THE CAUSES OF INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Renaissance and enlightenment : The term renaissance literally means rebirth, it was a socio cultural movement which began in Italy and gradually spreaded all over Europe. It emphasized on the humanist ideas i.e. the ideas found in the classical Greek and Roman thoughts. The term renaissance means a new age that was witnessed in the Europe in 14th century. It brought Europe out of the middle age into the modern times. Renaissance brought about a fundamental change in the attitude of the mankind towards himself and the world in which he lived. This point of view is called humanism. This emphasized upon the power of original thinking over scientific lines and encouraged the human beings to express himself in all the matters concerning his life. Thus renaissance marked an end to the age of blindness and was the begining of the age of rationalism and scientific outlook in Europe. In this context Renaissance gave a great impetus to the study of different sciences and led to various scientific inventions and discoveries which played a large role in industrial revolution.

Geographical Discoveries and Industrial Revolution : The period from the middle of 15th century to the begining of 16th century is known in the history of the world as the age of discovery. During this period many voyages of exploration was undertaken and many new sea routes, new lands and new continents were discovered. The people who undertook these voyages were inspired by the same renaissance spirit that promoted the idea of free thinking and scientific investigation. The geographical discoveries and the contact with the east and the new world led to the growth of trade and commerce both  internal and external in the 16th and 17th centuries, which was termed as commercial revolution. The progress in trade and commerce gave rise to the middle class who became wealthy and prosperous. This influence in the society increased significantly which led to the gradual decline of the feudal lords in the European countries. The geographical discoveries also resulted in the begining of the process of colonialization of Asia, Africa and America. The colonialization helped the European countries to exploit the resources of their colonies for capital, labour, raw material and market which played an important role in industrialization.

Commercial Revolution and Industrialization : Commerce and industry have always been closely related. Sometimes one is ahead and sometimes the other but the one behind always tries to catch up. Begining in about 16th century the world commerce grew and changed so greatly that the term commercial revolution is used to describe it. With the expansion of trade more money was needed, large scale commerce couldn’t be carried by barter. Gold and silver from the new world helped to meet the new demand. Banks and credit system developed. By the end of the 17th century Europe had a large accumulation of capital. The money had to be available before steam engines and machinery could come into use.

Mercantilism and Industrial Revolution : Mercantilism was an economic theory that was dominant in Europe from the 16th and the 18th century. It propounded the idea of government’s regulations over the nation’s economy for the purpose of strengthening the position of the state at the expense of some rival national power. It was the economic counterpart of political absolutism or absolute monarchies. It aimed at accumulation of Bullion through a positive balance of trade. Historically such policies frequently lead to wars and motivated the colonial expansion. Mercantilism encouraged many intraeuropean wars of the period, it was also responsible for the European expansion and throughout the rest of the world until the early 20th century.

Reformation and Industrial Revolution : The reformation was a protest movement against certain orthodox practices of the Roman Catholic Church and an attempt to reform the protestants separated themselves from the Roman Catholic Church and started a new Protestant church in the 16th century. As a result the Christianity in Europe got divided into two groups. Reformation was a major blow to the medieval order. By attacking the monopolistic power of the universal church it not only brought about a great religious change but it also proclaimed the beginning of a new era in Europe. The immediate and the decisive effect of reformation was the transfer of power from church to the state. As a result the monarchies got strengthened. The reformation also strengthened the idea of trade capitalism. This encouraged economic individualism, questioned the restrictions of the catholic church that had been imposed upon commercial activities.

Agricultural Revolution and Industrial Revolution : Agricultural revolution witnessed in the 17th century was characterized by a number of important developments, such as gradual elimination of uncultivated land by continuous rotation of crops, improvement of traditional farm implements and introduction of new tools. It also brought about higher productivity and prosperity. The prosperity in agriculture created a demand for goods and services. It also helped in industrialization by providing a new source of raw materials and labour force from rural areas which could be employed in industries.