Early Modern European History Term Paper

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European transition between traditional and modern. The writer concentrates on the organizational structure of the nations including industry. The industrial revolution has historically been portrayed as a major revolution and one from which a sudden transformation was born. The writer of this paper presents evidence that the revolution and the change from traditional to modern happened through a step-by-step process and not all at once.

The industrial revolution of Europe was one event during the total European transition from traditional to modern. Since the changes took place it has been commonly understood and accepted that it was a sudden change. Today many people believe there was an overnight transition and Europe woke up in the modern era.

One can see how this has become an accepted theory but upon a closer look will be able to find flaws throughout the theory. The actual transitional period was much longer than commonly believed and it happened through a series of events cumulating in the eventual permanent place in the modern world.

While many people credit the industrial revolution for bringing Europe into the modern world one only has to look at the era just before the revolution to see the actual buildup of change that took place. The era before the revolution has been well documented as the Age of Crisis (De Vries, 1976).

The years between 1600-1750 were years of change and the development of a civilized economic structure for the continent. The developmental changes in the economic growth of Europe during the 17th and 18th century laid the foundational building blocks for the industrial revolution that has been credited with the changes that took place (De Vries, 1976).

One of the reasons the industrial revolution has been given the complete credit for the "sudden" change Europe experienced was because the elements of the industrial revolution were obvious. The development of machinery, manufacturing plants and other things that occurred in the industrial revolution are tangible and obvious changes that can be credited for the transition are easily defined. During the preceding years to the revolution, European society made many transitional moves toward the modern society it eventually became (De Vries, 1976).

Using economic reasoning one can easily understand the long transitional process involved in the end result.

Evidence of the steps that built the eventual change to modern society can be outlined through the use of macroeconomics. Macroeconomics applied to the centuries just prior to the industrial revolution will detail the building blocks that were laid by societal actions that in turn allowed the industrial revolution to sweep Europe into modern history.

Another factor that contributes to the belief that the industrial revolution was the sole cause of the transition was the fact that the region suffered a prolonged recession just prior to the industrial revolution. The recession stretched across the continent including Northern Italy (De Vries, 1976).

The recession caused such a slow down in the economic progress of the continent that it forced the nations involved to slow to the point of stagnating. This is true of most recessions and while it does indeed impact the end growth of the area it should not be ignored or believed to mean that the growth before hand never occurred. It was during this time that the building blocks were set so that the industrial explosion could occur the way it did (De Vries, 1976).

The building of the railway is what started the end of the recession and that in turn brought the industrial revolution to full swing. Before this occurred however many things had to be put into place so that the industrial revolution could occur.

Other aspects of civilization that contributed to the eventual boon for Europe included civil wars. Throughout history it has been documented and accepted by many experts that a war advances the economy of the nation that wins. The states have always enjoyed economic improvement when waging war even if the recession before the war was strangling the U.S. economy.

The wars of Europe also contributed to the advancement of the economy in Europe. The fighting that took place with France, England and other countries contributed first to the financial burdens of those nations and then later to the economic prosperity of those nations to claim victories in the war.

Turkish troops ravaging the country side as well as sectarian violence also contributed to the economy of Europe. The recession was threatening to choke the continent and in response to the recession many political and societal tensions flared. This caused wars to develop and those wars either destroyed various economies or strengthened them.

The social and economic turmoil that was experienced during these years set the stage for the later industrial revolution which was responsible for many of the successes and modernizations that the continent experienced.

Another factor in the movement between traditionalism and modernism for Europe was the English Revolution. The revolution lasted much longer than anyone anticipated that it would. It extended from the late 1620s to 1688. This was not a sudden revolution and its length fueled the transitional events that led to the eventual industrial revolution (De Vries, 1976).

If one wanted to liken this expanded experience to something tangible and current one could compare it to a football team. The quarterback receives much of the credit for winning the games but it is the defensive team's prior actions that set the quarter back up to complete the pass that garners all of the accolades. This can be compared to the modernization of the European continent.

The years before the industrial revolution worked in much the same way that the defensive teams of football do. The years prior to the industrial revolution, through many events including civil wars and recession events, worked to set the later years up to look like sudden and huge successes regarding the transition from traditional to modern in that society.

During the 150 years between the beginning of the changes and the industrial revolution that brought it to success there were many things that occurred to help the process along. Those things included growth in the productivity levels and the output of products and services that increased the economic abilities and growth of the regions they occurred in.

The only explanation there seemed to be for that period in history, which was laying the foundation for the success of the industrial revolution, was the increase in effort and input. The population was steadily growing during this time and that increase in population mandated an increase in food development and harvest. The need for more food and fuel and other things was evident but there was not additional land by which to attain these things.

The English countryside was transformed between 1760 and 1830 as the open-field system of cultivation gave way to compact farms and enclosed fields. The rotation of nitrogen-fixing and cereal crops obviated the necessity of leaving a third or half the land fallow each planting. Another feature of the new farming was the cultivation of turnips and potatoes. Jethro Tull (1674-1741) and Lord Townshend popularized the importance of root crops. Tull's most original contributions were the seed drill and horse hoe. The seed drill allowed a much greater proportion of the seed to germinate by planting it below the surface of the ground out of reach of the birds and wind. "Turnip" Townshend was famous for his cultivation of turnips and clover on his estate of Raynham in Norfolk" (Industrial Revolution (http://mars.acnet.wnec.edu/~grempel/courses/wc2/lectures/industrialrev.html).

He introduced the four-course rotation of crops:

wheat turnips oats or barley clover.

Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) pioneered in the field of systematic stock breeding. Prior to this, sheep had been valued for wool and cattle for strength; Bakewell showed how to breed for food quality. Bakewell selected his animals, inbred them, kept elaborate genealogical records, and maintained his stock carefully. He was especially successful with sheep, and before the century's end his principle of inbreeding was well established. Under Bakewell's influence, Coke of Holkham in Norfolk not only improved his own farms, but every year held "sheep shearings" to which farmers from all over Europe came for instruction and the exchange of knowledge (Industrial Revolution (http://mars.acnet.wnec.edu/~grempel/courses/wc2/lectures/industrialrev.html)."

Instead history has demonstrated that during those years there was more effort by those who lived in the area during the era to use the natural resources that were available and there were efforts to use them as wisely as possible so that there would be more product for the increasing population.

The increase in productivity can be directly correlated to the increase in urban growth according to some experts and historians. The need for better and more agriculture prompted a rise in the urban growth that regions experienced. It is well-known that the need for more materials and building supplies fueled an increase in many of the labor efforts that were experienced during the time.

The period before the industrial revolution links the growth in urban need to the increase in rural…

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