The pioneering spirit of colonialism and of man's ability to make advances in stages of life primarily assigned to nature -- such as the aforementioned innovations in electricity and magnetism -- were all championed by the Enlightenment and carried over to the field of industry.
Additionally, the Enlightenment helped provide some of the political context which helped to create environments in which the scientific and cultural achievements of the Industrial Revolution could take place. Principles of the Enlightenment heavily influenced the founding fathers of the U.S. government -- who then went on to form a country that utilized several of the technologies and principles that the Industrial Revolution went on to be known for. Additionally, social-political upheavals throughout Europe -- most notably the French Revolution -- were spurred in no small part by the feeling of unrest and discontent with tradition that the Enlightenment was credited for. This sentiment played an influential role in the zeitgeist that helped to produce some of the most wide sweeping and efficacious reforms of the Industrial Revolution.
The Industrial Revolution actually had a symbiotic relationship with the Enlightenment and its focus on science primarily through the widespread dissemination of printed materials. Since one of the effects of the enlightenment was the ability to better allocate resources more inexpensively, several scientific books and journals were widely disseminated during the 18th century that propagated scientific notions that helped to spur further innovations evidenced in the Industrial Revolution. In France alone, reading rates doubled in the 18th century (Darnton 16). The scientific journals that were initially produced in the latter portion of the 17th century continued in popularity throughout the next century, and helped to spread some of the most radical ideas related to science to an increasingly growing audience.
Also, it is important to note the importance these journals played in cultivating a relatively new branch of scientific knowledge, that known as natural history. Popular works of literature that directly affected the scientific community in the years leading up to the Industrial Revolution include the 1746 publication of Jacques d'Agoty's La Myologie complete, ou description de tous les muscles du corps humain, as well as Histoire naturelle des insects by Reamur. The novelty of this subject matter, which attempted to categorize natural occurrences via scientific processes, played an integral part in disseminating several scientific developments that would shape the Industrial Revolution (Spary 289-293).
Aside from natural science, other realms of science that enjoyed noticeable developments during the early part of the Industrial Revolution included chemistry and astronomy. The former would prove to profoundly affect a number of innovations directly related to construction materials, such as the formulas relating to developments in concrete, steel, and even in iron, to a certain extent. One of the most profound achievements in chemistry was the theory of the combustion of oxygen discovered by Antonie Lavoisier (No author). Advancements in astronomy during the early portion of the Industrial Revolution included the discovery of Uranus, refinements in telescopes and increased clarity in conceptions of gravitational pull between celestial bodies (Porter 328). Most importantly, these innovations like that which typified most of the science that preceded and existed during the time of the Industrial Revolution, served to further the spirit of human achievement and accomplishment that the aforementioned epoch actualized.
3. Economics Environment
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The ultimate manifestation of the Industrial Revolution, of course, was its impact and modernization of economics and principles thereof. The cultural sophistication that influenced and was enabled by technological advances allowed for new means of producing revenues with an efficacy that was unmatched in antiquity. As was the case with virtually all aspects of the Industrial Revolution, the economic benefits of this movement emanated first in England with its factory system, before spreading throughout the rest of Europe and eventually reaching the new world. Scientific improvements that allowed for the widespread production and usage of materials such as steel, iron and coal enabled industries such as the railroad system, textiles and other factories, as well as new forms of business ventures to take root and drastically revamp the means of achieving pecuniary ends. For instance, by the end of the 19th century the amount of power England obtained from steam sources vastly outspanned that procured from conventional water supplies (Crafts 344). The fostering of industry itself was able to significantly affect the economic systems of areas that benefitted from the industrial revolution -- and induce a monetary stability and reliability that is still in place today.
3.1 Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nation (250 words)
One of the most highly influential economic developments of the Industrial Revolution was the popularity of economist Adam Smith, and his seminal treatise on the subject: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. The timing of this manuscript helped to account for its widespread influence -- it was published in the same year as the founding of the United States, and printed in the waning years before the French Revolution. The principles the economist advocated in this manuscript were certainly controversial at the time, as they were directly opposed to the mercantilist practices that drove the most powerful European powers at the time. Yet what Smith proposed was a conception of economics that the Industrial Revolution provided the conditions for, and which helped to modernize, if not outright globalize, the independent economic concerns of powerful countries at the time. As a testimony to the efficacy of this book and Smith's other economic principles, several other writers and political theorists based their ideas on Smiths within a generation's time (Fusfeld 24).
In the Wealth of Nations, Smith calls for an open market economy (Smith 533) with governmental regulation -- to minimize the propensity for monopoly and trusts or cartels that could potentially circumscribe the free system of economics in which trade, commerce, and open competition were the chief tenets. The economist believed that an open market would balance itself, even on an international or global scale, primarily because of a division of labor that largely allows for an expansion of the marketplace. Such labor division and expansion would ultimately require an amassing of capital on the part of business and industrial leaders -- and would be reinforced by the concept of property rights as initially advocated by John Locke.
In some form or another, classical political economy is largely based on or proceeds from measures of economic thought initially advanced by Smith. This statement should not suggest that the variety of thinkers and positions outlined within classical political economy represent a consensus of some sort -- with at least five notable members (Thomas Malthus, Jeremy Bentham, Jean-Baptiste Say, John Stuart Mill, and David Ricardo) of this school of thought, such a consensus was virtually impossible, particularly because some of these individuals propounded positions that directly rebutted the literature and works of the others. However, there are certain common tenets of classical political economy that appear to have been descended from Smith's viewpoints of monetary thought. One of the most eminent of these is the notion that given the liberty to do so, that the marketplace would eventually stabilize itself due to certain inherent qualities of it.
For example, Say was a firm believer in the fact that production actually was demand in itself, and advocated a certain degree of autonomy for the market so that it could balance itself. What is interesting about 'Say's Law" is that both Ricardo and Mill subscribed to this principle of economics. Ricardo believed in a difference between true wealthy capitalists and simple landowners who collected rent from laborers (Dhamee). On an international stage, Ricardo's notion of comparative advantage states that countries will counteract the surpluses and deficits in one another, due to what he believed the three principle factors of production were -- labor, land and capital. Such stabilization was an intrinsic part of the open market system initially put forward by Smith. It was due to this need for a free market economy that the Industrial Revolution was able to yield economic profits on a global level in a manner distinct from traditional nationalistic, mercantilist tendencies, and in large part of a co-dependence of different nation states and continents upon one another.
The third most profound influence in the sphere of economics that reflected the growth and transformation of the Industrial Revolution occurred in the 1860's, and largely appeared to be a spontaneous transition from the preceding precepts that had occurred before. This spontaneity is in large part reflected by the fact that disparate thinkers throughout Europe were responsible for the economic movement known as Neoclassical Thought -- the central concept of which was the option of marginal utility. The primary difference between this economic tenet and that of Smith and of the Classical…