Effects of Industrialization and Imperialism

Therefore, one must understand how throughout the times of Imperialism, and Industrial Revolution, aspects such as working conditions, population expansion and colonial enhancement prove why advancements were beneficial to the modern world in the long run.

The Industrial Revolution marked a time in history when advancements in technology proceeded to transform the industries and lifestyle of Europeans. Between the steam engine for factories, to the telegraph for communication, the people of the time benefitted from the new progress in society. Factories began producing more products to keep up with the demand of the people. Recently, a population boom had been caused by an agricultural revolution. More available food and goods gave couples the confidence to grow larger families. However, as industries struggled to keep up with demand, they looked for an alternative. Nations needed more materials in order to spit more products out of their factories. Countries looked toward weaker countries such as India, China, and Africa to meet their needs for raw materials as well as new markets.

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Here, desired natural resources (such as gold on the “Gold Coast” of Africa) seemed easy to obtain. But in order for these civilizations to do what they wanted, Europe had to colonize these areas, exhibiting imperialism. Although this may appear crude, one must understand how throughout the times of the Industrial Revolution and Imperialism, aspects such as working conditions, population expansion and colonial enhancement prove why advancements were beneficial to the modern world in the long run.

The Industrial Revolution was known to create the modern world in referral to the technology we have to offer today. Cell phones, flat screens, and tablets all wouldn’t have been possible if humans didn’t start somewhere. During this revolution, the steam engine, cotton gin, and sewing machine all helped factories with production. But soon, technology became more than just industry advancements. The telegraph was one of the prime examples of new technology that affected people’s lives directly. This was because humans could now communicate over long distances with little to no trouble at all. The steam powered train soon developed which let people travel much quicker than by horse. Eventually, the Model T was being manufactured in 1908 and the concept of the assembly line came along with it. One invention led to another idea, and the cycle continued. Technology has advanced quickly ever since, as if a chain reaction. This is how the Industrial Revolution created the modern world we know today. These changes mentioned prove to be more positive than negative.

On our way through the revolution, working conditions became a large scale problem for several employees, especially the youngsters. In a testimony taken of Michael Crabtree, (who worked in a factory at just eight years old) he revealed information of the terrible working conditions at the factory he worked in. He said that he was beaten when he didn’t arrive on time, and that the work was very difficult. According to this interview, it seems like industrialization ruined working conditions for factory workers. However, this is not entirely true. Andre Ure, a 19th century Scottish socialist, mentioned, “Of all the common prejudices that exist with respect to factory labor, none is more unfounded than the one that holds the work to be difficult… The worker has literally nothing to do in general, but occasionally join the thread that breaks or perform other easy tasks.” The fact that Ure thinks factory work is easy, does sound odd considering all of the stereotypical conditions. But, the key point here is the age of the workers. Obviously, if you’re under ten years old and working in an industry like this, the work will seem demanding – notice how it is only the youngsters that are interviewed. Andre Ure was right when he said factory work wasn’t all that terrible, but of course this opinion varies with age. Luckily, the conflict was altogether solved when in 1833; Anthony Ashley Cooper took up the cause of factory reform and passed the Factory Act.

This made it illegal to employ children under the age of nine, and set a maximum eight-hour day for children between the ages of nine and thirteen. Once this act (along other acts controlling urbanization conditions) was in place, burdens of the Industrial Revolution were not to be seen, and only benefit appears coming out from this revolutionary time period into the modern world.

Expanding for the needs of one’s country was considered necessary during the times of imperialism. Nationalism affected a nation’s actions. “Survival of the fittest” is a term that is often used to describe the theme of a novel; however, in this case, it can apply to a nation. If a country proves successful by expanding their territory and bringing in profit as a result of growth, it is important that this nation continues to prosper in spite of future generations of people that will be affected by this. In the words of Cecil Rhodes who quoted David Killingray in his work A Plague of Europeans: Westerns in Africa since the Fifteenth Century, he claimed, “more of the world that we inhabit, the better it is for the human race… I contend that every acre added to our territory provides the birth of more of the English race, who otherwise would not be brought into existence.” This means that expansion is necessary to support a growing and successful future generation of the human race. Although this may mean colonization of other regions, it is in the best interest of dominating countries to do what is best for their people. As successful countries grow, and more people grow into the region, it allows for an increased chance of the newborn to be raised in an exceptional environment, affecting future generations of people based on wealth and lifestyle. This is why territorial and population expansion is a good concept – Rhodes believes that nationalism for one’s country leads to imperialism.

A nation that takes pride in itself will want to expand to spread the “best lifestyle” to other places, while creating humans that wouldn’t have originally been born. This thought affected the modern world today by allowing countries to be more independent. When a country is nationalist, the people tend to think for themselves, which lets other countries such as Africa fly solo with their own beliefs, without getting involved. This is seen when European possession of Africa is compared before and after WWII. Here, Europe being nationalist actually benefitted Africa because more of their lands no longer had to be shared, and Africans could develop their own, individual beliefs instead of other nations having a strong influence on this.

Another aspect of imperialism was colonial enhancement. By this, it is meant that regions of the colonized actually benefitted, if anything, from having a country superior to them. Sheres of Influence in China proves that China was broken up into several imperialistic nations because several countries seeked its natural resources. However, these countries aren’t just using China, acting like parasites; China gets its benefits too, according to O.P. Austin. He stated in The Forum that, “In return, (for tropical produce gathered from temperate colonies) the progressive nations bring to the people of those garden spots the foodstuffs and manufactures they need. Progressive nations develop the territory by building roads, canals, railways, and telegraphs.” Austin is trying to say that colonization is a two way deal, and that the colonies benefit from modern technology just as much as “progressed” nations benefit from the natural resources they have to offer. As a result of colonization, so called “garden spots” benefit from roads, canals, telegraphs, railways, schools and newspaper – all aspects of modernization that they couldn’t have achieved on their own. Since colonization is a direct result imperialism, one can see that colonial enhancement encouraged the spread of modernization into today’s world, and overall benefitted “garden spots” in the long run, with the advantage of technology.

The Industrial Revolution and Imperialism were two large forces that lead to the creation of the modern world, and one must understand how aspects such as working conditions, population expansion and colonial enhancement prove why advancements were beneficial in the long run. Issues with factory conditions were solved to create a healthier working environment; population expansion affected the success of future generations; while colonization must be seen as a mutual benefit, not just the colonizers taking advantage of the colony for their resources. However, the Industrial Revolution and Imperialism were not the only forces in history to have an effect on today’s modern world. While these two aspects represent today’s technology and global relationships, the Renaissance was also a factor that still remains in the presence of today.

The art and literature movements along with the questioning of science over religion have had an effect on today’s world. Imagine where our world would be if we lived our lives strictly by our religion, or if knowledge through literature wasn’t considered much. Humans wouldn’t be anywhere near as knowledgeable in fields of biology, or physics; and instilling themes to remember for life would be tougher without the help of a textbook. Therefore, not only did forces of the Industrial Revolution and Imperialism affect today’s modern world, but further back in history, influences remain present.

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