The Industrial Revolution in England

Classic Pamphlet

By R. M. Hartwell, published 27th June 2010

An Introduction

Revolutions of the magnitude of the industrial revolution in England provoke historical controversy: such a revolution is a major discontinuity which a profession more skilled in explaining small changes finds difficult to understand. A revolution that touches a whole society is so diffuse that its significant events are difficult to identify: the causes, course and consequences, immediate and long-term, are so complex, and involve so many people in such different ways, that it tends to be interpreted , not in the light of objective analysis, but as the support of some interest or ideology.

On the causes of the industrial revolution: What was the prime mover, or what complex of movers was responsible? Agricultural revolution? Population growth? Improved technology? Increasing trade? Capital accumulation? All these have their supporters. Or must the explanation be sought in non-economic forces?

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