The aims of this paper are to evaluate the effects the Industrial Revolution had on the wider world. This essay will be assessing the impact of technology and innovation on employment of the era, and how the factory system gave rise to socialism. In addition, it will be evaluating how the Industrial Revolution was the precursor to the phenomenon of consumerism and the resulting globalization.
The Industrial Revolution was a period from 1750 to 1850 where agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and technology went through a period of significant change. These changes had a profound impact on the social and cultural conditions of the time, beginning in the Untied Kingdom and spreading throughout Western Europe, North America, and the rest of the world. The Industrial Revolution, considered a major turning point in history, effected almost every aspect of daily life; through new discoveries in technology came new jobs; through new jobs came new working conditions; through new working conditions came new laws and new politics, the repercussions of which extend to today. As Crump emphasizes: ‘The world as we have come to know it in the twenty-first century is impossible to understand without looking at the foundations laid – mainly in the English-speaking world of the eighteenth century – in the course of what is now known, but not then, as the ‘Industrial Revolution’ .
Most famously recognized as a time of great technological innovation, the Industrial Revolution gave birth too two of the most transforming technologies, which came to spur the revolution on; cotton spinning and steam power. The two technologies are closely linked, the improved Steam Engine, invented by James Watt and patented in 1755, was originally used to pump out mines but was later applied to power machines thus leading to the advent of the factory system. The textile factory system of the United Kingdom was mainly located around the areas of Greater Manchester and the towns of Pennines and Lancashire. These areas would become the bedrock of the textile industry in Britain, as Rosen states: ‘The true industrialization of Britain, and subsequently, the world, depended on a commodity that could attract consumers not by the thousands, but the millions’ . A commodity, like, for example: cotton.
The textile industry, which came to make up the majority of Britain’s factory system, was going through a period of substantial change. The pre-industrial cloth industry, consisting mainly of wool, was organized on the domestic system by using hand-powered machinery. By 1850, this system was giving way to steam power and the factory system, and the primacy of wool was replaced with the primacy of cotton . The invention of James Hargreaves’ ‘Spinning Jenny’ and Richard Arkwright’s ‘Water Frame’ had already revolutionized the textile industry, however, the development of the ‘Mule’, so-called because it was a cross between the Jenny and Water Frame, by Samuel Crompton, led to...