Ch 17 Strayer Nave 2e Lecture

Topics: United States, Middle class, Industrial Revolution Pages: 37 (3555 words) Published: March 22, 2015
Robert W. Strayer

Ways of the World: A Brief Global
History with Sources
Second Edition
Chapter 17
Revolutions of Industrialization,

Copyright © 2013 by Bedford/St. Martin’s

I. Explaining the Industrial Revolution
A. Why Europe?
1. Technology, science, and economics elsewhere: When looking at the preindustrial world, many would not see an inherent advantage for Europe. China arguably had the world’s most impressive technology, and India and the Islamic world had many noteworthy accomplishments. Scientific and intellectual advances had impressed European travelers to the various Asian empires. These societies were also enjoying strong commercial activity and long-distance trade networks that were noteworthy for both their volume and age. Thus, Europe was not predestined for power.

2. Competition within Europe: The inability to unite Europe in the millennium after the collapse of the Roman Empire was a long-term asset for European growth. With numerous smaller states locked in centuries of competition, a culture of constantly looking for an edge over one’s rivals characterized European politics. This would lead to state support for innovation. In contrast, the Ottoman, Mughal, Safavid, and Chinese empires were much larger and (aside from the OttomanSafavid feud over Shi’a and Sunni interpenetrations of Islam) not locked in a cycle of long-term competitive struggle.

3. State-merchant alliances: As these competitive states were fairly young and grew out of the economic collapse of the post-Roman world, they were constantly trying to find new and secure sources of state revenue. Thus, the state frequently developed alliances with merchant groups who promised taxable income streams in return for state support, monopolies, and military aid.

I. Explaining the Industrial Revolution
A. Why Europe?
4. Competition with Asian imports: Once Europeans rounded the southern tip of Africa and established a direct trade connection with India and China, merchants began to import the less-expensive and superior-quality textiles, porcelains, and other manufactured products of the industrious Chinese and Indian economies. As European consumers wanted these cheaper but better-quality goods, the imports threatened domestic production. Europeans, in order to compete, began to experiment with labor- and cost-saving devices, creating a culture of innovation.

5. The American windfall: silver, sugar, slaves, and more: Europeans were fortunate to be close to the newly discovered Americas, where the Great Dying gave them access to silver and a variety of food supplies and timber, as well as new land to develop slave-run sugar plantations. This windfall of bullion, calories, and profits from America provided an essential boost in Europe’s economic competition with the Asian economies.

I. Explaining the Industrial Revolution
B. Why Britain?
1. Colonies, commercial society, and political security: Although the industrial revolution centered on Britain, it was not planned and it unfolded in a rather spontaneous manner. Many would not have predicted the rainy northern island kingdom to become a world power, but Britain did enjoy a few advantages, most of which only became clear over time. Obviously, possessing a variety of American colonies provided access to the American windfall of food, profits, and calories, but Spain also had a large colonial empire and was very late to industrialize. Importantly, Britain had a commercial society where landowners had pushed small tenant farmers out in favor of enclosed fields for livestock, urban merchants thrived, and aristocrats engaged in money-making entrepreneurial enterprises (unlike the French and Spanish nobility who loathed merchant culture). On top of this, the British were religiously tolerant, welcoming many refugees from the continent, and enjoyed a stable political system and rule of the law as established by legal precedents. In such a political environment,...
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