In the 17th century the new ideas of freedom gave rise to the philosophy of economic liberalism, and in the 18th century the free trade and some economic activities summed up in the expression laissez-faire (let do) were accepted.
The Industrial Revolution began in England in the second part of the 18th century. It was a process of change from an agrarian, handicraft economy to one dominated by industry and machine manufacture.
Fundamental to the Industrial Revolution were some technical innovations: the use of new materials like iron and steel; the use of new energy resources like coal, petroleum, electricity and the steam engine; a new organization of work: the factory system; the invention of new machines.
The first machines were introduced into the textile industry and agriculture. Jethro Tull had invented the mechanical seed-drill, James Hargreaves the spinning Jenny (a weaving machine), James Watts the steam engine. The worldwide diffusion of industry and trade was made possible by the invention of steam ships and steam trains. (In 1818 the first steamship crossed the Atlantic, in 1825 Stephenson inaugurated the first railway line and in 1830 the first locomotive-operated public line opened.)
The Industrial Revolution was also characterized by the development of the network of roads, canals and railways, by the introduction of a regular postal service and by the mechanized textile industry.
Agriculture also developed thanks to new techniques like fertilization, crop rotation and draining.
The concentration of capital necessary to the industrial growth and the world-wide trade favored the formation of the first international credit banks like Rothschild Bank.