Chapter4WRL2842.tmp - Chapter 4 Industrialization...

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Chapter 4 Industrialization Industrialization began first in Britain for a number of reasons, among them the presence there of a constitutional monarchy, a representative form of government, a legal system that applied equally to all adult white men, the absence of impediments to the free movement of goods, capital, and labor, and a social system that allowed for mobility across ranks. Industrialization on the continent came later, awaiting the political, legal, and economic reforms instituted by the French revolution and carried to other countries by Napoleon's armies. A constitution and the rule of law, in particular, gave entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and investors confidence that contracts entered into would not be abrogated by an arbitrary ruler. Reforms abolishing privileges that stood in the way of the free movement of people, goods, and capital encouraged new forms of manufacturing and facilitated the spread of industrialization, first in western Europe, and than across central and eastern Europe, and finally into Russia. Belgium and France began to industrialize in the 1820s and 1830s. Many of the German states took a bit longer, starting their industrialization in the 1840s and 1850s. Italy, Austria, and Spain embarked upon industrialization in the 1870s; Russia didn’t begin to industrialize until the 1890s. The timing in each area affected the nature and impact of economic change: the later a country industrialized, the more important was the heavy industrial sector. Industrialization in Britain, Belgium, and France took place first in light industry, largely textile manufacturing, and only gradually moved into heavy industry with the development of the railroad. Lighter manufacturing required less capital, which meant that relatively small family concerns could more readily find opportunities for investment and ownership. In Germany, eastern and southern Europe, and Russia, the railroad preceded industrialization, generating an enormous market for coal and iron and making heavy industry important right away. Heavy industrial concerns required huge amounts of capital, which individual businessmen and –women could not usually amass. Governments played a larger role in industrial growth in the German states and Russia, for example, because the absence of a large pre-industrial bourgeoisie, such as existed in the west, meant that private capital could not be mobilized. Industrialization was less a spontaneous development than in the western countries and had to be encouraged and stimulated by governments; this meant that when workers undertook factory labor, they had had virtually no time to adapt to the changes it wrought in their lives, unlike in England and France, where the changes were slow and gradual. For central European and Russian workers, industrialization proved far more difficult to
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This note was uploaded on 03/18/2009 for the course HIST 1020 taught by Professor Vavara during the Fall '07 term at Colorado.

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Chapter4WRL2842.tmp - Chapter 4 Industrialization...

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