Technological Advancement, Industrialization, and Urbanization The American Industrial Revolution.
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Technological Advancement, Industrialization, and Urbanization The American Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution Generally speaking, the Industrial Revolution refers to the period in the late 18 th and early 19 th centuries when changes in manufacturing, transportation, and agriculture had a profound effect on the socioeconomic and cultural conditions in Britain. These changes subsequently spread throughout Europe and North America (and later the world) through a process known as industrialization.
Technology Technological innovation was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, and the key technological advancement was the invention and improvement of the steam engine. The first practical steam-powered 'engine' was a water pump, developed in 1698 by Thomas Savery. It proved only to have a limited lift height and was prone to boiler explosions, but it still received some use for mines and pumping stations. The first commercially-successful engine did not appear until 1712. Incorporating technologies discovered by Savery and Denis Papin, the atmospheric engine, invented by Thomas Newcomen, paved the way for the Industrial Revolution.
Protestant Work Ethic Some scholars believe that the British industrial advance was due in part to the presence of a entrepreneurial class which believed in progress, technology, and hard work. The existence of this class is often linked to the Protestant work ethic (see Max Weber) and the particular status of the dissenting Protestant sects. Reinforcement of confidence in the rule of law, which followed the period of the Glorious Revolution, and the emergence of a stable financial market in Great Britain were also believed to contribute.
Impacts - General The onset of the Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point in human society; almost every aspect of daily life was eventually influenced in some way. In the later part of the 1700s the manual labor-based economy of some parts of Great Britain began to be replaced by one dominated by manufacture by machinery. The introduction of steam power (fuelled primarily by coal) and powered machinery (mainly in textile manufacturing) underpinned the dramatic increases in production capacity. The development of all-metal machine tools in the first two decades of the 19th century facilitated the manufacture of more production machines for manufacturing in other industries. The effects spread throughout Western Europe and North America during the 19th century, eventually affecting most of the world. The impact of this change on society was enormous.
Impacts – The Factory Industrialization led to the creation of the factory. The factory system was largely responsible for the rise of the modern city, as large numbers of workers migrated into the cities in search of employment in the factories.
Impacts – The City The growth of modern industry from the late 18th century onward led to massive urbanization and the rise of new great cities, first in Europe and then in other regions, as new opportunities brought huge numbers of migrants from rural communities into urban areas. In the United States from 1860 to 1910, the invention of railroads reduced transportation costs, and large manufacturing centers began to emerge, thus allowing migration from rural to city areas. However, cities during those periods of time were deadly places to live in, due to health problems resulting from contaminated water and air, and communicable diseases.
Impacts – Labor Practice The Industrial Revolution led to a population increase, but the chance of surviving childhood did not improve throughout the industrial revolution (although infant mortality rates were improved markedly). There was still limited opportunity for education, and children were expected to work. Employers could pay a child less than an adult even though their productivity was comparable; there was no need for strength to operate an industrial machine, and since the industrial system was completely new there were no experienced adult laborers. This made child labor the labor of choice for manufacturing in the early phases of the Industrial Revolution between the 18th and 19th centuries.
Political Theory and Industrialization Marxism can be understood in part as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution. According to Karl Marx, industrialization polarized society into the bourgeoisie (those who own the means of production—the factories and the land) and the proletariat (the working class who actually perform the labor necessary to extract something valuable from the means or production. Romanticism, which we began discussing yesterday, can also be understood partially through its relation to industrialization. As you might imagine, this artistic and philisophical movement was hostile towards the new industrialization. The movement stressed the importance of “nature” in art and language, in contrast to the “monstrous” machines and factories, the “dark satanic mills” of Blake’s poem.