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The Industrial Revolution Dbq

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The Industrial Revolution is the name given to the movement in which machines changed people's way of life as well as their methods of manufacture. About the time of the American Revolution, English People began to use machines to make cloth and steam engines to run the machines. Later they invented locomotives.

Productivity began a steep climb. By 1850 most Englishmen were laboring in industrial towns and Great Britain had become the workshop of the world. From Britain the Industrial Revolution spread gradually throughout Europe and to the United States. The most important of the changes that the Industrial Revolution improved were: 1. The invention of machines to do the work of hand tools. 2. The use of steam, and later of other kinds of power, in place of the muscles. 3. The adoption of the factory system.

The Industrial Revolution came gradually. However, when measured against the centuries people had worked entirely by hand, it happened in a short span of time. Until the inventions of the flying shuttle in 1733 and the spinning jenny in 1764, the making of yarn and the weaving of cloth had been much the same for thousands of years. By 1800 a host of new and faster processes were in use in both manufacture and transportation. (Doc 7)

Several systems of making goods had grown up by the time of the Industrial Revolution. In country districts families produced most of the supplies that they used, while in the cities merchandise was made in shops, and manufacturing was strictly regulated by the guilds and by the government. The goods made in these shops were limited and costly. The merchants needed cheaper items, as well as larger quantities, for their growing trade. They had to establish another system of producing goods.

The cottage or domestic industry filled in the gap for some time, because it gave the merchant a large supply of manufactured articles at a low price. It provided employment for every member of a craft worker's family and gave jobs to skilled workers who had no capital to start businesses for themselves. This also slowly lowered the Death rates gradually.(Doc 4) A few merchants who had enough capital had gone a step further. They brought workers together under one roof and supplied machines. These establishments were factories.

After centuries of the craft guilds and the government having controlled commerce and industry, began the belief that it was better to let business be regulated by the free play of supply and demand rather than by laws. The English government started to leave business free to adopt the new inventions and the methods of production which were best suited to them. The new methods increased the amount of goods produced and decreased the cost. British merchants no longer found it a problem to obtain enough goods to supply their markets and, at times, the markets were flooded with more goods than could be sold.

As conditions in industry changed, social and political conditions



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