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Were European governments strengthened or weakened by the development of industry in their countries?

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´╗┐Were European governments strengthened or weakened by the development of industry in their countries? The Industrial Revolution, which started in Britain in the 1870?s, was a period during which predominantly agrarian societies in Europe became industrial and urban. It was not a sudden change, but an evolutionary one spreading over a century. In terms of production, Industrialization marked a shift from primitive hand-tools to powered, special-purpose machinery, factories and mass production. The Industrial Revolution occurred mainly in Europe (especially in the most advanced countries, which included Britain and Germany), but later spread out across the globe. It had a profound effect on European governments, in both weakening and strengthening of regimes, and it had far-reaching consequences in the ensuing events on the 19th and 20th centuries. In Britain, the Industrial Revolution was the result of a combination of factors. The political landscape at the time was stable, and the discovery of colonies, namely Africa and America, caused a boom in trade which provided capital to lend to industry. These colonies served as suppliers of raw materials such as gold, silver and diamonds, and also became a marketplace for the manufactured goods. ...read more.


Rich in raw materials, such as the coalfields in the Ruhr, and abundant iron deposits, made Germany to be the foremost coal and chemical producer in the world. With the advances in transportation, including the steamboat, and railway steam locomotives, there was a vast increase in global trade. In this respect, the Industrial Revolution was a great source of income (and therefore strength) for both Britain and Germany. However, for the European governments, the Industrial Revolution also played a part in the weakening of their respective regimes. As industrialization gave rise to mass urbanisation, the distinction between bourgeoisie and the proletariat grew larger as workers were herded into slums. Low wages, poor living and working conditions, long hours, and the spread of diseases such as cholera caused dissent and insubordination of the British workingmen. It reached its peak in the mid-nineteenth century with Chartism, an ideology that called for political reform in the country. The Charter called for several changes to the Parliamentary system that would definitively change the existing British government, namely universal male suffrage, annual parliaments and elections, and social justice. ...read more.


This obliterated the British government?s influence in these countries completely. The Industrial Revolution also paved the way for the development of new social and economic doctrines, which was to have profound effect on Europe. Philosophers like Karl Marx, who embraced the relatively new ideology of socialism, wanted a complete restructuring of society. Disgusted by the exploits of workers brought on by the evil of the Industrial age, he came to the conclusion that the only solution lay in the centralization of industry, the abolition of capitalism and the transfer of power to the working classes. As was seen in the Russian Revolution which ended the governance of the Tsar, and the rise of National Socialism party in Germany which overthrew the Weimar republic, his ideas had far-reaching consequences. In conclusion, the Industrial Revolution played a significant role in the shaping of government in Britain and France. Both countries enjoyed the profits brought by colonization, the trade boom and mass production. But the discontent among the working class led to developments that checked the authoritarian rule of British and German governments. We must take into account, however, that in these two countries the existing regimes were not overthrown, and therefore I believe that the development of industry in their countries strengthened these European governments. ...read more.

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