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Posted on July 27th, 2012, by

The industrial revolution produced a profound impact on the development of the entire world. At the same time, the industrial revolution allowed countries of Western Europe and North America, where it occurred earlier than in any other part of the world, to take the leading position in the world. On the other hand, the industrial revolution was accompanied by considerable changes not only in the economic life of countries, but also in social life, politics and even culture. In such a way, the industrial revolution became a turning point in the historical development of the western civilization and the world at large.

The industrial revolution got started in Great Britain and soon was spread in other countries of Western Europe and North America, especially the US. In fact, the industrial revolution was a very important period in the world history, especially in the history of Western Europe of the late 18th and early 19th century, when profound technological and socioeconomic changes defined the future development of the region and even the entire world (Berlanstein, 1992).

The process began in the most technologically and economically developed countries of the epoch. No wonder that Great Britain became the first country where the industrial revolution got started. At that epoch Great Britain was one of the leading world’s powers, but the industrial revolution was determined by the profound changes in agriculture, manufacturing and transportation which revolutionized the traditional lifestyle of British people and later other countries and regions of the world (Heilbroner and Milberg, 2000).

The industrial revolution produced a particularly significant impact on countries of Western Europe and the US. The basic changes brought by the industrial revolution were the development of industrial production, growth of cities, migration of the population from countryside to urban areas, formation of a large layer of population employed in the industrial production, wide implementation of machineries, which replaced humans and manual labor, the improvement of communications and transportation. The industrial revolution led to the urbanization and widening gap between upper and lower classes.

In addition, the industrial revolution stimulated the wider employment of both men and women in manufacturing, while, later, even children were employed in large factories. At the same time, the position of men and women was still unequal since men were in an advantageous position compared to women and, as a rule, they remained breadwinners. As for women, their wages were consistently lower compared to men, while conditions of work were quite difficult since both men and women had to work for 10-12 hours per day or even more (Bairoch, 194).

Nevertheless, the industrialization laid foundation for the emancipation of women and the development of feminist movement. In general, the social organization of employees of the late 19th 20th century originates from the industrial revolution when employees working together attempted to protect their interests and, in this regard, the conflicts between workers and manufacturers caused by the implementation of machinery which replaced workers could be viewed as first signs of organized protection of rights of employees which later evolved into union movement.

Thus, the industrial revolution brought a huge economic progress but it changed the traditional life of society contributing to the socioeconomic disparity, which resulted in social tension and political struggle, in which impoverished masses were used for the achievement of political purposes of various political forces.

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