The English Industrial Revolution began as a result of a series of economic, social and political factors that occurred in England in the second half of the eighteenth century .
Causes of the English Industrial Revolution
England was a unified country with a relatively stable political situation, free of customs duties, and a well-established insurance system and banking infrastructure.
In the eighteenth century it became a dominant international economic power and accumulated large sums of capital. In addition, the large number of natural ports and navigable rivers, many linked by new channels, meant that domestic and international consumption were easily interconnected.
The existence of abundant and cheap labor was also important for the development of the industry . Since the early eighteenth century, with the improvement of agricultural production, there has been a fall in mortality rates.
At the same time a large population contingent was being driven from the countryside by land grabbing by powerful landowners and migrating to the city.
The English bourgeoisie can still count on the growing colonial empire. In the second half of the eighteenth century, after defeating the French, England had naval hegemony. By this time commercial activities commanded the pace of production.
Consequences of the Industrial Revolution in England
Manufacturing and Industry
In England in the early eighteenth century, various forms of industrial labor coexisted. The corporations, which carried out an artisanal work, already in extinction.
Rural or domestic industry, which operated in the countryside, where peasant families spun, weaved, and dyed, initially for the family’s needs, producing woolen fabrics with rock and wooden looms.
With the growth of trade, they began to produce for the market, emerging the supplier of raw materials that received the finished product to be marketed.
And also the cotton spinning and weaving manufactures, which although they had no machines, resembled factories, gathering workers in one place, producing with a certain division of labor.
Machines and Factories
In England, in the second half of the eighteenth century, various inventions revolutionized production. The first branch of industry to be mechanized was cotton spinning and weaving. In 1767, English inventor James Hargreaves created the wood-built spinning machine used by the rural and domestic industry.
In 1769 Richard Arkwright created the hydraulic loom , later perfected and used in the textile industry. That same year, James Watt creates the steam engine .
The new energy is now being used in spinning and weaving machines. It was in the manufacture of fabrics that the most important technical advances occurred at the beginning of industrialization.
In 1779 Samuel Cropton improved the hydraulic loom and in 1785 Edmund Cartwright invented the mechanical loom, capable of being operated by unskilled labor, which marked the end of manual weaving.
To increase the strength of the machines, wood was replaced by metal, which stimulated the advance of the steel industry. England had an abundance of iron and coal, which were fundamental raw materials for machine building and energy production. Coal production has increased due to steam pumps and other technological innovations.
In the 1980s, the emergence of electricity as a source of energy, pioneered by Michael Faraday, heralded a rival that would eventually replace steam. The development of standardized and accurate machine tools was another important aspect of the Industrial Revolution.
The English Industrial Revolution gave rise to a working class, characterized by low wages and working hours of up to 16 hours. Workers who once owned the looms and rocks became subject to the capitalists (owners of the means of production).
One of the main consequences of the industrial revolution was the growth of cities. In 1800, London had a population of 1 million.
At that time industrial and urban development shifted to the north of the country. During the Victorian Era , Manchester was invaded by a huge mass of workers working in miserable conditions. Women and children filled the factories, with lower wages than men.
Working conditions were precarious and endangered the life and health of the worker, leading some to rebel against machines and factories. The owners and the government organized a military defense. The rise of workers’ struggles forced the creation of minimum subsistence for the unemployed (Speenhamland Act). A community tax paid for the expenses.
In 1811 the Luddit movement, name derived from Lend Ludlam, character created to characterize the destruction of the machines by the workers broke out.
In the 1830s, the Chartist movement claimed the vote for all English citizens. Associations were created to pay for the burial of some dead companion. Then came trade unions, which banned child labor, eight-hour work and the right to strike.