What made the Industrial Revolution revolutionary?

8 August 2016

What made the Industrial revolution a revolution or revolutionary? ” According to Dictionary. com, one definition of a revolution is “a sudden, complete or marked change of something. ” Another definition provided on the site is “an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed. ” Both of these definitions can be applied, at least in part, to the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution was quite different from the other revolutions mentioned in the textbook (Chapter 28), however.

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The American Revolution took place in the 1770’s and 1780’s when colonists finally dissociated from British rule. The colonists were being taxed due to British debt. They were unhappy with the taxes and trade regulations and boycotted British goods. Lives were lost in battles such as the Boston Tea Party of 1773 and in Lexington in 1775. The Constitution was established granting the new Americans with the rights and freedoms they felt they were not getting from British Parliament.

They ultimately made a change by fighting to end the British rule over the colonies so that a new government could be established. The industrial revolution was not about battling a government to overthrow it. The industrial revolution was a massive change that had global effects. The industrial revolution ultimately began as Britain switched from wood power to coal power. Deforestation resulted in dwindling resources of wood and the British found that coal was much more abundant.

Many inventions of the time impacted the industrial revolution positively. As coal became the ideal source of energy, more coal powered machines were invented. The steam engine, which was designed by James Watt in 1765, burned coal. Ultimately, the use of it became widespread and efficiency was increased. This lead to the invention of the steam powered locomotive in 1815 by George Stephenson. Transportation of goods was suddenly much more practical. The demand for cheap cotton increased and as demand increased, the efficiency needed to increase as well.

John Kay invented the flying shuttle, which according to Encyclopedia Britannica, was a device that was mounted on wheels and allowed weavers to weave wider fabrics more quickly than by hand. This invention in 1733 was followed by the invention of the spinning mule in 1779 by Samuel Crompton and the water driven power loom in 1785. Factories also made the production of goods much more efficient. The increased efficiency of the production and transportation of goods lead to a change in the lifestyle of many Europeans and Americans between 1700 and 1900.

Populations grew as the standard of living became higher. Children (as well as adults) thrived as poverty decreased, as food became affordable and sanitation was improved. People began to migrate and urbanization occurred. People left the country to move to the cities where factor jobs were attainable. The general way of living changed completely for most Americans and Europeans. The typical American was no longer a farmer living in poverty but instead a factory worker living in the city. In middle class families, men became the main, and sometimes sole, provider for the family.

Women stayed home to raise the children and do housework rather than work alongside their husbands as many did prior. Although there were no battles or overthrowing of a government, the way of life changed drastically, arguably more drastically than life had changed for colonists after the American Revolution. People and governments adapted to the industrial demands, much like how colonists changed their government in response to British taxation. The first definition provided may best fit the Industrial Revolution as it was a complete change of the way of life.

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