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
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.