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Descriptive Essay: The Industrial Revolution and its Effects

The Industrial Revolution was a time of great age throughout the world. It represented major change from 1760 to the period 1820-1840. The movement originated in Great Britain and affected everything from industrial manufacturing processes to the daily life of the average citizen. I will discuss the Industrial Revolution and the effects it had on the world as a whole.

The primary industry of the time was the textiles industry. It had the most employees, output value, and invested capital. It was the first to take on new modern production methods. The transition to machine power drastically increased productivity and efficiency. This extended to iron production and chemical production.

It started in Great Britain and soon expanded into Western Europe and to the United States. The actual effects of the revolution on different sections of society differed. They manifested themselves at different times. The ‘trickle down’ effect whereby the benefits of the revolution helped the lower classes didn’t happen until towards the 1830s and 1840s. Initially, machines like the Watt Steam Engine and the Spinning Jenny only benefited the rich industrialists.

The effects on the general population, when they did come, were major. Prior to the revolution, most cotton spinning was done with a wheel in the home. These advances allowed families to increase their productivity and output. It gave them more disposable income and enabled them to facilitate the growth of a larger consumer goods market. The lower classes were able to spend. For the first time in history, the masses had a sustained growth in living standards.

Social historians noted the change in where people lived. Industrialists wanted more workers and the new technology largely confined itself to large factories in the cities. Thousands of people who lived in the countryside migrated to the cities permanently. It led to the growth of cities across the world, including London, Manchester, and Boston. The permanent shift from rural living to city living has endured to the present day.

Trade between nations increased as they often had massive surpluses of consumer goods they couldn’t sell in the domestic market. The rate of trade increased and made nations like Great Britain and the United States richer than ever before. Naturally, this translated to military power and the ability to sustain worldwide trade networks and colonies.

On the other hand, the Industrial Revolution and migration led to the mass exploitation of workers and slums. To counter this, workers formed trade unions. They fought back against employers to win rights for themselves and their families. The formation of trade unions and the collective unity of workers across industries are still existent today. It was the first time workers could make demands of their employers. It enfranchised them and gave them rights to upset the status quo and force employers to view their workers as human beings like them.

Overall, the Industrial Revolution was one of the single biggest events in human history. It launched the modern age and drove industrial technology forward at a faster rate than ever before. Even contemporary economics experts failed to predict the extent of the revolution and its effects on world history. It shows why the Industrial Revolution played such a vital role in the building of the United States of today.

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Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century, when agricultural societies became more industrialized and urban. The transcontinental railroad, the cotton gin, electricity and other inventions permanently changed society.

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The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was the transition from creating goods by hand to using machines. Its start and end are widely debated by scholars, but the period generally spanned from about 1760 to 1840. According to some, this turning point in history is responsible for an increase in population, an increase in the standard of living, and the emergence of the capitalist economy.

Teach your students about the Industrial Revolution with these resources.

Social Studies, U.S. History, World History

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World History Project - Origins to the Present

Course: world history project - origins to the present   >   unit 6.

  • READ: The Industrial Revolution
  • BEFORE YOU WATCH: Origins of the Industrial Revolution
  • WATCH: Origins of the Industrial Revolution
  • READ: Scale of the Industrial Revolution

READ: The Global Transformations of the Industrial Revolution

  • BEFORE YOU WATCH: The Railroad Journey and the Industrial Revolution - Crash Course World History
  • WATCH: Railroads and the Industrial Revolution
  • READ: Japan’s Industrial Revolution
  • READ: Egypt’s Short-lived Industrial Revolution
  • Industrialization

First read: preview and skimming for gist

Second read: key ideas and understanding content.

  • How did the Industrial Revolution change family structures in Britain?
  • What role did women and children play in the industrial economy? Did they benefit from factory labor?
  • What kinds of benefits or opportunities did the Industrial Revolution create for people in Britain?
  • How did the Industrial Revolution affect the daily lives and labor of people outside of Europe such as enslaved Africans or colonial subjects?
  • In the article, the author cites historian Thomas Finger who argued that “wheat—as much as coal—powered England’s factories.” What does he mean by this? How did wheat power England’s factories, and how did the demand for wheat transform wheat-producing societies around the world?

Third read: evaluating and corroborating

  • According to the author, the changes ushered in by the Industrial Revolution had a ripple effect around the world. Using the evidence surrounding either sugar, wheat, or copper provided in the article, trace and explain one of these ripples.
  • Imagine you are a new wage-laborer that recently moved from a rural farm community to an industrial city. Using information from the article, explain how your life has changed. What new hardships or opportunities might you face?

The Global Transformations of the Industrial Revolution

Industrial connections, britain’s “dark satanic mills”, social mobility, industrialized sugar comes home, wheat-fueled industrialization, copper connects the world to wales, want to join the conversation.

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What was the Industrial Revolution?

In this video we examine the origins of the Industrial Revolution and how it reshaped the British economy, society and politics.

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IMAGES

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VIDEO

  1. The INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION Begins [AP World History] Unit 5 Topic 3

  2. Why did the Industrial Revolution Happen?

  3. The Industrial Revolution Spreads [AP World History] Unit 5 Topic 4

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COMMENTS

  1. Descriptive Essay: The Industrial Revolution and its Effects

    The Industrial Revolution was a time of great age throughout the world. It represented major change from 1760 to the period 1820-1840. The movement originated in Great Britain and affected everything from industrial manufacturing processes to the daily life of the average citizen. I will discuss the Industrial Revolution and the effects it had ...

  2. Industrial Revolution | Definition, History, Dates, Summary ...

    Industrial Revolution, in modern history, the process of change from an agrarian and handicraft economy to one dominated by industry and machine manufacturing. These technological changes introduced novel ways of working and living and fundamentally transformed society. This process began in Britain in the 18th century and from there spread to ...

  3. Industrial Revolution: Definition, Inventions & Dates | HISTORY

    The Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, a time of great growth in technologies and inventions, transformed rural societies into industrialized, urban ones.

  4. READ: The Industrial Revolution (article) | Khan Academy

    Everything changed during the Industrial Revolution, which began around 1750. People found an extra source of energy with an incredible capacity for work. That source was fossil fuels — coal, oil, and natural gas, though coal led the way — formed underground from the remains of plants and animals from much earlier geologic times.

  5. Industrial Revolution | Causes & Effects | Britannica

    Causes. The Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the 1760s, largely with new developments in the textile industry. The spinning jenny invented by James Hargreaves could spin eight threads at the same time; it greatly improved the textile industry. Before that time making cloth was a slow process.

  6. Industrial Revolution and Technology

    The term “industrial revolution” is a succinct catchphrase to describe a historical period, starting in 18th-century Great Britain, where the pace of change appeared to speed up. This acceleration in the processes of technical innovation brought about an array of new tools and machines.

  7. Industrial Revolution: Definition and Inventions | HISTORY

    The Industrial Revolution occurred when agrarian societies became more industrialized and urban. Learn where and when the Industrial Revolution started, and the inventions that made it possible.

  8. The Industrial Revolution - National Geographic Society

    The Industrial Revolution was the transition from creating goods by hand to using machines. Its start and end are widely debated by scholars, but the period generally spanned from about 1760 to 1840. According to some, this turning point in history is responsible for an increase in population, an increase in the standard of living, and the emergence of the capitalist economy. Teach your ...

  9. READ: The Global Transformations of the Industrial Revolution

    The Industrial Revolution made some social progress precisely because of the misery it produced. Britain became the wealthiest nation on Earth. Soon, British workers, politicians, and writers started looking around and wondering why—in the world's richest country—so many people lived and worked in such poor conditions.

  10. Smarthistory – What was the Industrial Revolution?

    Smarthistory’s free, award-winning digital content unlocks the expertise of hundreds of leading scholars, making the history of art accessible and engaging to more people, in more places, than any other publisher. The origins of the Industrial Revolution and how it reshaped the British economy, society and politics.