The end of the 18th century has become the turning point in the technological evolution of society. The First Industrial Revolution dates back to the 1790s, and is interesting in a sense that it was caused by a whole set of social and economic factors and led to the development of the new social order.
It should be noted that prior to the First Industrial Revolution, European society in general (and England, in particular) had displayed the features of pre-industrial economy: the economic surplus was almost zeroed; the economy was stagnant; agriculture was the basic economic activity; broader populations were not given a single opportunity to enjoy the benefits of higher living standards (Deane, 1999). The First Industrial Revolution came as an urgent and unexpected response to the rapid growth of population, introduction of laws in England, and dramatic increase in food production (Hooker, 1996).
New English laws led peasants to leave their lands and to move to cities, thus increasing urban population and leading to the re-distribution of income opportunities. With the emergence of mercantilism and with the pursuit of wealth turning into the major social value in England, more and more people found it necessary to achieve better living standards, which was not possible without technological revolution.
The cotton gin was the first and the critical product of the First Industrial Revolution. Due to mechanization of cotton manufacturing, textiles have slowly ceased to be a matter of family business, turning into a large system of corporate manufacturers. The steam engine is fairly regarded as the second major invention of the industrial revolution. “Along with the cotton industry, the steel industry began to grow by leaps and bounds” (Hooker, 1996).
Mining and coal industries have also undergone a strategic shift. The First Industrial Revolution produced a set of irreversible social effects, including the growing role of the middle class, emergence and growth of cities in their present day form, urbanization, and the dramatic change in living conditions across different population groups. Job specialization and the development of the new occupation groups were also the results of the First Industrial Revolution.
Finally, the creation and use of steam power sped up the expansion of book publishing, further increasing the levels of literacy and reinforcing political participation of masses (Deane, 1999). References Deane, P. (1999). The First Industrial Revolution. Cambridge University Press. Hooker, R. (1996). The industrial revolution. Washington State University. Retrieved June 15, 2009 from http://www. wsu. edu/~dee/ENLIGHT/INDUSTRY. HTM