Why was the Industrial Revolution called a revolution?


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Revolutions refer to critical turning points in human history. (Consider, for example, the impact of the Neolithic Revolution, which entailed the discovery of agriculture.) In this respect, the Industrial Revolution is a revolution due to the far-reaching reverberations it has had and the degree to which it has reshaped human history.

Industrialization entailed the transition from an agrarian economy to one based in manufacturing. Historically, before the Industrial Revolution, economies were based in agriculture (with wealth and status ultimately tied to control over land) while manufacturing tended to be comparatively limited and largely local in its reach.

Thus, the Industrial Revolution resulted in profound economic, political, and demographic shifts. Consider the growth of industrial cities (which, in turn, brought about such problems as pollution and urban crowding). Industrialization also did much to reshape Western society and culture: consider how these economic transformations played a critical role in creating the modern, industrial class structure (divided into Upper, Middle, and Working Classes).

The Industrial Revolution also entailed advances in technology (which in turn would spur on further advancements, accelerating the rate of technological progress). It shaped ideologies such as laissez-faire capitalism as well as criticisms—such as those advanced by socialism and Marxism. It was also key in driving Western imperialism. These are only a few examples. Regardless, its influence on history has been profound.

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The Industrial Revolution was revolutionary in the sense that it made goods a great deal cheaper. Goods could now be mass-produced in factories by people who did not demand the same pay as craftsmen. This meant that stores could have several identical products for purchase at low prices. If a product was worn or broken, it could be fixed with a part from another similar product.

The Industrial Revolution also had a human side as well. Many of the independent craftsmen lost work due to the rise in mass production. Entire families went to work in these factories; factory owners were charged with getting the most work out of people while keeping overhead prices down. Wages were low for the factory workers and safety conditions were largely nonexistent during the Industrial Revolution. Factory owners actually sought out women and children due to their small hands and the notion that women and children did not have to be paid as much. Factory conditions would lead to workers' movements where they would agitate for better rights.

Politically, the Industrial Revolution also had far-reaching implications. Nations were constantly on the search for new markets. This would lead to closer economic ties between nations and more attempts at ensuring a nation's goods could go anywhere in the world.

For these three reasons the Industrial Revolution was truly revolutionary.

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A revolution brings sudden, radical change to a society. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines revolution as "a sudden, radical, or complete change."

Industrialization, the ability to cheaply and effectively mass produce items in factories, brought sudden and radical change to societies that had been agrarian for centuries. While most people had traditionally lived on the land and worked in farming or cottage industries, such as spinning wool in their own homes, suddenly a huge number of people moved to urban areas to work in factories that were separate from their homes. This radically disrupted age-old rhythms of life and work, as well as traditional social hierarchies and allegiances. Working people had to adjust to factory life, which had a very different pace from the ebb and flow of agriculture.

The aristocracy underwent a shock as ordinary people who started factories suddenly had immense wealth that agricultural production could not match. This revolutionized the social order at the top, as the aristocrats had to share power with commoners and often were overshadowed by the wealth of the new industrial class.

Industrialization also revolutionized the standard of living across society. During the nineteenth century in particular, average people experienced an unprecedented rise in living standards as affordable goods flooded the market.

At the same time, the rapid changes industrialization wrought led to worker abuses as age-old understandings between landowner and worker were replaced by a less paternalistic factory ethos. This led to the rise of ideologies, such as Marxism, that in turn caused what we conventionally think of as revolutions: political overthrows of governments. An economic debate, which is still ongoing, erupted over how the fruits of the new industrial and postindustrial wealth should be distributed.

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The Industrial Revolution was truly a revolution. It brought about many changes that impacted many people.

The Industrial Revolution changed the working environment significantly. Before the Industrial Revolution, many people worked at home or in small working environments. The workers often knew the owners and their families. The working environment was fairly informal. Products were often made by hand. When the Industrial Revolution arrived, things changed. Machines were used to make the products. More people worked in factories. The workers often didn't know the owners. Working conditions weren’t very good. Factories were often unsafe and unclean. Workers had long hours and had low pay. Working conditions deteriorated during the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution also impacted the economy. Many new products were developed. Products could be made quicker because the machines made it easier and quicker to produce things. Transportation improved making it easier and quicker to transport products and people. This allowed the economy to grow because more products were being made and being sold. People could move to the western regions easier than in the past. Businesses expanded as they followed the people. Thus, the economy and the country grew.

The changes that occurred because of the Industrial Revolution were very significant. The name is very appropriate.

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