The Industrial Revolution occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries. No other revolution in world history is responsible for more dramatic change than the Industrial Revolution. The advantages are practically innumerable. Nonetheless, there are definitive advantages of the Industrial Revolution that changed the world culturally, technologically and politically.
The Industrial Revolution injected millions of dollars of revenue into the world's economy. Prior to the revolution, families depended primarily on agriculture and craft trades for income. Poor farmers in Ireland, for example, survived on no wages and depended on crops. However, during the revolution that Irish farmer was making nearly £2 per week. British timber framers, who struggled most of the 18th century during a decline in building, found manufacturing jobs creating steel products and doubled their wages. In America, poor immigrants found employment building railways for westward expansion, jobs that supplied them with almost three times their previous wages.
Steam power was developed and used primarily for industrial production. However, scientists increased the use of steam power to include trains and automobiles. This allowed faster transportation of soldiers and civilians, giving a tactical advantage during war. Additionally, goods and products could be economically delivered to areas they otherwise would have never reached. In addition, steam power helped fuel the industrial workplace: woodworking tools could be used at a faster pace; metal lathes could be operated by fewer men; and large factories could now be heated during the brunt of winter.
The Industrial Revolution caused major changes in agriculture. Prior to the revolution, agriculture was small and mostly provided subsistence to only a few families. Most of the farmers had left for the city to earn higher wages, so farm production was further reduced. However, the Industrial Revolution provided a twofold benefit for the farmer. Machinery produced by the revolution proved to be innovative for the labour-strained farm. Steam-driven tractors took the place of ploughs. Cultivation and harvesting could now be performed by one or two men, conveyors were installed and operated to process crops more quickly and steam-powered shipment was now possible, allowing quicker transport to markets.
Dissemination and Cultural Change
Steam-powered ships and trains supplied a means of transporting people of various cultures around the world. Consequently, major figures in world history contributed to scientific, political and military ideas that benefited countries such as the United States and Great Britain. Albert Einstein came to America from Europe and contributed some of the most important ideas to science that the world has known. Politically, major world leaders from Great Britain and the United States strengthened foreign policy and military might of each country by travelling in person by steamship to allied regions of the world. Finally, countries gained cultural diversity through immigration.
Second Industrial Revolution
Beginning in the middle the 19th century, a second Industrial Revolution took place. The Civil War was imminent. The Union and Confederate governments placed great importance on innovation, especially of guns and ammunition. Additionally, the three-phase magnetic motor and the electric lamp were now on the cusp of a worldwide development, and the telegraph revolutionised the way the world communicated.
- "The Industrial Revolution"; Pat Hudson; 1998
- "The Industrial Revolution"; Stewart Ross; 2008
- "Transport in the Industrial Revolution"; Derek Howard Aldcroft, Michael J. Freeman; 1983