8.3 Origin of the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution first started in England from where it rapidly spread to the U.S.A. and later to Europe. Several factors were responsible for the advent of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain.
England had sufficient money to finance new industries. Overseas trade, commerce and industry were encouraged by England's naval supremacy.
There was political and social stability in England, so people could invest their savings in new enterprises.
England began to manufacture practical and inexpensive articles,
which could be exported if they were produced on a large scale.
Hence England invented new techniques and machines to produce such
Many agriculturists who became unemployed owing to the Agriculture Revolution, were available as laborers in mills, factories and workshops. These laborers were able to move freely from place to place for jobs in factories. Coal, a cheap fuel, was available in large quantities for running factories, mills and workshops.
Napoleon's Continental System of preventing the import of English goods into Europe enabled England to blockade the continental ports. Thus England bought raw materials at low rates and supplied finished products at high prices to her colonies.
Many Spanish and French artisans who were persecuted owing to their religion, went and settled down in England, thus giving an impetus to English industries.
The English colonies were ruthlessly exploited for raw materials and as markets for finished products.
Scientific discoveries were encouraged by the Royal Society of London. The inventive genius of the English, as seen in scientists like Sir Humphry Davy, George Stephenson, Dr. Edmund Cartwright and James Watt, favored the Industrial Revolution.
New inventions and new methods of production went hand in hand, giving rise to many factories over a span of a hundred years in Britain's countryside.