Map Exercise 13: The Industrial Revolution (This exercise includes 2 maps)
The other half of the dual revolutions of the late eighteenth century was the Industrial Revolution. By the end of the eighteenth century, England had experienced its "take-off into self-sustained growth" and was certainly Europe's "first industrial nation." Although our minds almost naturally conjure up images of factories belching smoke, children working fourteen-hour days, and textile machinery running according to the pace of steam engines, the Industrial Revolution had one profound result: a structural change in the economic organization of British, European, and eventually American society. No one was left untouched by the changes brought about by this gigantic revolution in the industrial capacity of the West. And while the Industrial Revolution did suggest the practical application of the Newtonian revolution in science, it was aided in its development by significant changes in transportation, agriculture, and communications.
European production expanded at a dramatic rate, and for the most part, the standard of living improved as well. This fundamental shift in the economic organization of Europe also had a tremendous impact on social relations and, in essence, created the modern working and middle classes of the nineteenth century. But the revolution in industry did not happen all at once. The factory system and steam engines did not appear in each and every industry. The growth of industry was sporadic and developed in certain industries, at certain times, and in specific regions of Britain and Europe. All social relations among mankind were altered and critics began to argue that the only place where men could now meet was at the "cash nexus": man was determined by his labor and the price that his labor brought in the marketplace.
General questions for consideration include:
• Why did the Industrial Revolution occur in Britain first?
• Beyond technological innovation, what cultural factors helped industrialize Europe?
• What effects did industry have on the working and middle classes of Britain and Europe?
• Why were some countries slower to industrialize than others?
• Was the Industrial Revolution planned?