Industrial Revolution



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Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution created new economic structures; the changes rivaled those brought by the Neolithic revolution. All aspects of human life were touched. European power rose, and extensions of Western civilization developed in other lands.
Optimism in Chaos. In the book, Progress of the Human Mind, the French writer Marquis de Condorcet concluded that progress was inevitable, that humankind was on the verge of perfection. His prediction turned out to be only partially correct.
Industrialization and the Revolutions of 1848. All Western governments participated in some way in the processes of the Industrial Revolution. Lower-class groups began to turn to their governments to compensate for industrial change. Revolts followed in 1848 and 1849 when governments proved unresponsive. A popular rising in France in 1848 overthrew the monarchy in favor of a brief democratic republic. Urban artisans pressed for social reform and women agitated for equal rights. The revolution spread to Germany, Austria, and Hungary. Adherents sought liberal constitutions, social reforms restricting industrialization, and the termination of manorialism. Also present were ethnic demands for unity or increased autonomy. The 1848 revolutions generally failed, as conservatives and middle-class groups protected their interests. Peasants alone secured their aims, making them very conservative henceforth. The general failure taught potential revolutionaries that gradual methods had to be followed. Social changes also influenced revolutionary ideas. Artisans concentrated on their work and operated within the system. By 1850, a new class structure was in place. Aristocrats declined in power as social structure became based on wealth. Middle-class property owners now were pitted against a working class. The old alliances producing revolutions had dissolved and revolution in the West became obsolete.
The Consolidation of the Industrial Order, 1850-1914. Industrial development continued after 1850, bringing new social changes. Political unification came to Germany and Italy, and governments elsewhere developed new functions. The rise of socialism changed political conditions. Urban growth continued, but at a slower pace; in the cities, the conditions of living ameliorated for all classes.
Adjustments to Industrial Life. Family life adjusted to the changes imposed by the industrial economy. Stable populations resulted from declining birthrates and death rates. Greater value was placed on children. Material conditions generally improved as individuals enjoyed better diets, housing, health, and leisure time. Labor movements formed and provided strength for seeking better wages and working conditions. Peasant protests declined and rural isolation diminished. Peasants learned to use market conditions to improve their lives. They developed cooperatives, specialized in cash crops, and sent children to school to learn better techniques.
Cultural Transformations. Western culture changed because of consumer emphasis and developments in science and the arts.
Emphasis on Consumption and Leisure. Higher wages and increased leisure time produced important alterations in popular culture. Many working-class men and women accepted middle-class values. The idea grew that pleasure was a legitimate part of life. The productive capacity of factories meant that consumption had to be encouraged. Product crazes occurred; the stimulated consumerism overcame older customs hindering pleasure seeking. Mass leisure culture emerged with popular newspapers, entertainment, and vacations. Leisure had become a commodity to be regularly enjoyed. The rise of disciplined team sports was one aspect of the change. All the popular interests demonstrated a growing secularism present in all aspects of life.
Western Settler Societies. The Industrial Revolution prompted a major expansion of the West's power. New markets for manufactured goods and new sources of raw materials were needed. The transportation and communication networks resulting from the Industrial Revolution intensified the effect of the Western-led world economy. They also allowed Europeans and their superior weapons to spread their empires. Massive European immigration created overseas Western societies.

Key Terms


Population revolution: Huge growth in population in western Europe beginning about 1730; prelude to industrialization.
Protoindustrialization: Preliminary shift away from an agricultural economy; workers become full-or-part-time producers who worked at home in a capitalist system in which materials, work, orders, and sales depended on urban merchants; prelude to the Industrial Revolution.
James Watt: Devised a steam engine in the 1770s that could be used for production in many industries; a key step in the Industrial Revolution.
Factory system: Intensification of all of the processes of production at a single site during the Industrial Revolution; involved greater organization of labor and increased discipline.
Luddites: Workers in Britain who responded to the replacement of their labor by machines during the Industrial Revolution by attempting to destroy machines; named after the fictional worker Ned Ludd.
Mass leisure culture: An aspect of the later Industrial Revolution; decreased time at work and offered opportunities for new forms of leisure time, such as vacation trips and team sports.


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