industrial revolution

Topics: Slavery, Atlantic slave trade, Industrial Revolution Pages: 2 (476 words) Published: February 12, 2014
In the Industrial Revolution, humans—western Europeans at first—learned to exploit coal and steam energy to mass produce goods with machines and to sell them worldwide. The Industrial Revolution began with production of textiles and eventually spread to other areas of manufacturing, as well as to farming and food processing. In the later nineteenth century, industrialization occurred on a large scale in metallurgical, chemical, and electrical industries. Once begun, it could not be stopped. The Industrial Revolution greatly altered the distribution of wealth and poverty around the world and also engendered new attitudes towards nature and society. A major political transformation was the abolition of slavery. As a result of decades of anti-slavery protests, the British and American governments abolished the slave trade in 1807 and slavery as a legal institution in Britain’s colonies in 1833. The defeat of slavery, however, was incomplete. For one thing, other European states, like Spain, France, and Portugal, failed to follow the British example immediately. Also slavery continued in the United States until its abolition in 1865, after a bitter and protracted civil war. Brazil and Cuba did not abolish slavery until the late 1880s. Serfdom, a different form of unfree labor, was abolished in Russia in 1861. This said, it is important to recognize that slavery was replaced by other forms of coerced labor, such as indentured labor. The Industrial Revolution transformed the ability of humans to reshape the world’s environment. Deforestation increased on a global scale. So too did water pollution from chemical and agricultural discharges into lakes and streams, and atmospheric pollution from the burning of huge amounts of coal. The advent of railroads and steamships also hastened the diffusion of plants and animals to new parts of the world. This was an extension of the Columbian Exchange of biota that occurred in the previous Big Era. The spread of new plants, such...
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