The Industrial Revolution Outside the West

PrecisThe main idea of The Industrial Revolution Outside the West by Peter Stearns highlighted that the attempts made by Russia, India and Egypt to imitate industrialization in the West, failed to prompt authentic and functioning industrial revolutions.These countries began to industrialize causing them to profit less than if they continued supporting their agricultural economy and lifestyles. In this article, the author discusses how Russia, India, and Egypt or the Ottomans attempted to industrialize and how they were ultimately unsuccessful. Russia’s attempt to industrialize provided proof as to why many countries could not replicate Britain’s industrialization.

Russia had been part of Europe’s political and economic network since 1700.

Russia also had close cultural connections with much of western Europe as they shared the same scientific advancements and artistic styles. They also had experience in reproducing Western technology such as shipbuilding and the science and technology concerned with the properties of metals, their production and purification. Their close association explains why Russia began to industrialize.

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Russia began to industrialize by establishing railroads and building cotton, textile and steel factories. Russian imports increased quickly and the cotton industry grew. Westerners benefitted from this as they earned great profit from taxes in this largely agricultural country. Russia did not truly industrialize because the nation still remained extremely agricultural and the manufacturing of goods had little impact.

Serfdom also forced Russians to stay on their land and it reduced their incentive for even agricultural production. Their exports of raw materials such as timber, hemp and grain approximately paid for their imports of machinery and factory made goods.

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Peter the Great attempted to keep the Russian military up to par with Western levels but, in the Crimean War of 1854, Russia lost to the British and French. The Russian railroads and low quality uniforms and guns did not match up with the French and British steamships and higher quality weapons and uniforms. In the end, Russia recovered from their defeat and set some reforms in place such as the abolition of serfdom. The change in these areas were slow but it showed the Russian’s commitment to industrialization.In India, the industrial revolution was inspired due to British colonial rule. The Tagores, a Hindu Brahman family fixed close relations with many British administrators.

They sponsored new colleges, research centers and banks. Dwarkanath Tagore also brought up many traditional manufacturing operations. His main idea was a British-Indian economic and cultural collaboration that would industrialize India. He joined with British capitalists to develop sugar refineries, and textile factories, with equipment imported from Britain. The attempt at industrialization brought little to no results. The launch of companies led to the decline of traditional textiles being sold. This stripped villagers of their profits and work and created a tense relation between the Indians and the British. Those attitudes made Tagore’s goal of British and Indian collaboration impossible. Eventually, the colonial government developed railroads but it did not lead to industrialization, instead it led to the extension of agriculture and Britain’s sales to India.

The manufacturing continued to shrink as it had no results and there was no industrial revolution in India.In Egypt, industrialization was more elaborate because the obtained independence from European colonialism. They were very slow to recognize the growth in the West, but they did import medicine. In the Ottoman government, they imported a printing press from Europe and discussed Western style training for their military. Egypt finally understood Europe’s superiority when a French force briefly seized them. Later, Muhammad Ali sponsored many changes in Egypt by emulating the Western areas including a new tax system and schooling. He also encouraged agricultural production with irrigation systems and imported many elements of the industrial revolution in the West.

Ali brought in English machinery and technicians to build sugar refineries, textile factories, paper mills and weapon shops. His ideas worked well but the overall industrialization failed. This was due to the fact that Egyptian factories could not compete with European imports. The growing number of cash crops only supported its armies, and a new group of landlords and merchants. It also showed how Egypt was dependent on other countries in the economy. Egypt’s attempt to change their economy without industrializing locked peasants into the control of landlords and made it very difficult to transform. In the Ottoman government, they set up some factories and imported equipment from Europe to manufacture goods as well. They established a postal system, telegraph system and steamships, but these changes only increased the role of European traders in the Ottoman economy.

Once again, no transformation occurred as they relied on the export of cash crops to pay for necessary manufactured imports from Europe.The author, Peter Stearns, wrote this passage to emphasize that industrialization did take place in areas other than Europe and the United States, though it was not successful. The author explained conditions did not permit industrialization. He said industrialization was not successful because the countries were agriculturally based and dependent on Western and European machines. They did not have the primary structure for an industrialized nation. His tone was formal, educated and slightly biased as his statements analyzed industrialization in the different regions. The purpose of his passage was to educate and inform the reader.

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The Industrial Revolution Outside the West. (2022, Jan 04). Retrieved from

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