We elaborate that what is the Industrial Revolution and why it was so important. Causes, effects, and inventions that left us.
What is Industrial Revolution?
It is known as the Industrial Revolution at a time of profound and radical economic, social and technological transformations that began in eighteenth-century Europe, specifically in the Kingdom of Great Britain, and which spread throughout Europe and of the United States, ending in the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The changes brought about at this time were so radical that they can only be compared with those experienced by humanity in the Neolithic, and can be summarized in the abandonment of an agrarian model of commerce , work and society , in pursuit of an urban, mechanized and industrialized.
The cornerstone of this revolution was technology , specifically the appearance of the railroad and subsequently of electricity , which modernized labor and agricultural techniques based until then on manual labor and beasts of burden, respectively. This impacted the gross domestic product of nations and represented a sustained growth of wealth and a permanent change in the way of life of the great masses as never before.
The Industrial Revolution is usually divided into two stages: a First Industrial Revolution , which begins around 1760 with the application of the textile factory model in a Great Britain ruled by the non-absolutist liberal monarchy; and a Second Industrial Revolution , characterized by an acceleration of the changes produced by the new technology in European society, which begins around 1850 and culminates with the beginning of the First World War in 1914.
Causes of Industrial Revolution
The antecedents of the Industrial Revolution had to do with the Renaissance of European culture after the Middle Ages and its entry into the Modern Era , which represented a new valuation of science and knowledge, already free of the yoke of faith, centered rather in human reason (consequence in turn of the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century).
Another vital trigger was capitalism , which had already begun to be established thanks to the Bourgeois Revolutions and the abandonment of the Old Regime. The liberal thought, which prevailed in the nations of non-absolutist monarchies, in the hands of the spirit of Protestantism and the need to produce their own consumer goods , given the decrease in imports caused by the Napoleonic Wars and the American Independence Wars , led to a necessary alliance between farmers and merchants, which would cause a demographic boom and the availability of new labor.
Effects of Industrial Revolution
The consequences of the Industrial Revolution were tremendous and irreversible in the history of mankind. Among them we can list the following:
- Radical change of the life model . The improvements in the production and trade systems laid the foundations for mass production of goods, which meant the emergence of new jobs and the generation of wealth in the mass. This affected the increase in birth rates and life expectancy (population explosion), as well as a notorious rural exodus to the cities.
- New transport . Steam technology, initially, and then the combustion engine and electricity, allowed new transport methods that significantly reduced waiting times for merchandise and allowed human mobility at speeds never suspected.
- Emergence of leftist ideologies . The predominance of the bourgeoisie as the owner of the means of production, and its exploitation of the labor of industrial workers and impoverished peasants, marked the emergence of trade unionism, socialism , anarchism and communism .
Inventions of the Industrial Revolution
Some of the most important inventions that took place during the Industrial Revolution were:
- The steam engine . First built in 1768 by James Watt, this machine capable of converting the heat of a coal-powered boiler into motion force gave rise to trains, steamboats and other much more powerful and fast production mechanisms.
- Trains . Emblematic and fundamental figure of the Industrial Revolution, the train shortened the time of transfer of personnel and merchandise, unified distant villages and forever changed the way we think of distance.
- The bulb . Designed in the early nineteenth century, it was perhaps the practical application of electricity that had the greatest impact on European homes. Until then the lighting was produced by burning gas or fuel, and the electric bulb meant the possibility of lighting the nights and extending the useful periods of work and life.
- The spinning machine . This apparatus revolutionized the production of textiles, which until then was given manually and in an artisanal way, allowing several spinners to work at the same time, maximizing textile production. Shortly after the first steps were taken in the relative automation of the process.
Second Industrial Revolution
The Second Industrial Revolution occurred between 1850 and 1914 , and involved the development of great and revolutionary inventions in the field of transport (combustion engines, airplanes) and telecommunications (telegraph, telephone, radio). Its impact was even greater than that of the First Industrial Revolution and forever changed the models of work, education and citizen coexistence.
In addition, it led to a so-called first globalization , in which the economy internationalized and expanded its influence over the territories not reached in the previous explosion.