Revolutionary Movement

Why did the British Industrial Revolution take place? 

Population growth:

If the population increases then there will be a higher demand for goods and services. It also means there will be more people to work in different factories

Britain’s overseas trade was increasing:

Since Britain had many colonies in 1750, merchants had numerous opportunities to trade overseas. Because of this, many merchants became rich enough to start new businesses. The British Empire also provided a good source of both raw materials and markets for British goods. Ex- cotton was obtained from India, then manufactured cotton goods were sold back to India

Improvement in agriculture:

Because of improvements in agriculture, farmers could produce increased amounts of food. This was good because there was enough food to feed growing populations. Also, farmers were paid more, so they could spend on goods produced in my new industries

Improvements in transportation:

Transportation became easier mainly due to improvements in roads, rivers, and buildings of canals. It allowed raw materials ex- coal and iron to be moved more easily around the country, which reduced costs. It also allowed goods to be transported to a market. Also, greatly improved communication ex- letters, orders for goods, new ideas

Britain had entrepreneurs and inventors:

Britain had individuals who were prepared to invest in new ventures. There was also an increased interest in science and technology, therefore, many new inventions were made in the textile and the iron industries. These inventions enabled manufacturers to improve the industry

Britain had plenty of raw materials:

Britain had the raw materials to start the revolution. It had large quantities of iron which was needed for making machines and railways. It also had coal which was used to drive the steam engines in the factories.

Britain was at peace:

Due to the stable political situation and absence of war, it allowed Britain to pursue economic activities which allowed trade to flourish between Britain and its colonies. 

The Impact of the British Industrialization 

Social Changes 

Wealth was now available to groups of people; a middle class developed. Many people who owned small businesses made more money and benefited from lower prices of manufactured goods. There was a wider range of food available because of railways. Skilled workers could also earn good money as there was a demand for new skilled workers e.g.: engine drivers. However, unskilled workers could lose jobs overnight, and they had to cope with appalling working and living conditions

Political Changes

Many people believed the existing system no longer represented the needs of the middle and working classes. There was a much larger middle class which, by 1830 was paying as much tax as landowners but couldn’t vote. Since the working class wasn’t represented in Parliament, in 1822 a Reform Act was passed which increased the number of people who could vote. It also gave more representation to the industrial towns. 

However, a lot of men and women still couldn’t vote, so the working people started a new movement, to present to Parliament, asking for reform (people who supported these points were called Chartists) In 1848 in London, there was a rally with a petition with more than 5 million signatures. But most turned out to be forgeries. 

Religious Change

Methodism was a religious movement that broke away from the Church of England and gained a lot of followers in the new industrial towns. The Catholic population also increased due to the immigrants that came from Ireland that came to work in the coal mines and factories. 

Ideological Changes 

Due to the revolution, there was an early establishment of feminist movements. Socialist values were also emerging as workers began to protest and fight for more equal rights. This was classic liberalism since it included the principles of laissez-faire capitalism while also promoting basic individual rights. 

Technological Changes

New uses of raw materials such as iron and steel. New energy sources including both fuels and motive power, such as coal, the steam engine, electricity, petroleum, and the internal-combustion engine. The invention of new machines Ex: the spinning jenny and the power loom that allowed increased production with lower man-hours. Important developments in transportation including the steam locomotive & steamship,

Economic changes

Changed economies based on agriculture and handicrafts into economies based on mechanized manufacturing, and the factory system. New machines, new power sources, and new ways of organizing work made existing industries more efficient. Has improved productivity and allowed for mass production

Gender Changes

Many women who did not belong to wealthy families would often be forced to enter the workforce to provide for their families. As the manufacturing industries began to grow, factory owners would take advantage of these low salaries amongst women. Even after the Great Reform Act 1832, women were still excluded from voting in Parliamentary elections

Race Changes

Just like before the revolution, many people living in Britain were white. Moreover, most people of the higher class were mainly white.

Why did the Japanese Industrial Revolution take place? 

It mainly took place because of the outdated feudal system.

In theory, the emperor ruled Japan

The most senior soldier in Japan. This position was hereditary

A feudal lord who ruled separate provinces (han)

Known as the warrior class. Had certain privileges and had to live by a certain code of behavior (bushido)

The majority of the population were peasants and mainly cultivated rice. However, they were kept in poverty with high taxes.

Because of their wealth, they were often more influential than higher classes. They were rapidly growing in numbers and power


They did dirty jobs in society. Ex: dig & filling cesspits & burying the dead

What external factors caused the industrial revolution

Due to America’s interest in Japan, Japan signed the 1854 Treaty of Kanagawa. This treaty was quickly followed by other treaties. (with Britain in October 1854, Russia in February 1855, and the Netherlands in 1855) Since most of these treaties were unequal, it led to a massive impact on Japan. 

Because of the weakness of the Shogun in allowing the treaties to occur, In 1868 Emperor Meiji decided to take over all power of the shogun. In 1871 a delegation was sent to the West to renegotiate the unequal treaties, but it was declined. 

However, the delegation’s leader understood that Britain had become stronger through industrialization and believed Japan could as well. Japan undertook a program of modernization which in 30 years, the country was transformed from a semi-feudal state into one capable of winning a war against a European country

What were the Meiji Reforms 

Abolition of the feudal system 

Japan’s new rulers understood they needed to break up the power of the daimyo and samurai and strengthen the power of the central government. The first abolished the domains and privileges of the daimyo. As the daimyo didn’t have to pay the samurai anymore, many became wealthier after the reform. 

Also, many of the daimyos became local governors over their former territories. The government also abolished the privileges of the samurai which led to many who struggled to find a new role in society. 

Political reforms: 

Though the Meiji Emperor announced the Charter Oath (a demonstration of the new government’s intention to reform and modernize Japan) Japan was not a democracy. It was ruled by elites (most powerful and wealthy).

However, at the end of the 19th century, the government prepared for a new constitution. Japan then set its goal of a constitutional monarchy through numerous stages. Though Japan was still governed by a small group of leaders called the genro. 

Economic reforms:

When Japan opened up to the West it was mainly an agricultural economy but by 1920 less than half the population was peasants or fishermen. The decline of people working in agriculture was mainly due to the increase in those employed in industry, trade, and finance. Many factories opened due to investment from the government. They developed and ran coal mines, cement works, shipbuilding yards, and textile mills. 

Moreover, since the first silk mill opened in 1870, the production of silk had multiplied 5 times in 25 years and the export of silk had helped pay for imports of raw materials. 

Industrialization had led to the expansion of domestic and foreign trade. The bulldog of merchant ships and banks helped establish economic growth. Transportation and communications had also developed. 

In 1869, the first telegraph was built and in 1870, work began on Japan’s first railway. However, the government could afford to keep investing in industries, so they had to sell off many of its factories to rich families called zaibatsu 

Social reforms:

The Japanese adopted many Western customs such as clothes and accessories. They began to use the Western calendar in 1872 and even adopted a metric system. The new government also made education compulsory for 4 years in 1872. Western knowledge was taught alongside Japanese beliefs and skills. Children were brought up with a strong sense of patriotism and reverence for the Emperor. 

Military Reforms:

The Meiji decided to copy Western military styles. Their navy was modeled on that of the British. The army was also initially modeled on the French but later adopted methods from the Germans. A new imperial Army was formed in 1872 and were well-trained

What was the impact of Industrialization? 

In Japan, the consequences of the Meiji reforms, there were many uprisings in the countryside. The peasants mainly revolted against tax payment because no taxes had to be paid in cash instead of rice. If there had been a bad season or the corp yield was low, peasants couldn’t pay off their debt leading them to borrow money or sell their land to find jobs in the cities. 

Whereas, in Britain urban workers suffered as they lived in unsanitary slum housing. These diseases were commonly spread through overcrowded dwellings and cramped factories. There were also grim working conditions and long hours for very little pay. Discipline was also harsh with heavy fines for arriving late or opening a window.