The Industrial Revolution
During the last decades of the 18th century, Britain underwent enormous changes and turned from a farming country into an industrial country.
In 1750 because of the great increasing in population, there were more demands for more foodstuffs as the beer and for more clothes, therefore all these necessities claimed an accelerating of the productions.
So there was the rise of new technological machineries whose improved the farming system and transport.
Almost first machineries we remember those used for cloth-making, such as James Hargreaves’s “spinning jenny”, and, Richard Arkwright’s “water frame”.
All these machines which let one man do what was previously done by many, worked thanks to the using of water, but, then, the need for more energy brought the development of steam-power that was patented by James Watt in 1775.
However, though these machines were convenient and cheaply, these machines rended many without work.
The economic success of this period was also rended possible thanks to the transport improvements, because were built the first railways and waterways, and, were also improved road conditions, so it was easier to transport row materials (from America) and refined materials (english people imported row materials from America end they exported refined materials to the other countries).
The Agrarian Revolution
Another important revolution of this period is the Agrarian Revolution, that is linked to the Industrial Revolution because in both the fields were exploited the technological inventions.
The Agrarian Revolution is characterized by massive enclosures of open fields and common lands and by the breeding of cattle, because cattle produces materials as milk and wool.
Towards the Napoleonic wars
In that period, there were many important events.
At the beginning the Declaration of the Independence of the American Colonies that, was recognised by Britain with the treaty of Versailles.
The United States adopted as republic a federal constitution led by George Washington who was the first president and New York City as temporary capital.
So America managed to quench its thirst of freedom and equality, so reaching those same values, which were the instigating causes of French Revolution.
To the French Revolution followed the Napoleon’s ascent.
Britain won that war thanks to the Admiral Horatio Nelson, who defeated the French-Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar on the Atlantic coast of southern Spain in 1805.
But Napoleon was definitively defeated in 1815 at the battle of Waterloo, in Belgium where the British troops led by Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, were able to overcome Napoleon, weakened by his disastrous invasion in Russia.
Despite the victory of Britain, which made it gain the acquisition of Cape of Good Hope, Trinidad, Singapore, Ceylon and Malta, brought to an economic crisis because of the enormous financial costs that Britain had to face for the wars.
From the Luddities to 1837
In that period the country was on the verge of starvation, bankruptcy and revolution, whether because of the economic crisis determined by the costs of the war or for the arrival of the machines, which rended many man unemployers.
Therefore, in this clime/climate, there was the rise of a particular movement of people, called Luddities from Ned Ludd, who had broken a loom.
These people (Luddities), when they lost their work, smashed a lot of machines and when they were discovered, the government issued “The Combination Act” which forbade associations of workers that were illegal and punishable by death.
In 1819 in Britain there was a peaceful public meeting in which were killed eleven people by Manchester soldiers, this event is remembered as “Peterloo massacre”.
The successive period of the Napoleonic wars was called “The Regency”, from the Prince Regent, George 4th, who acted as monarch during the illness of his father George 3rd for substituting him.
In the period previous Queen Victoria, William 4th in 1830 came to the throne and he reigned in an aware and consciousness period full of reforms.
Social implications of industrialism
First of all, people shifted from the country areas/sides to the industrial towns, the so-called Mushroom Towns (the industrialized towns).
Women and children were exploited because they could be paid less and were easier to control.
The environment of those cities was really poor, air and water were polluted by smoke and filth, and living conditions were really appalling, man lived in disease, heavy drinking and alienation.