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The Industrial Revolution

At the beginning of George Ill's reign in 1760 England was mainly an agricultural country — the manufactures, which had appeared by that time, were often placed in small towns and villages. The second part of the 18th century saw the change of England from mainly agricultural to a great manufacturing country.

There were some reasons for amazing economic and industrial growth that made Britain the most developed country of the period:

1.Accumulation of tremendous wealth in the country as a result of colonial warfare and expansion. The victories in the Seven Years War gave Britain huge profits; only the profits of the East India Company were more than 21 million pounds.

2.The development of the Bank of England provided support for the people who wanted to lend or borrow money for business purposes. Private banks were started even in small towns. Now the manufactures had a means to support their business.

3.The enclosure movement in the country led to the impoverishment of peasants, who had to leave their villages and migrate to the towns in search of new jobs. They created necessary labour supply for the Industrial Revolution.

4.The transformation of agriculture increased the profits of landlords, who invested their money into industry either through banks or directly through the stock market.

5.The growth of wealth provided big investments into engineering science, which led to the major inventions of the 18th and 19th centuries — spinning weaving machines and the most important invention — a new type of steam engine by James Watt.

6.The growth of population and colonies provided a necessary market for Jbritish goods, which were exported to different parts of the world.

T e Industrial Revolution changed English life — the small manu-factu ing towns developed into industrial centres, the transport system was improved and in the 19th century the first railway was built. The Industrial Revolution changed all the English society — political power moved from the landed to the manufacturing classes. The new class appeared in society — the class of industrial workers or "operatives" as they were called.

"Operatives" replaced earlier handworkers, who were losing their jobs because of new inventions. It was a difficult period for many of handworkers, so at the end of the 18* century a movement known as Luddism (after the name of its leader Ned Lud) began. The weavers gathered in great numbers and began to destroy the looms. The movement reached its peak at the beginning of the 19th century. The government severely opposed this movement; many of the local leaders were executed.

Later the workers began to unite into groups to defend their economic rights. These were the first organisations of the emerging working class, which later in the 19th century formed the basis of the trade union movement in the country.



Task 5.Speak about the forces that led to the Industrial Revolution in Britain using the following scheme. Use the conjunctions when, because, after, so etc.


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