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What was the Industrial Revolution about?


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The Industrial Revolution was a time of dramatic social, economical and technological changes. It was a period that was defined by a major and rapid transition from an agricultural and commercial society (an economy based on manual labor) to a modern industrial society dominated by new technology powered machines (an economy based on complex machinery). The Industrial Revolution era began in the late 18th and early 19th century first, started in Britain then spread to other nations. It was an revolutionary change in the sense that it led to an entirely new method of how work was done. There were now; several factories with complex machines manufacturing all kinds of products under what is called mass production; large industrial cities with new jobs that caused people to move in large numbers looking for employment; the transportation system was revolutionized through use of steam-powered machines (fuelled by coal) giving rise to trains, steam ships and also the invention of cars. Also, family needs was no longer based on production but rather on unity of consumption.

This was a time of growth in wealth where the government saw a rise in taxes, technology and imperialism. There were advances in agricultural methods that created effective systems that produced an increased supply of food and raw materials on a large scale. This led to changes in industrial organization due to new machine technology that caused good to be mass produced unlike the old ways (manual labor). This created a large increase in profits, and an increase in commerce both foreign and domestically. Goods that had been made traditionally made by manual labor was now done by complex machines in the factory. As a result of this, there were drastic improvement in productivity since work was done in a more effective and efficient way in the manufacturing process. This improved method of production (called mass production) provided a wider range of products to be available to the population at much cheaper prices.

As the number of factories and business enterprises grew in large numbers in a given location, this led to the rise and growth of cities as people moved from the rural areas into urban areas in search of jobs. The Industrial Revolution created an industrial society where the living conditions were much better than that of living in the rural society. There was an increase in the availability of food, clothing and shelter, health care, educational opportunities and better wages. The mass production of productions caused prices to drop, making products once only available to the rich to be now affordable to the poor. Thus, living in the cities provided both political and economic freedom.

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