The Cause of the Industrial Revolution Essay

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The Cause of the Industrial Revolution

In discussing the main developments of the Industrial Revolution, we must first look at the Agricultural Revolution and the effects of enclosure as writes Peter Mathias a secondary source, "to be given identity, the concept (the Industrial Revolution) implies the onset of a fundamental change in the structure of an economy; a fundamental redeployment of resources away from agriculture" (Peter Mathias (1969,p2) The First Industrial Nation). The agricultural revolution was the precursor to the industrial revolution and began around 1650, with parliamentary enclosure acts dominating the period 1750 - 1830. Enclosure changed agriculture from an open field system,
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British banks had developed to handle the financial business of the landowning aristocracy, rich farmers and merchants. Landowners and farmers who had prospered from enclosures deposited their money with the Country Banks. The Country banks deposited money into London Banks, which were then able to loan money to Industrialists in the North and Midlands. T.S.Ashton sees the chief contribution of the banks in providing short-term funds for industrialisation. If we look at W.Rostow though, an economic historian, in 'The Stages of Economic Growth', 1960, a secondary source, he uses his theory of 'take-off' to explain how industrial growth and change accelerated into self-sustained growth. In this he identifies cotton textiles as the leading sector in British 'take-off' and identifies the period as 1783 - 1802 using the evidence of an increase in raw cotton imports. The growth of the British textile industry notes Rostow, went hand in hand with the developments in the plantation system of cotton production in America with slavery being very important to the plantations. Rostow supports his theory by stating that cotton stimulated other industries by 'forward linkages', i.e. coal, iron, engineering and banking.


Another factor we must take into consideration was the huge increase in population in Britain creating a labour

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