First Industrial Revolution XVIII
Until the 17th century, production did not have any type of production line, unlike the current methodology
Imagining a world without industrialized products is currently impossible, correct? However, for human history, this is even a “recent” situation, considering that until the 17th century, production did not have any type of production line, different from the current methodology. But since the First Industrial Revolution, everything has changed.
This important historical event has England as its background, which at that time offered the ideal conditions for such a process. In this way, to better understand contemporary society and all the changes and transitions it has been exposed to, we need to look and analyze with great attention what were the changes in the political, social, economic and cultural fields during this period that we call the Modern Age.
The English Pioneer
England plays a fundamental role in this whole process due to its pioneering spirit in industrial development. The other countries would experience such a process later. This pioneering spirit was due to a combination of factors, which began mainly with the great political transformations suffered by that country throughout the 17th century. These transformations allowed the emergence of ideal conditions for the beginning of what was the modern Industry.
In the seventeenth century, England went through a series of political events that led to the rise of the bourgeoisie as the ruling class, such as the Glorious Revolution of 1688, for example. This event is considered by historians as a bourgeois revolution and obviously determined the rise of the bourgeoisie as a social and political class. With that, the bourgeois were able to take a series of measures that benefited their businesses.
In addition, among the changes that occurred during the 17th century, in the period of the Puritan Republic, England enacted the Navigation Acts in mid-1650. This law, valid for England and its colonies, determined that all import and export goods were to be transported by English vessels. This action allowed England to control trade and sea routes and made it possible for the bourgeoisie to enrich itself, which was then able to accumulate capital.
This accumulation of capital was extremely important, as it was from it that the bourgeoisie could invest in research to develop the creation of machines and, thus, improve the production process and finance the construction of industries. And as the main manufacturing activity of the English was weaving, it was from cotton fabrics that the mechanization process began.
Another measure of this period that directly contributed to the emergence of ideal conditions for industrialization were the Enclosure Laws. These laws caused a large mass of peasants to be expelled or receive a derisory value for these lands. This vast amount of peasants, without means of survival, was forced to go to the cities. Therefore, as a result of these enclosures, there was a great availability of urban labor, which was essential for the development of industries.
On the other hand, in addition to all this available manpower, there was also an improvement in hygiene and food conditions, which made the population, in general, become healthier, causing a drop in mortality rates.
In addition to all these changes in the socioeconomic spheres, the English also had large reserves of coal and iron ore. The first being used as a source of energy, in this case, for steam generation and iron ore for the development of machinery, railways, ships, etc.
Therefore, having the necessary conditions and factors for such a transformation, England became the pioneer in this Industrialization process that later spread throughout the world, enabling new forms of production and establishing a new relationship between society and the environment in which it lives.