inspired by Great Britain and industrialized their economies immensely as a result of the British industrial revolution.
In Great Britain and most of Europe and the west, industrialization led to increased production, contrasting the decreased production in India and other non-Western countries that occurred as a result of the European industrial revolution. One country that contrasted the rest of the non-Western countries was Japan which industrialized along with the west. Because of their head start in the race to industrialize, Great Britain’s technology was very advanced and contrasted the technology of other European countries that tried to catch up to it, especially near the beginning of the industrial revolution.
One result of British industrialization was the death of cottage industry. This contrasted France where cottage industry was embraced and led to France’s reputation as a source for fine artisanal work and handicrafts. As nations industrialized, they comparably increased tariffs in an attempt to ruin the business success of their rival nations. The effects of the Industrial Revolution in the West and the effect of the Industrial Revolution in non-Western areas contrast one another. In Europe, industrialization of the economy was successful while in non-European areas, industrialization of the economy often failed.
In fact, in non-European areas, the Industrial Revolution often led to deindustrialization that contrasted the industrialization of Europe. In Europe, the relaxed life in cottage industry that allowed individuals to take breaks and work when they wanted contrasted the set, fast, new factory life. Not all people valued industrialization, as shown by the romantic poets whose views on industrialization as a kind of death contrasted the views of pro-industrialization factory owners and merchants.
During the Industrial Revolution, unions of workers were formed. These unions aimed to protect workers’ rights and are comparable to the guilds that protected workers’ rights during the medieval period. Accordingly, some portions of European life changed during the Industrial Revolution changed while others stayed the same. Some aspects of European life stayed the same during the Industrial Revolution while others changed.
The Industrial Revolution itself was a change from former eras because of new industrial technology, new social relations, and the increase in urban life. The Industrial Revolution was also a continuity of past eras through its focus on colonial mercantilism and competition between countries. The Industrial Revolution changed European life by introducing machine driven factories. Additionally, Europe changed as industrialization moved Europe from cottage industry to water powered factories with set schedules and timetables.
These new factories continued some aspects of European life by continuing to focus on the production of tools. Later in the Industrial Revolution, European life changed with the invention of the steam engine that began to power factories instead of water. Steam powered engines led to a change when Europe because increasingly connected with the spread of railroads and steam powered ships. As the Industrial Revolution continued, the world changed as a gap formed between Western and non-Western economic production.
Despite this gap, countries continued to compete to dominate economic production, and governments continued to have a hand in economic production. As the production gap increased, the world changed more as other countries lost the ability to keep up with cheap European products. In European life during the Industrial Revolution, women continued to remain in the home when possible. Additionally, families continued to work together. Now, however, they worked together in factories instead of in cottage industry.
During the Industrial Revolution, people began to condemn the employment of young children and passed the factory acts that prevented children from working in factories. This changed European life by preventing whole families from working together. A further change to work environment was the division of labor based on gender. This change was accompanied by a continued pushing of women into the home. The Industrial Revolution led to the creation of a new group of middle class factory owners, a change to traditional social class hierarchy.
This change helped to create class-consciousness that recognized the differing desires of different classes. Education increased in importance, as it continues to be important for success to this day. As women continued to be pushed into the home, they had decreased opportunities to participate in business. With the development of industry, the market changed, and artisanal work decreased while large companies increased. Hence, there were several continuities and changes in Europe during the Industrial Revolution.