The term Industrial Revolution can be described as "the rapid growth of the industry that happened in Britain in the late 18th and 19th centuries, necessitated by the introduction of machines" (OED, 2014). The Industrial Revolution was evidenced by the growth of the textile industry, and it helped a lot in enhancing the living standards of the population within Britain (Alasaka, n.d). The Victorian economy grew greatly in strength and size, and the emergence of the textile industry helped Britain to shift from pre-industrial to industrial economy (Alasaka, n.d). The Industrial growth of iron in the British Islands is inevitably connected to two other primary innovative breakthroughs: Abraham Darby's efficacious casting of iron with coke, and the growth of puttering and rolling technique of bar iron production by Henry Cort the Victorian era (Alasaka, n.d ). The paper will examine the main features of the Industrial Revolution and the impacts of industrialisation on population change during the Victorian Period.
The Primary Characteristics of the Industrial Revolution
The growth of industries can be explained into two contexts; the first context (1770-1870), focused on steam, iron, water, and swing from husbandry (Tejvan, 2016). The second stage of the IR (1870-1914), led to the development of new technologies of energy, growth of the petrol engine oil, and better utilization of cheap steel (Tejvan, 2016). All this occurred in Great Britain. The key features of the Industrial Revolution include; population change seen by people moving from rustic agricultural areas to work in factories in the metropolises (Tejvan, 2016). The growth of steam power, such as steam trains, and steam-enabled machines (Tejvan, 2016). Another characteristic that defines this period is the large production of goods, augmented efficiency, and plummeted average costs, which allowed factories to produce more (Tejvan, 2016).
Industrial Revolution also contributed to the distribution of roles between men and women in the Victorian period. The roles of women were grouped into four main groups: First, the domestic and household labour (Alasaka, n.d). The second category encompassed child care and training. The third component included the supply and retail of food and other consumer products. The final category included technical skills in the manufacturing sector (Alasaka, n.d). This happened against the previous backdrop of women being involved in domestic and household labour alone (Alasaka, n.d). The main problem that perhaps faced women during the Victorian era in Britain is low pay, and poor working conditions (Alasaka, n.d). The growth of the iron industry was precipitated by the growing request for the new machines. The growing supply of less expensive metal inspired the use of machinery in other industries, most conspicuously in the new forms of transportation (Alasaka, n.d). In a nutshell, the growth of commerce and the rise of business were the main causes of the Industrial Revolution (Sanyaolu, 2019).
The Effects of Industrialization on Population Change During the Victorian Period
The growth of industries in Victorian Britain led to an increase in the population to extreme levels. The growth of industries in the Victorian era enabled Britain to import food, and largely make good revenue from mass exports of textiles, and other manufactured commodities such as clothing, pottery, and stationary. During the Victorian period, the population was able to increase especially in the cities due to plenty of employment opportunities in the factories. According to Robert Malthus, the Industrial Revolution caused the real wages and population to grow within Victorian Britain (Khan, 2008). According to the economic lens, the real wages grew due to the subsequent increase in the total quantity of laborers in the factories. After the growth of industries, the living standards of citizens started to change at a higher rate. For example, if the GDP per individual before the Industrial Revolution was 1550 (Crafts, 1989). A few years after the revolution started to set in the GDP grew by 150 to 1700 (Crafts, 1989). The population growth in Victorian Britain continued to augment until reaching a peak of 1.35 percent annually during the period of 1791 to 1831 (Khan, 2008). During this period the child mortality rate decreased, while there was dramatic rise infertility. In a nutshell, one of the major outcomes of the Industrial Revolution was the changes in birth and death rates (Khan, 2008). There were high birth rates, and subsequently, low death rates and the reason is that there was no famine since there was growth in machines to help in harvesting crops, therefore bad harvests were occasionally witnessed.
Assessing the Significance of the Social and Economic Impacts of Industrialisation During the Victorian Era
Great Britain gave birth to the Industrial Revolution with intense investment in technological innovations. By the mid-18th century, the nation had become one of the world's leading commerce hubs (Sanyaolu, 2019). They were able to use the wealth they amassed from the growth of industries to colonize many nations in North America, Africa, and the Caribbean. One of the major social impacts of Industrialisation in the Victorian Britain is the creation of social classes (Alasaka, n.d). The high class and the working class who mainly comprised of poor individuals.
During the Industrial Revolution period, child labor was a common sigh. The farmers who shifted to the city to seek for jobs always forced their children to work in factories. In this period, education was not paramount for children in Victorian Britain (Walker, 2011). Due to the growing use of coal as a fuel, a lot of children were hired in the coal mines, and they were placed in the mine shafts due to their small sizes. Some of the children were hired to work as chimney cleaners (Walker, 2011). The children were compelled to work in deplorable conditions, such as poor lit coal mines which made some of the children develop vision problems due to straining their eyes while working (Walker, 2011). The children would also be exposed to excess soot in the chimneys, which would make them develop respiratory problems.
On the economic scale, Great Britain benefitted from the Industrial Revolution, mainly during the Victorian Era. The nation was able to earn a lot of revenue from the export proceeds of textiles, as they normally sold to undeveloped nations. Growth in terms of productivity was also witnessed during this period. The rise in labour productivity was propelled by the influx of families from rustic homes to urban towns to take up different roles in the factories (Crafts, 1989). On normal occasions, a country that has high labour productivity means there is high production of goods which will later be exported thereby an indication that the economy is performing well (Crafts, 1989). Industrialisation in Victorian Britain led to the growth of powerful middle-class citizens and a very rich class. There were frequent unrests from the working class due to being paid low wages and working in exploitable conditions in Victorian Britain (Sanyaolu, 2019).
Training and capacity growth was encouraged between the manufacturing and factory workers (Sanyaolu, Sanyaolu & Oni, 2017). The workers were trained on the novel methods of productivity improvement and total quality management (Sanyaolu et al., 2017). Conversely, the level of distribution developed an upward trend in income per capita in Britain (Lucas, 2003). The elements were evident due to the availability of technological and innovational growth. In a nutshell, the Industrial Revolution led to a positive transformation of economic and socio-political structures across Victorian Britain through the inception of machines and factory growth (Sanyaolu et al., 2017).
In conclusion, the Industrial Revolution led to a positive revolution of economic and socio-political structures across Victorian Britain through the inception of machines and factories' growth. The main characteristics that defined the Industrial Revolution included mass production of commodities that led to the growth of the business across major British cities during the Victorian period. On the social front, the paper has explained that the Industrial Revolution increased the instances of child labour. The children of the working-class families were forced to work in coal mines, and under poor working conditions instead of going to school.
Alasaka, L. (n.d). Industrialisation in the Victorian Britain. Retrieved from: https://www.academia.edu/7712347/Industrialisation_in_Victorian_Britain
Crafts, N. F. R. (1989). The industrial revolution: economic growth in Britain, 1700-1860. In New directions in economic and social history (pp. 64-75). Palgrave Macmillan, London. Retrieved from: https://www.ehs.org.uk/dotAsset/15457c19-e7bd-4045-a056-30a3efac2d47.pdf
Lucas, R. (2003). The Industrial Revolution Past and Future.
Oxford English Dictionary. (2014). Definition of Industrial Revolution.
Sanyaolu, P. (2019). The Impacts of the Industrial Revolution to Modern State Systems.
Sanyaolu, P. Sanyaolu, O. C. & Oni, O. (2017). The Importance of Media in Politics: Reseach Gate Open Access Journal: DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.33223.60322
Tejvan, P. (2016). Facts about the Industrial Revolution. Retrieved from: https://www.biographyonline.net/facts-about-the-industrial-revolution/
Walker, H., 2011. The literature of the Victorian era. Cambridge University Press.
Khan, A. (2008). The industrial revolution and the demographic transition. Business Review, 1, 9-15. Retrieved from: https://www.philadelphiafed.org/-/media/research-and-data/publications/business-review/2008/q1/khan_demographic-transition.pd
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