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Industrial Revolution Term Papers
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The industrial revolution is one of the most far- reaching historical phenomena man has encountered. The technology advances in Europe not only resulted in the inventions of the printing press and the steam engine; it has also forged distinct changes in third world development. Peter N. Stearns cites “the breadth of its development in different places at different times” as a main reason the industrial revolution is a complex historical period. In order to understand the process of global development, we must fully understand the impact of the industrial revolution in different regions must be assessed.
This paper will discuss the industrial revolution in relation to the colonization of the third world. In Africa, technological advances insured that European powers would establish economic and political control. In Asia, western influence led to economically focused urban development. Latin American colonialism was spearheaded by the demand for raw materials increased by the industrial revolution in Europe.
Two elements of the industrial revolution greatly affected third world colonization. The industrial revolution invigorated colonialism by providing the technology to make it happen and the industrial fervor inspiring Europeans to reach outward for profit. MacGregor Laird, a prominent steamship builder, illustrates both of these elements when he explained why he intended to open the African interior with steamships:
…to create new and extensive markets for our manufactured goods, and fresh sources whence to draw our supplies…to raise [our] fellow creatures form their present degraded, denationalized and demoralized state...
Complete control of Africa was impeded by the inability of explorers to accomplish large-scale penetration of the interior. Technological advances developed during the industrial revolution allowed Europeans to conquer such impediments and establish imperial control. Specifically, the development of the steamship, quinine and breech-loading gun allowed European powers to explore and devastate the existing power structures.
The earliest technological advancement used in Africa was the steamship. The large European men-of-war were sufficient to transport Europeans to the far continents, and facilitated attacks on coastal centers. However, their large size left them vulnerable to grounding in shallow river waters. The smaller steamship was the only ship that could travel the inland waterways. The development of the smaller, faster steamship provided the vehicle for penetration.
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