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Industrial Revolution Argumentative

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  • Pages: 6
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  • Category: Industry

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The Industrial revolution is the period between late 18th century and early 19th century. In this period, there were many major changes observed in agriculture, mining, and transportation that overall affected the cultural and socio-economic conditions in the Britain. Subsequently, the changes spread throughout Europe, North America, and all over the world. The first industrial revolution began at 18th century followed by second industrial revolution occurring in the year 1850. Some historians suggest that industrial revolution occurred in Britain in 1780s (Hobsbawn, 1962) while other suggests that it occurred between 1760s and 1830s. (Inikori, 2002). This is still an area under discussion and debate between historians. However, one of the major arguments of such an era is the earlier occurrence of Industrial Revolution in Britain, and thus, this paper will endeavor to provide some arguments that may support and justify such earlier occurrence in Britain.

            The impact of Industrial revolution on society was enormous and was widely accepted by the society as a whole. In late 18th century, the Great Britain changed its manual labor and animal-based economy to machine based manufacturing. On the other hand, they also introduced the use of mechanization of textile industry, the efficient use of coal, and there was development in the iron sector as well. The expansion improved the railways, roads, and canals. Thus, as the time passed, this was practiced throughout Western Europe, North America and then all over the world. It is believed that industrial revolution was one of the most important event happened in the history. The Western world, primarily United States and Europe contributed a lot in the industrial revolutions through their developments. (Lucas, 2004)

            On the other hand, some historians believe that industrial revolution was the outcome of institutional and social changes brought by the Britain after the end of English Civil War in the 17th century. At the beginning of 18th century, British textile manufacturing was primarily based on wool, which was processed manually by individuals. The spinning and weaving of cotton and flax was done at their own premises by the labor, thus it resulted in producing the small quantity of output, which was not enough to settle the demand of foreign market. As a result, the spinning wheel and handloom was introduced, which eventually increased the production capacity of the industry, in such a way that Britain dominated the exports of fine cotton goods for almost twenty-five years. This is considered one of the major reasons of Industrial Revolution to occur in Britain first to ensure fulfillment of demand of foreign market.

Through these developments, Asia was no longer the premier supplier of cotton goods. The development was increasing day by day and the effect of transferring the method from labor-intensive to machine-intensive was seen as a threat to employment, and this might be the reason, which let the individuals to attack early inventors and to destroy the inventions. One of the important inventors of that time was Richard Arkwright, who patented the ideas, financed the inventions, and protected the machines from being destroyed. (Jenkins, 2003)

            Apart from this, there was some major advancement in metal industry as well. In late 17th century, people of Britain were primarily dependent upon wood as a fuel source but because of the invention of Sir Clement Clarke and others, the utilization of wood was replaced by coal and reverberatory furnaces were introduced. This is another major argument related to earlier occurrence of Industrial Revolution in Britain, as wood was the major resource of Britain for their energy and heat purposes, and thus, Britain was having large deposits of coal in its different parts. Such a huge amount of coal was enough to provide fuel and energy to new inventions that was essential for the Industrial Revolution.

This is the reason that Britain witnessed one after other inventions during this period. For instance, soon after the innovation of furnaces, the invention of Mr. Abraham Darby was observed who introduced the usage of coke to operate his blast furnaces, thus, making the production of pots and kettles cheaper than before. This also gave Britain an edge over its competitors in order to capture the foreign market, soon Britain became the major supplier of pots and kettles. In 1778, Abraham Darby III made the first innovative iron structure named as “The Iron Bridge” because at that period iron was very cheap and plentiful, most of the inventors at that time were focusing on the effective use of iron. Subsequently, iron also helped in development of boilers and steam engine, and eventually the railways. Improvements also supplemented the use of steel, which was an expensive commodity at that time. Benjamin Huntsman invented the crucible steel technique in 1740s. Industrial growth at Britain was at boom after such innovations.

            Another reason of Britain witnessing earlier occurrence of Industrial Revolution was its huge working middle class that was necessary for such revolution, and thus, ready to support better working opportunities in new mills and sectors in the region. Pre-industrial society was very cruel, child labor and dirty working conditions were the common problems observed during that time, and thus, Industrial Revolution gave a new opportunity to overcome such problems by the middle class. (Inikori 2002)

            The industrial revolution occurred in Europe after Britain. In various countries, there was development done by the British engineers. It is noted that British entrepreneurs who moved abroad for better opportunities purchased the technologies. The industries of Britain and Europe were so similar that by the end of 1809, a part of Ruhr Valley was named as ‘Miniature England’. One of the other reasons of the argument is modern working attitude of British people and companies that were perfect for industrial revolution.

In other words, educated workforce was essential and thus, played a crucial role in a number of industrial developments in the region. Besides, working attitudes, government was effective in providing huge amount of funding to new industries, in order to motivate them in achieving their goals and in providing employment to locals that is considered another valid argument to support occurrence of Industrial Revolution in Britain before Europe and America.

            Lastly, as compared to America, the industrial revolution affected the nation in various ways as after the developments, old-fashioned artisan and artisans became ‘deskilled’ and were replaced by skillful workers. At the same time, the famous Fedrick W. Taylor introduced his scientific theory of ‘Taylorism’, which was soon applied all over the world. Increment in industrialization outpaced the supply of labor willing to work in low-paying, bad working conditions, and dangerous jobs. During the period, new transportation routes were introduced within different cities of America as well as banking sector was at its peak. (Hillstrom 2007) Conclusively, the paper has discussed and argued over some of the impact of industrial revolution on British, Europe, and Americans, and provided various arguments supporting earlier occurrence of Industrial Revolution in Britain.


Hillstrom, Laurie C. (2007). The industrial revolution in America. ABC-CLIO

Hobsbawn, Eric J. (1962). The age of revolution. World Pub Co.

Hodne, Fritz (1975). An Economic History of Norway. Tapir.

Inikori, J. E. (2002). Africans and the Industrial Revolution in England: A Study in International Trade and Economic Development. Cambridge University Press.

Jenkins, David (2003). The Cambridge history of western textile. Cambridge University Press.

Lucas, Robert (2003). The industrial revolution past and future. Harvard University Press.

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