The topic I have chosen to expand my knowledge on is the Industrial Revolution. To me, the Industrial Revolution was a turning point in human history. It brought forth new growth and prosperity to the human race, but it also introduced new instruments of war. Throughout history, humans always take new tools, items, and techniques and improve them. This process will continue forever. The Industrial Revolution, however, was a major leap forward in many industries. The Industrial Revolution’s influence can still be seen in many structures and machines today.
The Industrial Revolution really began in the late seventeen hundreds and carried into the eighteen hundreds. The Industrial Revolution eventually influenced many countries’ economies as they needed to compete with other nations. According to Duiker, the first countries to be involved in the Industrial Revolution were Belgium, France, and German states, all of these countries’ government greatly supported the industrialization by creating schools to train engineers and mechanics, as well as funding construction projects (19-1b). This movement quickly became global and eventually made its way to the continental United States.
Since the United States was still a young country, not even a century old, the Industrial Revolution was a major occurrence. Before the Industrial Revolution, most Americans citizens were farmers who lived off the food grown on their farm and any profits were made from selling crops to the local market. The Industrial Revolution changed this. Duiker states that, in eighteen hundred, about six out of seven Americans were farmers and in eighteen sixty, only about fifty percent of the population of the United States consisted of farmers (19-1b). While the Industrial Revolution did have positive impacts, it also, however, had some negative effects.
Although there were many breakthroughs during the Industrial Revolution, such as the lightbulb and advances in medicines, many people still could not have access to these items. For example, the wealthy could afford medicines but the working class could not. This showed in a study that showed that there was a considerable drop in life expectancy in the working class while the upper classes’ life expectancies rose. According to Rocteur, Neal, and Jacquemin, it took a long time for scientists to link the drop in life expectancy to poor sanitary conditions in the workplace, Rocteur, Neal and Jacquemin also state that the improved medical techniques born from the Industrial Revolution helped to identify this issue (19). People also have a tendency to use great things such as the Industrial Revolution for war. Armaments were improve and could now be made more quickly due to more individuals working in factories. Wars such as the American Civil War and WWI are examples of this.
Some of the products of the Industrial Revolution are still vital parts of the world today. An excellent example would be electricity. Duiker mentions that electricity could produce heat, energy, and light and only needed a wire for transmission (19-2a). Today, electricity can be found anywhere in the world. Another major change was the movement from iron to steel. Steel is lighter, more malleable, and more durable. It was used to build structures and vehicles and still is today. The third creation of the time was the combustion engine. This creation was a substantial leap in all forms of industry. It allowed the rise of better boats, helped the growth of the automotive industry, and even allowed the creation of airplanes.
The Industrial Revolution is definitely one of the most important events in human history. Without these discoveries and inventions, the world would be very different. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, many of the creations of that time are still in production today and are constantly being improved upon. Electricity is used in cellphones, combustion engines were used to put a man on the moon, and steel is still used to construct skyscrapers. The Industrial Revolution’s influence will forever carry on in the modern world.
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