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Main Dictionary I

Industrial Revolution

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, industrialization began in Great Britain and spread around the world. This period is called the Industrial Revolution.

In America, the Industrial Revolution occurred later (1820 - 1870). It was accompanied by agriculture and textile production mechanization. It is called the Second Industrial Revolution. Also, at that time there was a revolution in energy and logistics (steamboats and railroads), which influenced social, cultural and economic conditions.

Industrial Revolution impact

The Industrial Revolution changed the way people lived and the way factories operated. Perhaps, the phenomena of capitalism and modern cities appeared because of mass production.

Countryside communities made up a large part of America before industrialization. People were farmers. Cities began to attract people when factories and businesses appeared there to provide jobs. Jobs in factories paid better than farming, but were hard working.

The steam engine invention was the push for greater efficiency, reducing the time to produce and then the cost of production (labor costs fell). This opened the marketing doors to a new level of consumers.

Pros and cons of the Industrial Revolution

Goods produced by American companies were cheaper than foreign ones because of U.S. government import taxes. Infrastructure and logistics (railroads and bridges) were developed due to low prices for local steel.


  •  More labor places became available.

  • Salaries in manufacturing were higher than on farms.

  • Manufacturing developed near cities, urban populations increased, requiring more offers of housing that were acceptable, so urban planning improved.

  • Trained and skilled workers were needed because of the many innovations. Population education increased and several groundbreaking inventions appeared, still relevant today (light bulb, calculator, sewing machine, conveyor belt, X-ray, anesthesia, internal combustion engine).


  • The sharp increase in the number of factories resulted in increased urban pollution. Living conditions became deplorable.

  • Child labor became a huge problem.

  • People left the villages for the cities to work in factories for higher salaries. Farms began to produce insufficient amounts of food.

  • The Industrial Revolution motivated an increase in profits, but working conditions in factories became worse. Overtime work, low salaries, and minimal breaks appeared.

History Examples of Industrial Revolution

In 1869 the first transcontinental railroad was completed in the United States. This achievement advanced logistics (transporting goods, people, and raw materials) throughout the country.

The first cotton factory was built in the United States after Samuel Slater brought the manufacturing technology from Britain. The water mill provided jobs and trade in the northeast. Later several factories and mills were built using the same technology.

During the Industrial Revolution in the United States, Andrew Carnegie built the first steel factories, Samuel Morse invented the telegraph, and Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.

What role did the Industrial Revolution play

During the Industrial Revolution, human labor was replaced by machine labor; production, efficiency, salaries, and quantity of goods increased while prices decreased. Agrarian economy shifted to a manufacturing economy and urban populations grew as people moved out of the countryside.

The use of iron and steel in massive amounts and the necessity of using new energy sources (coal and steam) led to the need for new technologies and, as a consequence, an increase in the education level of factory workers.

The first industrial revolution gave mankind three important innovations: the spinning wheel, the telegraph, and the steam engine. The most important inventions of the second industrial revolution were electricity, the light bulb, and the internal combustion engine.

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