The Impact That Industrial Revolution In England History

Friday December 17, 2021

Great geographical discoveries and colonial conquests of XVI-XVII centuries completed the first phase of development of the global market economy – the primary accumulation of capital. Western European countries revealed the features of market infrastructure. So, the European economy was forced to make a giant breakthrough from an agrarian to an industrial society with the transition to new times in the development of world civilization. Thus, we are going to observe the impact that the Industrial Revolution in England had on the American colonies, and to prove the thesis that the development of the Industrial Revolution in the US went through a special way in the country, giving American colonies a possibility to gain new features in both industrial development and economic growth.

To begin, it is necessary to mention that modern History and economics highlights three major qualitative leaps in the history of the mankind. These leaps consisted of the three revolutions in the productive forces of society and in the structures of society. For instance, the neolithic revolution created the producing economy, the industrial revolution led to a transition from an agrarian to an industrial society, while the ongoing technological revolution leads to a transition from an industrial society to a service one. All of these processes occurred asynchronously in different countries and regions, but were global by their nature.

Observing the industrial revolution as the main topic of the discussion, it is necessary to state that the term “industrial revolution” emphasizes the rapid and explosive nature of the changes that occurred at the turn of XVIII-XIX centuries firstly in England, and then in other countries of the European civilization. Along with a narrow interpretation of the industrial revolution as an event related only to the genesis of capitalism prevalent among social scientists, there also exists the wider interpretation of the term, when any profound qualitative changes in the industry are called the industrial revolution. According to Greene, supporters of this approach marked out not a single industrial revolution, but three or more revolutions. However, such a broad interpretation is not universally accepted. [1]

In the US, the industrial revolution and the whole process of industrialization have acquired a specific character. On the one hand, rapid dynamics of modernized process unusual for the countries of the “old capitalism” provided a basis to include the United States to the countries of “second echelon” of capitalism development. On the other, the process of modernization had an organic nature, and was caused by internal factors in the development of American society, not being forced by reforms “from above.” There were no strong feudal institutions; so, rapid modernization did not cause acute contradictions in American society.

According to Stearns, in the middle of the XVIII century, English colonies in North America reached a rather high level of economic development, which allowed them to compete successfully with the metropolis. [2] This fact was the main reason of both the beginning of the military conflict and the bourgeois revolution that ended by the formation of an independent republic – the United States of America (the American War of Independence and the first American Revolution in 1775-1783).

In the first decades of the XIX century, the US has lagged behind Western Europe in terms of industrial development because the economy remained agricultural by its character. However, the United States immediately became a country of dynamic development from the moment of its inception. There were observed a continuous technological change and rapid development of capitalism by the reason that favorable environment, and above all, the results of the first bourgeois revolution contributed to this development. Moreover, creation of an independent state and the elimination of feudal elements opened up a wide path for the development of capitalism in agriculture and industry. The presence of the country’s vast lands, vast natural resources, mass emigration from Europe, large inflows of foreign capital were the main factors of rapid economic growth. In addition, the remoteness from Europe allowed the US to stay away from military conflicts, and at the same time, to gain profit from the supply of arms to the warring countries, stimulating economic development. Thus, the above mentioned favorable factors opened a wide path to modernization process in the US.

Being more specific, and using different examples of the impact of the Industrial Revolution on the American colonies, it is good to mention that the Industrial Revolution in the US had a number of features that markedly distinguished it from the same process in Western Europe. Firstly, the industrial revolution per se took place only in the north-east, where existed a manufacturing period of capitalist development. Planter South became an agrarian and raw material “internal colony,” which dominated the slave-holding system based on manual labor. On the lands of the colonized West (after a temporary return to manual labor), mechanization was introduced immediately from the north-east, eliminating the manufacturing stage. Thus, in the West and South of the US, the industrial development has taken other forms, than in Europe.

Secondly, the country had no remnants of feudalism; so, American industry did not know strict regulation. The manufacturing production in the US did not pass a long evolutionary path as in Europe; so, there was immediately created centralized manufactories, and then the factories.

Thirdly, funds taken from the European countries, and especially from England, were at the heart of the primary accumulation of capital in the United States. Its important sources were also maritime piracy, smuggling, slave trade (“triangular trade”), which were widespread during the colonial period.

Fourthly, in general, the industrial revolution in the US has been very uneven: at the time when light industry grew rapidly (textiles, footwear, etc.), heavy industry still did not meet the requirements in domestic needs. This period was called “cotton” industrialization, and was characterized by a persistent dependence of the US economy on the European one, especially on British capital.

Fifthly, there were widely used European technical and scientific advances, capital, machinery, skilled labor.

Sixthly, there was a deficit in free labor in the US industry; so, mechanization of production initially took a broad scope there: in the first half of the XIX century, manufacture (and often handicraft) had mechanized basis that contributed to the successful development of small enterprises. In addition, the industrial revolution was accompanied by a constant shortage of skilled labor, which triggered the introduction of various inventions.

Seventhly, the textile industry slowly made the transition to the steam engine because the energy of water was used as the primary motive force to the middle of the XIX century. There were many rough rivers in the country, and it was more favorable to use this cheap energy.

Eighthly, exactly territorial changes were the huge catalyst for the US economy. Territorial expansion lasted during the first half of the XIX century, beginning with the south, and then mainly continuing with the west. As a result, the US reached the Pacific Ocean over the way from Canada to Mexico by the middle of the XIX century, while ​​the area of the country has increased by 8 times in 1776-1853, and the number of states has more than doubled, and the population has increased by 4.5 times. [3] In addition, the continuous development of new lands has conditioned predominantly agrarian nature of the US economy.

And ninthly, the industrial revolution was accompanied by a significant demographic change: there was a rapid increase in population, there was an active flow to the West mainly due to the immigration from Western Europe. European immigrants settled mostly in cities – centers of industry and trade, which stimulated the process of urbanization. In such a way, a rapid population growth has contributed to the creation of both a large domestic and labor market.

Thus, taking everything into consideration, it can be stated that the above enumerated circumstances contributed to the dynamic passage of the industrial revolution in the US, when it started in the late XVIII century, and was completed in the 1860s. As it was already noted, the US factory production was conceived primarily in the Northeast Economic Region. Of course, among social scientists there still exist different debates about the main content of the Industrial Revolution. Important changes to the era of the industrial revolution are: emergence of a fundamentally new means of labor – the mechanization of production; formation of a new type of economic growth – the transition from slow to high and unstable self-sustaining growth; completion of the formation of a new social structure – the transformation of businesses and employees in the main social classes.

In conclusion, we have observed the impact of the Industrial Revolution on the American colonies, and proved the fact that there were made sufficient changes in the social structure of society in the reviewed historical period. Thus, the Industrial Revolution marks a major turning point in history, and it has influenced almost every aspect of daily life, in general. While, in particular, the average income of the population began to exhibit unprecedented steady growth.

Get a custom answer for this and any question related to academic

Order Now
Order a Custom Paper
By placing an order, you agree to our terms & conditions

Powered by WhatsApp Chat

× How can I help you?