An Introduction to the Industrial Revolution
We're going to look at the consequences of this revolution first and then you'll see how important it is to understand first of all. Here's a definition of the industrial revolution. It's the use of steam engines to produce power instead of the ways going back thousands of years wind water and muscle and the second definition of the industrial revolution is it's the rapid social change that flows from that introductory machine in other words. The steam engine is quite literal definition of the industrial revolution but what were the consequences consequences of using the steam engine instead of wind water and muscle rapid social change was the answer the industrial revolution's chief product product was a world in constant change mainly in the areas of transportation and communications think about it this way at the beginning of the nineteenth century that is the eighteen hundreds the army of Napoleon did not move faster really then the armies of Julius Caesar Two thousand years earlier so in terms of transportation you couldn't get from Point A. Point B. Any faster Mr in one thousand nine hundred then you could in say five hundred. BC however by the end of the eighteen hundreds it was possible to go around the world in eighty days which was of course the title of Jules Verne's famous novel and you could send Semaphore. I four messages in a flash from one continent to another so that gives you a sense of the rapid changes in technology to just use one example news in eighteen hundred was very slow and very selective. It was only available to the rich in order to buy a newspaper. You had to have enough money to buy a newspaper which was certainly not cheap and news production production was quite slow and in fact the the whole concept of news did not exist until the industrial revolution brought it into existence in order to have news. You have to have change in society but if people were living in eighteen hundred you're pretty much the way they lived in say five hundred they would not be expecting to read much in a newspaper. Even if they could afford one they couldn't afford one but they didn't even have the concept of news. News requires a society that changes and the society never really changed changed not for the common people that's why when we study history we tend to study kings and generals and statesmen and what they do because at the level of the common people there's not much historical change to talk about so there was no concept of news news but by the eighteen thirty s and eighteen forties thanks to the industrial revolution which started in England news production began to increase and also thanks to the Industrial Revolution Printing presses were produced which were so advanced that they could produce a newspaper for only a penny and for example in eighteen thirty two. You have the first Penny newspaper The New York Sun in the United States of America now that was going to revolutionize politics because for the first time relatively poor people could afford to buy a newspaper for only a penny and once they could read the news once they purchase it. They could read it and once they could read it. They knew what was going on and then it became a factor in politics. newspaper editors would have to pay attention to the opinions of the poor whereas before the poor never had an opinion because they could not know what was going on and in the nineteenth century in Europe and America newspaper Editors Editors Editors were the political kingmakers who could select candidates and mobilize people to support them so the industrial revolution created the technology that gave people a reason to look for news and the means to look for the news because of the relatively cheap cost of the printing press and the ability to turn out a newspaper for just a penny any so this is one way in which the industrial revolution was going to revolutionize society in the next podcast. We're going to be looking at the first country to experience an industrial revolution.