The industrial revolution in great britain

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AP EH CHAPTER 20 NOTES: The Industrial Revolution and Its Impact on European Society


  1. Origins

1. the Industrial Revolution had its beginnings in

Great Britain in the second half of the 18th Century

2. Britain's emergence as the first industrial power was aided by:

a. the agricultural revolution of the 18th Century

b. Britain was richly supplied with important mineral

resources, such as coal and iron ore, needed in the

manufacturing process

c. Parliament contributed to the favorable business

climate by providing a stable government and passing

laws that protected private property

d. a rapid population growth and a surplus pool of labor

e. a ready supply of capital for investment in the new

industrial machines

f. a ready supply of domestic and colonial markets

3. the Industrial Revolution in Britain was largely

inspired by entrepreneurs who sought and accepted the

new manufacturing methods of inventions

4. the infrastructure advantages in Britain promoting

rapid industrialization included public and private

investment in:

a. bridges

b. canals

c. roads

B. Technological Changes and New Forms of Industrial Organization

1. the Cotton Industry

a. the first step toward the Industrial Revolution in

Britain occurred within its cotton textile industry

b. Britain's cotton industry in the late 18th Century

was responsible for the creation of the first modern


c. Inventions that proved vital to the

industrialization of the British cotton textile

industry included:

1. John Kay's flying shuttle (1730s)

2. James Hargreaves' spinning jenny (1768)

3. Richard Awkwright's water frame spinning machine (1769)

4. James Watt's rotary engine that could spin and

weave cotton (1782)

5. Edmund Cartwright's power loom (1787)

6. Samuel Crompton's spinning mule (1790)

2. The Steam Engine

a. the invention of the steam engine played a major

role in the Industrial Revolution

b. the invention of the steam engine in Britain was

initially triggered by the need for more efficient

pumps to eliminate water seepage from deep mines

(Thomas Newcomen's steam pump [1712])

c. in the 1760s, Scottish engineer, James Watt, added

a separate condenser and steam pump which transformed

Newcomen's machine into a genuine steam engine

d. the development of the steam engine during the

Industrial Revolution made Britain's cotton goods the

cheapest and most popular in the world

e. By 1850, seven-eighths of the total power available

to the British cotton industry was furnished by steam

f. The success of the steam engine in the Industrial

Revolution made Britain dependent upon coal which it

had in large quantities

3. The Iron Industry

a. British iron industry was radically transformed during the

Industrial Revolution

  1. Medieval techniques of producing iron were still in use until Henry Cort developed a system of puddling, in which coke was used to burn away impurities in pig iron to produce an iron of high quality

  2. A boom then ensued in the British iron industry

  3. The development of the iron industry was in many ways a response to the demands for new machines

4. Revolution in Transportation

  1. the 18th Century witnessed an expansion of transportation

facilities in Britain as entrepreneurs realized more efficient means of moving resources and goods

  1. the beginnings of railways can be found in mining operations in Germany as early as 1500 and in British coal mines after 1600 where small handcarts filled with coal were pushed along wooden rails

  2. in 1804, Richard Trevithick pioneered the first steam locomotive on an industrial rail-line in south Wales

  3. the development of such superior locomotives as the Rocket, used on the first public railway lines, is attributed to George Stephenson in 1830

  4. the development of the railroads in the Industrial Revolution was important in increasing British supremacy in civil and mechanical engineering

5. the Industrial Factory

a. the factory became the chief means of organizing labor for the new machines

b. the new set of values established by factory owners during this era relegated the worker to a life of harsh discipline subject to the clock and the rigors of highly competitive wage labor

c. women and children were often used as labor in these factories

d. repeated beatings was a tactic employed to make young boys and girls working in new British industries obey the owner's factory discipline

e. general public acceptance of a regular work week measured in hours as a natural part of life dates from the 19th Century

f. the rise of the industrial factory system deeply affected the lives and status of workers who now no longer owned the means of economic production and could only sell their labor for a wage

C. The Great Exhibition: Britain in 1851

1. In 1851, the British organized the world's first industrial fair

2. it was housed at Kensington in London in the Crystal Palace which was an enormous structure made entirely of glass and iron

3. six million people visited the fair in six months

4. fair displayed Great Britain's industrial wealth to the world


A. Limitations to Industrialization

1. prior to the Industrial Revolution, continental Europe's economy was marked by unwillingness of most economic actors to take any investment risks

2. One of the chief reasons why Europe lagged behind England in industrialization was a lack of roads and means of transportation

3. Friedrich List's National System of Political Economy (1844) was an influential work on the continent

a. advocated the use of protective tariffs to protect domestic industrialization from outside competition

b. advocated large scale industrialization as the surest path to develop national strength

4. Continental industrialization differed from Great Britain's in that the continent was dependent on joint-stock investment banks like the Credit Mobilier (France), Darmstadt Bank (Germany), and the Kreditanstalt (Austria)

5. Joint-stock investment banks operated on the basis of generating capital for business investment by creating savings accounts and actively seeking depositors from all ranks of society

B. Centers of Continental Industrialization

1. between 1815 and 1850, the Industrial Revolution took off in Belgium, France, and Germany (as well as the United States)

2. the Industrial Revolution on the continent was a generation behind Britain in the manufacturing of cotton products (Belgium had the most modern on the continent by the 1840s)

3. unlike in Britain where the textile industry led the way, the iron and coal of heavy industry led the way on the continent

C. The Industrial Revolution in the United States

1. took place on a large scale between 1800 and 1865 particularly in the eastern and northern parts of the country

2. the Industrial Revolution in the US employed large numbers of women in factories, especially in textile mills

3. due to the physical size of the US, a good transportation system was essential to the industrialization process

4. by 1860, there was 27,000 miles of railroad track in the US

5. by 1860, 10% of the population in cities held 70 to 80% of the wealth in the US

6. compared to Britain, American industrialization was a

capital-intensive endeavor because there was a far larger pool of unskilled laborers in the US


A. Population Growth

1. population increases had already begun in the 18th Century, but they became dramatic in the 19th Century

2. from 1750 to 1850, the population in Europe rose from 140 million to 266 million

3. the European population explosion of the 19th Century was largely attributable to the disappearance of famine from western Europe (Irish Potato Famine was a big exception)

4. the Great Hunger

a. caused by a combination of ruthless British oppression of Ireland and Ireland's reliance on the potato for its diet

b. half the population of Ireland relied on the potato almost exclusively for survival

c. in the summer of 1845, the potato crop in Ireland was struck by blight due to a fungus that turned potatoes black and inedible

d. Ireland was the only European country that had a declining population during the 19th Century

e. Famine made worse in part due to English disregard for the problem and effective assistance to the suffering

f. Between 1845 and 1851, over one million Irish died of starvation and two million Irish migrated, out of necessity, to the US

B. The Growth of Cities

1. urbanization in the first half of the 19th Century was

phenomenon directly tied to industrialization

2. urban life in the early 19th Century can best be characterized as having filthy sanitary conditions which were exacerbated by city authorities' denial of responsibility for public health

a. streets were often used as sewers and open drains

b. due to cities inability to deal with human excrement, cities during this era generally smelled horrible

c. food was often adulterated without any government supervision (Food and Drugs Act was finally passed in Britain in 1875)

d. prostitution and other criminal activities were rampant

  1. Demographic changes that resulted from industrialization saw the new middle class move to the suburbs of cities to escape the urban poor

4. Edwin Chadwick (1800-1890)

a. one of the best of the new breed of urban reformers

b. became obsessed with eliminating the poverty and squalor in metropolitan areas

c. as Secretary of the Poor Law Commission in Great Britain, he advocated modern sanitary reforms that resulted in Britain's first Public Health Act

C. New Social Classes: The Industrial Middle Class

  1. most prominent among the new industrial entrepreneurial class in the Industrial Revolution was the bourgeoisie

  2. members of the new industrial entrepreneurial class in the early 19th Century were usually resourceful individuals with diverse social backgrounds

  3. the early industrial entrepreneur in Great Britain:

  1. often came from a mercantile background

  2. often had to control single-handedly the entire factory

  3. had to expand constantly to feel secure

  1. aristocrats also became entrepreneurs during this time (particularly in England)

  2. by 1850, the kind of traditional entrepreneurship that had created the Industrial Revolution was declining and being replaced by a new business aristocracy

  3. the age of large-scale corporate capitalism did not begin until the 1890s

  4. the new industrial entrepreneurs came to amass much wealth and play an important role alongside the traditional landed elites of their societies

D. New Social Classes: Workers in the Industrial Age

  1. the largest group of urban workers in the first half of the 19th Century was composed of members of guilds

  2. the new social classes of industrial workers in the early Industrial Revolution worked under appallingly dangerous conditions for incredibly long hours at the mercy of profit-maximizing bosses

  1. 12 to 16 hour work days (half hour breaks for lunch and dinner)

  2. six days a week

  3. no job security or minimum wage

  1. the worst working conditions in the early decades of the Industrial Revolution were probably found in the cotton mills with their high temperatures and hazardous air

  2. conditions in the coal mines were also harsh as miners had to be vigilant of cave-ins, explosions, and gas fumes

  3. Women and Children in factories

  1. both women and children were employed in large numbers in early factories and mines

  2. by 1830, women and children made up two-thirds of the cotton industry's labor

  3. the employment of women and children in large part represents a continuation of a preindustrial kinship pattern (later Factory Acts which limited the number of hours women and children could work began to break up these kinship patterns)

  4. women who worked in the early factories of the Industrial Revolution did not cause a significant transformation in female working patterns (the majority of women in the work force still worked as domestic servants or worked in agriculture)

  5. reasons for using children as a source of labor in the Industrial Revolution included:

  1. children had an especially delicate touch as spinners of cotton

  2. children's smaller size made it easier for them to crawl under and between machines to fix snags

  3. children were more easily broken to factory work

  4. children represented a cheap labor supply (paid between one-third to one-sixth what adult males were paid)

  1. treatment of children in factories was often brutal (Beatings had long been regarded as the best way to discipline children)

E. Standards of Living

  1. the Industrial Revolution’s impacted standard of living in Europe in a variety of ways including:

  1. benefited the middle class in particular

  2. led to much increased disparity between the richest and poorest in society (richest 1% in Great Britain increased its share of the national product from 25% to 35% from 1801 to 1848)

  3. eventually led to an overall increase in real wages (2nd half of the 19th Century)

  1. the newly created economies of the Industrial Revolution in Europe were often caught up in traditional economic cycles of expansion and contraction

  2. periodic overproduction caused economic hardship

  3. cyclical depressions were particularly devastating in towns whose prosperity relied on one industry

F. Efforts at Change: The Workers

  1. workers looked to the formation of labor organizations to gain decent wages and working conditions

  2. British government passed a series of Combination Acts in 1799 and 1800 outlawing associations of workers (failed to prevent trade unions)

  3. trade unions were formed by skilled workers in a number of new industries, including the cotton spinners, ironworkers, coal miners, and shipwrights

  4. trade unions served two purposes

  1. to preserve their own workers’ position by limiting entry into their trade

  2. gain benefits from the employers

  1. some trade unions were even willing to strike

  1. miners in Northumberland and Durham in 1810

  2. hand-loom weavers in Glasgow in 1813

  3. cotton spinners in Manchester in 1818

  1. strikes caused Parliament to repeal the Combination Acts in 1824, accepting the argument of some MPs who stated that the acts themselves caused labor unrest

  2. resulted in unions being tolerated in Great Britain

  3. in the 1820s and 1830s, the union movement began to focus on the creation of national unions

  4. Robert Owen (1771-1858)

  1. well-known cotton magnate and social reformer

  2. advocated the creation of new national unions throughout England

  3. attempted to organize a Grand National Consolidated Trades Union in 1834

  1. attempted to pull off a general strike of all organized workers in England to get an eight-hour work day

  2. lack of real working class workers support made movement collapse

  1. Luddites

  1. were skilled craftspeople in the Midlands and northern England who in 1812 attacked the machines they believed threatened their livelihoods

  2. these attacks failed to stop the industrial mechanization of Britain

  3. attacks have been viewed by some historians as an intense eruption of feelings against unrestrained industrial capitalism

  4. the fact that the culprits were never caught despite 12,000 troops being dispatched to catch the culprits indicates that the group had local support

  1. Chartists

  1. its aim was to achieve political democracy and a voice for working people in government within Great Britain

  2. gave millions of men and women a sense of working-class consciousness generated by terrible common working conditions in the factories

  3. in 1838, a People’s Charter was drawn up that demanded universal male suffrage, payment for MPs, and annual sessions of Parliament

  4. two national petitions in 1839 and 1842, incorporating these points, had millions of signatures of workers (both petitions were rejected by Parliament)

  5. movement was dead by 1843 but many of its ideas were eventually adopted in the decades to come

  1. Efforts at Change: Reformers and Government

1. Factory Acts (passed between 1802 and 1819 in Great Britain)

  1. Banned employment of children under the age of nine

  2. limited labor for children from nine to sixteen to twelve hours a day

  3. stipulated that children were to receive instruction in reading and arithmetic during working hours

  4. had no method of enforcement and only applied to cotton mills

2. efforts at industrial reform in the 1830s and 1840s in Great Britain achieved the following:

  1. the reduction of working hours for children

  2. the outlawing of women and children working in coal mines

  3. requirement of daily education of working children

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