Home » World History notes INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION


Factors Responsible for IR?
  1. There was a collapse of feudal system. Along with renaisssance this infused new life into economy and society.
  2. The period saw tremendous growth in science and technology.
  3. Growth of population led to increasing demand. Existing techniques were not sufficient to meet the demands and hence there was a need to find efficient modes of production. The dictum Necessity is the Mother of Invention could never have been more true than during IR.
  4. Due to brave efforts by sailors new colonies and world trade routes were discovered. Queen Elizabeth I started the official policy of settlement in North America which finally gave birth to 13 colonies.
Why England dominated and not other countries?
  1. England enjoyed a stable political system.
  2. It had a strong navy and shipbuilding industry.
  3. Large empire. A popular saying went that “Sun never sets in British Empire”
  4. It had abundant natural resources which provided raw materials for its industries.
  5. Colonies served as ready made market for its goods. Import duties on British goods were abolished while export duties on native goods were raised.
  6. It was the birthplace of many scientific discoveries and technogies. It had a progressive attitude towards science. There were organisations like Royal Society of London focused on R & D.
  7. Enclosure Movement led to eviction of small farmers which led to increased labour supply in cities.
What were the major Scientific discoveries?
TextileHargreavesDeveloped machine which speeded up spinning
TextileArkwrightHe adapted Hargreaves’ machine for running with water
TextileCromptonHe combined the advantages of machine made by both
TextileCartwrightHe developed power loom
TextileEl WhitneyHe developed Cotton Gin which separted seeds from cotton threads at 300 times faster speed.
IndustryJames WattDeveloped Steam Engine in 1769
IndustryDevelopment of blast furnace and textile industry (counter rising imports from India)
TransportGeorge StephensonSteam engine to haul coal from mines to port by railways.
TransportMc AdamPucca Road (Macadamized Roads)
TransportFirst passenger and freight service from Liverpool to Manchester
TransportCanal building in Europe and US
TransportRobert FultonUse of steam boats.
CommunicationRawland HillPenny Post and Postage Stamp
CommunicationGraham BellTelephone
CommunicationSamuel MorseTelegraph
CommunicationMarconiWireless communication
AgricultureCash crops, steel plough and harrow, mechanical drill for seeding, intensive manuring and crop rotation.
ResearchRoyal Society of London
Role of Industrial revolution in other countries?
  • France: It had unstable political sytem and there was wide unrest among people. The situation therefore was not conducive for industrial advancement. By 1850 it was the second largest producer of iron, but it was far behind than England.
  • Germany : It was a latecomer as it had to wait till its unification in 1870. But after it it made rapid progress and became the main rival of Britain.
  • Japan : It was initially known only for silk, porcelain and toys. However, by the end of 19th century it became a global player in steel, machinery, metal goods and chemicals. It was the first country to industrialize in Asia
  • USA:  It had abundant natural resources. It introduced machines and started factories even before 1800. It had well developed textile, steel and shoe industries.
Discuss the Impact of industrialisation?
  1. Feudal society transformed into Industrial Society
  2. It also led to gross inequality. The British PM Disraeli spoke of ‘existence of two nations in England – rich and the poor’
  3. Means of production were controlled by factory owners. Landless, toolless workers were now dependent on employer. He could be hired or fired at will and enjoyed no rights, job security or social benefits. Their plight is well illustrated by Charles Dickens in his novels. Their working conditions were deplorable and they lived in filthy conditions.
  4. Emergence of new order which clashed with the old order. It gave new dimension to economy, polity, society, religion.
  1. Race for new colonies started. This led to the policy of colonialism and imperialism.
  2. Brought countries and people together. World became interconnected and growth of international consciousness took place.  The events in one part in the world affected another. For example, slowdown in England in 1830 led to the revolutions in other parts of Europe.
  1. Emergence of Laissez Faire doctrine.
  2. Centre of economy shifted from rural to urban areas, connection with land severed and the self sufficiency of village was broken.
  3. Growth of trade, commerce, means of transportation, communication, banking.
  1. Broke the monopoly of religion. It was relegated to private affair.
  2. Some country like France totally prohibited any show of religion in public affairs.
What were the major features of capitalism?
  1. Goods and means of production owned by individual. There existed only two classes – Capitalists (owner) and worker. Worker only owned his wages and nothing else.
  2. Market knows everything approach. Laissez Faire. Adam Smith.
  3. No government intervention.
  4. Hire and Fire policy at will.
  5. Exploitation of workers. Miserable conditions.
Major industrial reforms undertaken?
  1. Formation of trade union was allowed.
  2. Factory Act was passed in 1802.
  3. Restriction on number of hours for kids to 12. Later kids below 9 years of age could not be employed.
  4. Chartist Movement was launched for the demand of right to vote for industrial workers. Earlier they were denied.
  5. Socialist consciousness development. Reordering of social system.
  6. State’s role in regulating the economy also came to be realised.
The greatest challenge to laissez faire or free market doctrine came from socialism which grew in the beginning as a reaction against evils of capitalism. The idea appealed to workers. A complete re-ordering of society was felt necessary. While recognising the importance of machines and making them even better it also aimed at solving the problems created by capitalism by building new social order.
Reasons for Growth
  1. Vast majority of workers had no right. Their conditions of work were miserable and were fired and hired on according to the needs of the capitalists. They had no job security. There were laws against workers combining themselves.
  2. Belief that capitalism is evil and the means of production should be owned by the society as a whole and not by a few individuals. This led to revulsion against inequality.
  3. French revolution and its promise of equality had given new impetus to ideas. However, there was wide gap between aims of FR and the actual conditions after the revolution.
Trade Unions
  1. Workers began to organise themselves into trade unions to protect the common rights.
  2. Several countries passed laws to protect them from unsafe conditions and limit the number of working hours.
  3. Movement to break the machines by Luddites led by Ned Ludd. They believed that destruction of machines would an end to their misery.
  4. There was a Chartist Movement in Britain for political rights.
Babeuf’s Conspiracy
Babeuf was born in 1760 and participated in French Revolution. He organised a secret body called Society of the Equals. He was executed in 1797 but his ideas influenced the growth of socialist movement.
Nature gave everyone an equal right to the enjoyment of all good. In a true society there is no room for either rich or poor. Time has come for republic of equals whose doors will be open for all”
Other Socialists and Organisations
  1. Saint-Simon (1760-1825) : He gave the slogan of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”
  2. Charles Fourier (1772-1837): He is credited with Utopian Socialism and ideas of Feminism.
  3. Robert Owen (1771-1858)
  4. Lous August Blanqui (1805-81) : He believed that through a revolutionary conspiracy, power could be captured to bring about socialism.
  5. League of Just – It had members in many parts of Europe. Its motto was – “All men are brothers”. Internationalism was one of the most important features. In 1847 its name was changed to the Communist League and it declared its aim as “downfall of bourgeoisie, the rule of proletariat, overthrow of old society of middle class based on class distiction and establishment of a new society without classes and without private property”. Its journals carried the slogan “Proletariats of all lands, unite!”
They viewed property in relation to the usefulness to society. They visualised a society free from any exloitation of any kind. The methods advocated by them were impracticable and ineffective and they came to be known as utopian socialists.
Marxian Socialism
  1. Karl Marx (1818-83) and Fredrick Engels (1820-95) gave a new direction to socialist ideology. Their view of socialism is known as Scientific Socialism.
  2. Marx published Communist Manifesto in 1848 whose impact on socialism is unrivaled. It stated that the aim of workers all over the world was the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of socialism. Socialism was not merely desirable but also inevitable. Capitalism does not serve then needs of man and would be replaced by system better suited to human needs.
  3. Marx analysed working of capitalism in his famous book Das Kapital and pointed out the characteristics that would lead to its destruction. According to it workers produce more value than they get in return in the form of wages, the difference being appropriated by capitalists in the form of profits. This constitutes the basic conflict in capitalist society. Interests of workers and capitalists are irreconcilable. Economic crisis were inevitable under capitalism. The situation could be resolved only if private ownership is ablished and profit motive is eliminated. Production should be carried on for social good and not for profit.
  4. He envisioned a classless society where there would be no difference between what was good for the individual and for the society as a whole. Emancipation of working class would emancipate the whole human race from all traces of social injustice.
1848 Revolutions
Aimed at overthrow of autocratic governments, establishment of democracy. One of the major forces in these revolutions were the workers who had been inspired by the ideas of socialism. The Communist League participated in these revolutions but all these were suppressed.
International Outlook
One of the outstanding feature of socialist movement was its internationalist character.
  1. Society of Fraternal Democrats in Britain in 1846. It had close links with other similar organisations in Europe and the Chartists in Britain. They emphasised the idea that cause of working class in all countries was the same.
The First International
  1. International Working Men’s Association or the First International in 1864.  Marx drafted “An Address to the Working Classes”.
  2. The central aim was declared to be the total “abolition of all class rule”. The emancipation of the working classes must be won by the working classes themselves.
  3. The address ended with the slogan : Proletarians of all lands, unite!”
The govt considered it as a menace and declared it illegal in many countries. During a short period of its existence it exercised tremendous influence on worker’s movements in Europe and North America. Bonds of international solidarity got strenghtened.
One of the finest example of workers’ solidarity was evident during Prussia and France War in 1870. The war was condemned both by the German and French workers as a crime committed. The French and German branches of International sent messages of good wishes and solidarity to each other. German workers protested against the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine from France. All the leaders of German workers were arrested.
Paris Commune (1871)
  1. After the war in 1871 a new government agreeing to terms and conditions of Bismarck came to power and declared itself republic. It was dominated by propertied class. The workers regarded the surrender to Germany as treacherous and refused to surrender. France took the help of Germany to crush the movement.
  2. Workers of Paris elected a council which on 28 March 1871 assumed the title of the Paris Commune. It was elected by Universal Adult Franchise and represented workers and lower middle class. All public offices were elected by universal suffrage with people having the right to recall.
  3. The commune was finally exterminated and defenders of commune were slaughtered in thousands. Marx declared that “Working Men’s Paris, will be ever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society”. 
  4. The extermination of the Commune was followed by systematic attempts to destroy the International in almost every country of Europe. It was split in 1872 and finally dissolved in 1876.
The Second International
  1. During 1870s and the 1880s almost all the countries in Europe saw the formation of socialist parties. Some of them became quite strong and had an impressive representation in the parliament. Prominent among them were German Socialist Party, Socialist Democratic Federation in Britain, the Socialist League and Fabian Society in France. Socialist movement began to take root in Japan in 1890s.
  2. Membership of Trade Unions increased and there were many strikes.
  3. Congress was held in Paris on 14 July 1789 the centenary of the FR. It marked a new stage in the history of socialism.
  4. 1st May was declared every year as a day of working class solidarity. On 1st May 1890, millions of workers all over Europe and America struck work and held massive demonstrations.
  5. Last decade of 19th century saw growing militarism and race for acquiring colonies. This was the main cause of confict. Capitalism was the root cause of the war. Campaign against militarism and war and in asserting the principle of the basic equality of all peoples and their right to freedom and national independence.
  6. It was decided that socialist should utilise the “economic and political crisis created by the war, to rouse the masses and thereby hasten the downfall of capitalist rule”
  7. International solidarity of workers became fundamental principle. They called for general strike to prevent their countries from waging war.
  8. During 1904 session the Japanese and Russian delegations were made joint president when both these countries were at war with each other. The session was also attended by Dadabhai Naorji who highlighted the plight of India under British rule.
After the Second International the socialist and workers movement had become a major force in almost every country of Europe. Jean Jaures the great leader of French socialists was assassinated on the eve of WWI for campaigning against the war.
  1. It was a loose federation of socialist parties of many countries with diverging interests.
  2. Some believed in necessity of a revolution while others favoured gradual reforms. Some even favoured colonialism !
  3. Many supported war in the fear that they would be crushed by their govt if they protested. It was on the question of war and the future course of action that Second International suffered a fatal blow. During WWI most of the socialist parties extended their support to their respective governments.
  4. After this Second International ceased to function and socialist movement in every country was split.
  1. It created widespread awareness of the problems created by capitalism and inadequacies of democracy.
  2. Powerful political movement started in number of countries such as Russia, China, Cuba.
  3. It had its impact on India as well. It helped Nationalist formulate a strong critique of the economic exploitation by British.
  4. It played an increasingly important role in the coming years all over the world making socialism alongwith democracy and nationalism the dominating factor in the history of the world in the 20th century.
By |December 14th, 2015|History|

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