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European Transformation

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European Transformation

"The growth of commerce and industry led to the technological advances, which in turn stimulated, and were stimulated by science." (p. 403) The European scientific revolution was fueled by the blending of "liberal" and "servile" arts, in other words, science and technology. Because of the European expansion, taking place throughout the world, new commerce and industries were advancing, creating the need for new technology and science. The theories and inventions that Copernicus, Galileo and Newtown provided were the fist major advances during the scientific revolution, and perhaps were the most profound.

The European expansion during the 15th and 16th centuries lead to major economic expansion throughout Europe and the newly established European colonies throughout the world. This economic growth, also called the commercial revolution, helped to fuel the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century by "Providing large and expanding markets for European industries" (p. 409) The commercial revolution created the need for new technology to meet the demands of the new and ever changing markets created by the European expansion. The commercial revolution also "Contributed the large amounts of capital necessary to finance the construction of factories and machines for the industrial revolution." (p. 409)

The industrial revolution began in the late eighteenth century with the invention of the steam engine by James Watt. Thanks to the steam engine, people were now able to harness the power needed to run pumps, locomotives and eventually machines used in factories. "It (the steam engine) provided a means for harnessing and utilizing heat energy to furnish driving power for machines." (p. 412)

The British quickly moved to the forefront of the industrial revolution due to their investment in the coal and iron industries. England was also at the forefront of modern banking due to the large amounts of profit from commerce that the British experienced. In addition to the steam engine, some of the most notable British inventions in the late eighteenth century were the new spinning machines that revolutionized the textile industry. As a result of the technological advances of the steam engine and cotton machines, increasing amount of steel, coal and iron were now needed to fuel the new machines largely in use by the beginning of the nineteenth century. The various improvements made in mining and metallurgy contributed to the British becoming the world leader in producing coal and iron.

Improvements in communication and transportation became apparent in the nineteenth century due to the expansion of the textile, mining and metallurgy industries. By the middle of the nineteenth century, communication was transformed by the invention of the electronic telegraph and the transatlantic cable, which "Established instant communication between the old and new worlds." (p. 413) Transportation was also transformed by canal and road building, as well as the introduction of locomotives and steamboats.

The newly independent United States was the "Pioneer in developing mass-production techniques" (p. 413), which revolutionized industry throughout the modern world. The assembly line, crafted by Henry Ford, as well as advanced mechanical devices exemplified by the steel industry lead to mass production of goods that was previously unfathomable.

The industrial revolution had several effects on Europe including: increased population, urbanization, increased wealth, consumerism and new roles for women. Increased productivity in agriculture, as well as advances in medical science, led to a population boom throughout Europe, and this, in part lead to the urbanization European cities. The industrial revolution also affected social classes and wealth. An overall improvement in wages and standards of living could be seen across economic levels by second half of the nineteenth century. Perhaps one of the biggest transformations among social classes were the new roles for women created by the industrial revolution. Women, like never before, were now part of the working class, working in factories and leaving their housework behind. "The general effect was to force women out of the family economy in which they had lived and worked into a new wage economy outside the household." (p. 420) The effects of the industrial revolution were not limited to Europe; in fact the population growth and transportation advances of the industrial revolution fueled the mass European migration to the United States in the mid nineteenth century.

The political revolutions of Europe were just as influential in European world domination as the scientific and industrial revolutions were. Liberalism, socialism and nationalism were the underlying ideologies of the European political revolution.

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