The Industrial Revolution Heavily Influenced England By 1914

3908 words - 16 pages

The Industrial Revolution Heavily Influenced England by 1914

Industrial Revolution could be argued to be "the most fundamental
transformation of human life in the history of world."[i] Furthermore,
the definition of the industrial revolution is as abstract as what had
enabled it to happen. A French economist, Jerome-Adolphe Blanqui,
first used the term industrial revolution in 1837, when he claimed
that the social and economical change in Britain is parallel to the
French revolution of 1789, in the manner of the speed and impact. His
view was later criticised by Sir John Clapham, who argued that the
process of industrialisation in Britain at the time took a more
evolutionary line, and that there was no empirical evidence of change
by 1851. Nevertheless, the definition of industrial revolution can be
approached in three ways. The first view considers an industrial
revolution as a process which altered certain important sectors of the
economy, notably heavy industry and the development of factory
production, in a relatively short time period. The second view would
place emphasis upon the changing nature of employment from primary
activities[1], to secondary activities[2] and eventually tertiary
activities[3]. A third attributable to W.W. Rostow sees the industrial
revolution as a dramatic complex changes triggered by the
transformation of Britain's cotton industry into a full blown
multiplier effect of the economy, thus resulting in a 'self sustained'
growth.

It does become questionable whether Britain was a fully industrialised
society by 1914. Yet again, it depends on what is considered a 'fully
industrialised society.' Is it the shift of employment nature, as
argued by the second view mentioned above. Alternatively, it could be
an alteration in the social classes, by the addition of the
'middle-class,' a term that began to be used in 1812, people, who
benefited from the industrial revolution, as Bruce Robinson remarks, "the
modern world was opening up new opportunities for those who would work
hard enough to take them."[ii] Regardless how we define a fully
industrialised society, in general terms, things had certainly changed
in Britain by 1914. Up to 70% of the population was working in
industrialised towns, an estimated number of 44% were working in
factories, the number of agricultural workers declined by 36% from
it's figure in 1841 and there was the emergence of the importance of
entrepreneurial skills to manage the factories. There was also a shift
in political power with the emergence of the Labour Party in 1897 and
the declining powers of the aristocrats, including the monarchy. The
change in living standards generally improved by the passing of the
1850s factory acts[4]. However, the society might have not been fully
industrialised, as the advantages brought by the...

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