Industrial Revolution World History Britain Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 7 Type: Essay Paper: #86713925 Related Topics: Middle Class, Global Market, Middle East, Modern World Published January 24, 2023
Excerpt from Essay :

Why Britain?

The Industrial Revolution as it has been described in Eurocentric historical analyses began in Britain during the late eighteenth century, with advancements in the textile industry. However, English imperialism and colonialism patterns are what provided the new market in raw materials that spawned the revolutionary technologies of the English Industrial Revolution (Marks, 96). Profiting off its colonies, England was able to amass the capital needed to invest in new industrial equipment, and also to have access to global markets to stimulate demand for mass produced textiles. Yet England also carefully controlled its supply and demand, preventing the colonies it exploited for natural resources from adopting the revolutionary technology. As a result, the Industrial Revolution did not spread to places like India or China even though those were both regions that had dominated manufacturing and production for centuries prior (Marks, 97). Whereas India and China previously retained a competitive advantage due to their larger labor forces and consumer markets, Englands power to create new tariff schemeseconomic protectionismare what prevented even the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, India, from reaping the rewards of its own textile and cotton industry (Marks, 98). Britain therefore leveraged its position as colonial leader and imperialist power, using its extensive global trade network and military might to dominate world trade, control the global marketplace, and protect its own burgeoning industrial development. As Kreis also points out, the industrial revolution was about much more than the factory model and the mechanized means of mass production. The Industrial Revolution transformed the geo-political landscape forever.

Why Didnt The Industrial Revolution Spread?

One of the main reasons why the Industrial Revolution did not spread rapidly into Russia, China, and India is because of British protectionism. However, there are other reasons why the Industrial Revolution remained confined to Britain and North America. One reason is that traditional Indian textile industries now faced newfound competition with the mass produced textiles being made in England (World of History 801). Although India was the source for cotton and other textile raw materials, India had no means of competing with Britain in terms of manufacturing prowess. Not only could textiles and other goods be produced more rapidly, more efficiently, and at an even lower cost; those goods were also positioned on the marketplace as being more technologically advanced and therefore more desirable to the market. India was then made to appear rather primitive, and the idea grew that its proper role was to provide raw materials for western industry, (Pacey, World of History, 802). The situation grew worse for India, to the point where Britain was selling back to India finished products made with the subcontinents own raw materialsa similar situation which later arose during the Opium War era in China (Pacey, World of History, 802). Domestic industrial development in India could not have competed with the rapidity of growth taking place in England during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. England simply cornered the market of industrial development, and thereby squelched competition.

The situation in China was different. Whereas Britains protectionism and its ability to monitor and manage Indian industrial development prevented the subcontinent from competing,…on the Peterloo Massacre and the Del Col explanation of the life of the industrial worker in nineteenth century England show how child labor and other means of labor exploitation helped catapult England to the top of the Industrial Revolution. England had also long been willing and able to borrow, adapt, and take information about ancient Chinese and Indian manufacturing traditions and apply those to their own industrial exploits. Pomeranz, for example, notes how Britains bridge-building industry owes tribute to its Chinese predecessors (805).

Moreover, there were newfound social realities concurrent with the Industrial Revolution. As Pomeranz points out, the Industrial Revolution led to new divisions of labor. Divisions of labor have always existed in human societies, but the Industrial Revolution made it so that labor became more highly specialized than ever before, with strict gender differentiation. Industrialization led to urbanization, too, which radically changed the nature of agricultural production. Although the Industrial Revolution started with textile industries and then spread into other sectors of manufacturing such as massive public works projects, it also spilled over into agricultural technologies that mechanized food production. This allowed more and more former farmers to move to urban centers. The same phenomenon was not taking place in China or in Russia. A combination of political, economic, and social changes taking place during the Industrial Revolution eventually led to communist ideology and the Russian Revolution. Similarly, the ongoing and unabashed exploitation of African territories, territories in the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East led to decades of anti-colonial sentiment and the independence movements that characterized the early and middle…

Sources Used in Documents:


Colby, Charles W. ed., Selections from the Sources of English History, B.C. 55 - A.D. 1832 (London: Longmans, Green, 1920), pp. 298-300Del Col, Laura. “The Life of the Industrial Worker in Ninteenth-Century England.” Victorian Web.

Kreis, Steven. “The Origins of the Industrial Revolution in England.” The History Guide.

Marks, Robert B. The Origins of the Modern World. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Pomeranz, Kenneth. The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy. The Princeton Economic History of the Western World. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.

World of History.

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