Why Did England Lead In The Industrial Revolution? Ap European History Long Essay Question

1327 words - 6 pages

English Leadership in European Industrialization
The Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries, a time of severe change that included the economic development and creations of significant inventions that innovated specific industries such as the textile industry, was centered and initiated in Britain before spreading throughout the continent of Europe and the Americas. Inventions that aided the textile industry included the spinning jenny, a simple and hand-powered cotton spinning machine, made by English inventor James Hargreaves, the water frame, a spinning machine that could spin several hundred spindles using waterpower, made by English inventor Richard Arkwright, and the power loom, a mechanical weaver, made by English inventor Edmund Cartwright. The use of factories dramatically increased as new inventions required more power than provided by human labor, therefore early factories sprouted next to rivers for the use of the water wheel until the Thomas Savory and Thomas Newcomen invented an open cycle steam engines which was later advanced by James Watt, who created the closed cycle steam engine that removed the need for factories to be built next to rivers. The Industrial Revolution is contextualized by the cottage industry, a period in which rural workers used hand-powered tools in their own homes to produce a large number of goods for the market, which was made up of the proletariat class in England. The proletariat class consisted of landless rural wage earners that were previously small peasant farmers who lost their access to common fields in which they farmed to the enclosure movement, a movement to fence in fields to farm more efficiently. The cottage industry used the putting out system in which nuclear families would receive raw materials from a merchant that they would produce into goods like textiles that the merchant would then collect in exchange for a wage. This process began England’s consumer society with people buying goods, as opposed to hunting and creating their necessities and the process created a demand for manufactured goods. The cottage industry set the structure with beginning the consumer economy of England and supplied the motivation with the demand of many manufactured goods for the Industrial Revolution. England began the noteworthy shift of European industrialization in regards to technology and economy throughout the 1750s and stretching over a 100 year period due to English inventions, a surplus of food, an established laboring class, demand for goods, local geography, and colonial trade, as opposed to other European countries which were hampered by warfare.
Several inventions that assisted innovation during the Industrial Revolution were invented by English inventors, meaning that England benefitted from these advancements before other countries. The inventors of the power loom, water frame, spinning jenny, iron puddling furnace, process to make steel, open cycle steam engine, ...


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