Chapter 12, Section 1:
The Industrial Revolution in Great Britain

The Industrial Revolution in Great Britain:

Contributing Factors

  • Changes in farming methods caused more people to be fed in a more efficient way, the population spiked, and more capital created entrepreneurs to take advantage of the many natural resources of Great Britain.

Changes in Cotton Production

  • The cotton industry was created through cotton thread being spun from raw cotton, then woven into special clothing on looms. Child labor was taken advantage of, raising problems for children such as abuse and starvation. The spinning jenny also contributed to the cotton industry, because its technology for spinning increased the efficiency of cotton production. This industry grew to the extent that cotton soon became Britain’s most valuable export, sparking the Industrial Revolution.

The Coal and Cotton Industries

  • The success of the steam engine, which ran on coal, gave incentive for the efficiency of coal production. This was improved by the fact that Great Britain had a large quantity of natural resources of coal. They also had lots of iron ore. When they figured out a way to produce a much better quality of iron through a process called puddling, causing Britain’s iron industry to boom along with its cotton industry, and they produced a total of almost 3 million tons more iron than the rest of the world combined.


  • Railroads increased the efficiency of the transportation of goods. The overall quality and speed of trains and quality of railroads rapidly improved during the Industrial Revolution. Thus, building new railroads gave more job opportunities to peasants. This in turn created more capital, because of the investments business owners made in the railroads.

The New Factories

  • A new labor system was enforced during the Industrial Revolution in which factory owners wanted their machines constantly operated so their workers were forced to work long hours. Child labor was increased as well, coming with harsh working conditions for children that were often dangerous and the children were frequently beaten.

The Spread of Industrialization:


  • The Industrialization eventually spread to all parts of Europe, however not at all the same speeds. The first European places to be industrialized were Belgium, France and the German States.

North America

  • Between 1800 and 1860, the population of the United States grew 25 million people. New boat improvements made transportation across the Great Lakes and other bodies of water much easier. Child labor was also used in the United States, as well as the custom of hiring entire families.

Social Impact in Europe

Growth of Population in Cities

  • Frequently during Industrial Revolutions, the country going through the process of being industrialized experienced a major growth in population. As cities became home to many different industries, food became more widely available, which could in turn feed a larger population. The population of cities in Europe grew dramatically during the first half of the nineteenth century.

The Industrial Middle Class

The middle-class people were called the bourgeois during the Middle Ages. During the Industrial Revolution, this class was made up of people who built the factories, bought the machines, and figured out where the markets were.

The Industrial Working Class

Another class, called the Industrial Working Class, was the result of the Industrial Revolution. These were the workers factories, who suffered long hours and harsh working conditions. Women and children were not exempt. Child labor was used extensively during the Industrial Revolution.

Early Socialism

  • Due to the harsh working conditions, a movement called socialism came out of the Industrial Revolution. Socialism was a system in which society, usually in the form of government, owns and controls the means of production. Attempts to create socialism in the United States failed, however.

Vocabulary Terms and Definitions

Cottage Industry

  • A production method in which weaving and other tasks were done from home


A ready supply of money


People interested in finding new business opportunities and ways to make profits


A process in which bad qualities of iron were taken away to produce a better quality iron

Industrial Capitalism

  • An economic system based on industrial production


  • A system in which society, usually in the form of the government, owns and controls the means of production - natural resources, factories, and so forth

Information Source: Chapter 12, Section 1 World History Textbook
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Comment Stream

2 years ago
2 years ago

great work!