(Sample Material) UPSC IAS Mains History (Optional) Study Kit "Industrial Revolution"

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Sample Material of Our IAS Mains History Study Kit

Subject: History (Optional)

Topic: Industrial Revolution

The causes and the impact of impact of Industrial Revolution in Britain Industrial revolution produced a basic change in the means of production.

The specific attributes of industrial revolution were such as productive investment, the growth in internal and external trade, technological advancement and social change. As the result of Industrial revolution man was replaced by machine in Production. So started the modern factory system.

Now the question arises? Why did Industrial revolution start in Britain. In fact, although the different scholars developed the consensus about the main factors which were instrumental behind the industrial revolution but they differed with each other on the issue of the relative importance of different factors. For example, according to some scholars, the conversion of mercantilist policy into lessaize faire proved an important factor but according to other the colonization of Asia, America and West Indies produced the enough wealth to carry the industrial revolution. According to some other it was the external trade and development of technology that resulted into industrial revolution. In this way there is difference about the relative importance of different factors instrumental behind the industrial revolution but when we observe minutely we fine that all the factors made a contribution to it.

In Britain the process of agrarian revolution stated in 17th century and as the result of enclosure movement capitalist farming started there. So as the result of agrarian revolution both the requirement of raw materials as well as that of grain was fulfilled. Likewise during this period there was the gradual improvement in the breeds of animal. Consequently there was availability of more mutton and animal products. The availability of grains and animal products resulted into growth of population in Britain.

In the 18th century internal market of Britain expanded due to certain factors. Firstly, there was the development of modern transport and communications. For example, the roads were converted into concrete roads. Likewise canals were built and through these canals different regions were linked to each other. Secondly, as a result of growth in population as well as in per capita income the number of consumers increased. Thirdly, during this period some credit institutions just developed. In 1774, the chambers of commerce was established in Britain. Likewise the Bank of England came into existence. In the second half of 18th century Britain even developed a big external market after the colonization of Asia, America and West Indies.

Scientific revolution played the significant role in industrial revolution in Britain. For example, some specific technologies like steam engine, spinning jenny, Power loom, Water frame etc. came into existence. With the use of these technologies modern factory system started. Above all in Britain these new technologies got the social acceptance. It is said that the spinning jenny became successful in Britain because the artisans accepted this but it turned to be failure in France because it was the government which adopted it.

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Furthermore in Britain the foreign policy was subordinated to economic policy. For example in 17th century Britain adopted Navigation Act in order to check Dutch rivalry in trade. Likewise in 1813, there was a conflict between the interest of commercial capitalism and that of industrial capitalism. The government favoured industrial capitalism and on the basis of the charter of 1813 trade monopoly of the East India Company was abolished in favour of capitalist class in Britain.

Now it was matter of debate among scholars whether War played the positive or negative role in industrial revolution in Britain. According to one view war definitely played the positive role in industrial revolution as it increased the demand of iron brass copper, cotton cloths, woolen cloths etc but according to some other view war discouraged the process of industrialistion and it was due to this factor that industrial revolution started late.

Impact of Industrial Revolution

(i) Political administration impact. After industrial revolution the power and the responsibility of the government sharply increased because now the state had to deal with a number of questions or problems arising out of industrialisation. For example, the state had to legislate a number of factory laws” in order to regulate the relationship between the labour and the capital, it is in this context that the concept of welfare state developed.

(ii) Economic impact: There was the sharp increase in the production and the distribution as the result of the application of new technology to production and transportation. Before Industrial Revolution there was the almost direct relationship between producers and consumers. But after this revolution this direct relationship just gave way to the very distant relationship. It resulted into the growing exploitation of consumers.

Later a number of consumer forums developed in order to give protection to consumers. Industrial revolution prepared the way for imperialism in Asia and Africa because the rivalry for market started among European powers.

Social Impact: Industrial revolution encouraged the division in society. After industrial revolution middle class emerged to be more powerful. On the other hand a new class called proletariat class came into existence. So the conflict between the middle class and proletariat class started. As a result of this conflict some new ideologies developed such as Socialism, utilitarianism, Marxism etc.

Cultural impact: Industrial revolution developed a new culture. There was a general decline in the sense of compassion among men towards their fellows. On the other hand the attraction towards the luxuries and comforts in life sharply increased.

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