The Industrial Revolution changed the way goods were made. This “revolution” began in Britain because the population had doubled in the 1700s, providing labor for and markets for products. Britain also had a rich supply of . There were also many merchants in Britain who new how to run businesses. were in demand and new machines were invented to spin and weave cloth. The steam engine, invented by , provided a steady source of power.
The first in Britain opened in 1825. Nicknamed the “iron horse,” the railroad soon linked Europe from Calais, France, al the way to Constantinople, Turkey. In 1807, , an American, built the first successful steamboat. Cyrus McCormick, an American, improved the reaper, a machine used to harvest grain. Another American, , developed a better plow.
New Social Classes
The Industrial Revolution created a large and wealthy . Middle class values led to the political and social reforms of the 1800s. The largest group in an industrialized society was the . These people often lived in such horrible conditions that it was not surprising that working class people died young.
The Labor Movement
Condition in factories led many workers to organize unions. In a strike, union members left their jobs until their demands were met. Many followed the ideas of a German thinker who lived in England. His name was , and his ideas became known as socialism.