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Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the factory system.

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During the industrial revolution, England advanced economically and socially. Economically, England was completely changed by the industrial revolution because the economy revolved around industry instead of agriculture, although a focus on trade was still important. Small businesses became more profitable in this time period, as did larger industries. However, there was more change within the social realms, even as many things stayed the same. Due to the industry, farmers, aristocrats, and artisans lost power, while the middle class increased in it. A lower middle class was added for non-manual workers, and the laboring class still had little power as before, but was more banded together as a group. Professionals increased in social rank as well as the upper middle class of industry owners. The economics of the time was completely changed due to the change in products. At the beginning of the industrial revolution, an agriculture revolution based on new strategies of farming was taking place, letting more money flow into England. Mass production was now giving England the economic and political advantage of the world. Textiles especially grew in production exponentially. All the mass production made the goods cheap as well, making them more competitive in the world market. The original market for farmed goods decreased within England’s economy as the demand for big businesses increased. The West Indies and the United States increased in trade, as more raw goods were needed for this boom. Subsequently, for the same reason, coal mining increased. The main effect of this all was that in the capitalist economy, the industrialist replaced the figurehead of a merchant. The industrialized economy also changed the importance of different classes of people. Farmers, as well as artisans, found themselves pushed off to the side in favor of making room for big businesses as the most profitable thing. Landowning aristocrats similarly faced the same dilemma of being in the way of the businesses, and lost political power as big factory owners increased in it. The laboring class established a new area that was closer together and urbanized, bringing them together to form “friendly societies”. The lower half of the middle class eventually split in two with the new demand for jobs- the upper middle class was composed of professionals and scholars that increased in social status, while the lower middle class were those who had jobs like bank tellers, police officers, and salespeople. The upper middle class benefitted most from the change in economy, and soon became aristocrats from jobs like mining and owning factories. During the industrial revolution in England, England went through several economic and social changes. However, the root of all the changes was the beginning of the production of mass-produced goods and the start of factories.

Contributed by Jessica Kalmazu Stimely

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