Essay on How and Why Did the Industrial Revolution Spread to the Rest of Europe After 1815?

Published: 2021/11/12
Number of words: 652


Urban and industrialized areas in America and Europe were largely born out of the transformation that occurred in the late 18th century, in an era popularly known as the Industrial Revolution. Industries such as iron-making and textiles introduced techniques, and machines that were able to produce goods in bulk that were originally hand-crafted painstakingly (Kelly & Ó Gráda 460). Britain was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution and this was mainly aided by the revolutionary steam power that fueled and spurred on the industries. Towards the mid-1800s, the United States and the rest of the world were catching up to this revolutionary era. Industries that deal with automobiles and steel made considerable advancements in the latter stages of the 19th century and this era is popularly known as the Second Industrial Revolution by historians (Ringmar 17). The Industrial Revolution was appealing for countries such as the United States and Japan after originally emanating from Britain. Britain made considerable strides in the lead-up to the Industrial Revolution that maximized the efficiency and output of its industries. What were the prerequisites for the Industrial Revolution?

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Prerequisites for the Industrial Revolution

Cotton, linen, wool, and other textiles were produced in large quantities in Britain courtesy of the sheep that were being reared in the damp climate that characterized most of the land in the country. Dyers, weavers, and spinners worked from their homes or even from their small workshops, representing a bona fide cottage industry in Britain’s textile industry before the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Spinning yarn and thread as well as the weaving of cloth was assisted by the introduction of the power loom, the water frame, the spinning Jenny, the flying shuttle among other innovations in the mid-18th century. The human labor and duration required reduced significantly while efficiency and effectiveness were maximized while producing clothes (Mokyr 20). The domestic and foreign demand for clothes was growing and this could be met by the textile industry which had now mechanized its production and which was now even more efficient. The goods had a ready market in Britain’s many overseas colonies.

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Furthermore, new methods were also adopted by the iron industry in Britain. Rather than use the conventional charcoal, coke was used to smelt iron ore as a new technique which was relatively inexpensive. Additionally, materials of superior quality were also produced from this method. The railroad industry growth and Napoleonic Wars (Hutchinson & Dowd 655) created the demand for steel and iron materials which was met by the burgeoning capacity of Britain.


In conclusion, the Industrial Revolution had a ripple effect across the world, particularly in the western nations such as the United States (US). Capitalist and technological sectors drastically underwent massive changes in the US during the 18th century Industrial Revolution. The United States’ rapid rate of advancement is attributed to capitalism and technological developments witnessed during the Industrial Revolution era. Moreover, these changes were responsible for the independent states created as well as paving the way for America’s industrial and agricultural sector to blossom following the removal of feudal elements. Consequently, the vast lands that usually characterized the country were utilized as a result. Rapid economic growth was the end result following mass immigration and foreign nations’ large inflows.

Works Cited

Hutchinson, Martin, and Kevin Dowd. “The Apotheosis of the Rentier: How Napoleonic War Finance Kick-Started the Industrial Revolution.” Cato J. 38 (2018): 655.

Kelly, Morgan, and Cormac Ó Gráda. “Speed under sail during the early industrial revolution (c. 1750–1830).” The Economic History Review 72.2 (2019): 459-480.

Mokyr, Joel. “Editor’s introduction: The new economic history and the Industrial Revolution.” The British industrial revolution. Routledge, 2018. 1-127.

Ringmar, Erik. “The Making of the Modern World.” International Relations: A Beginner’s Guide. E-International Relations Publishing, 2017. 8-19.

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