Sample History Essay on Age of Industrialization and Imperialism

Age of Industrialization and Imperialism

The industrial revolution and Imperialism are highly correlated. Imperialism was as a consequence of the changes that came with the industrial revolution. First, the industrial revolution brought about advancements in production. Goods that had been produced on a small scale could now be produced on a larger scale. The home markets were saturated, and the industry owners needed new markets for their products. The untapped markets of Africa and Asia provided a good market for these products, and hence the imperialists invaded Africa and Asia in search of new markets.

The industrial revolution was brought about by the abundance of cheap labor. Most of the workers in the industries were poor farmers who were forced out of their homes by due to land shortages. The laborers were paid poorly, the working conditions were deteriorating, and child labor and exploitation rampant(Vries 258). The trend, however, changed with the formation of trade unions, riots in industries and implementation of regulations for theprotection of factory workers. Without the labor abundance they were used to; industrialists resorted to imperialism to search for new workers. The workers in both the home countries and Africa had the same conditions. There was inadequate housing, social dislocation, child labor, worker exploitation, and new extremes of poverty.

Imperialism was also fuelled by the advancements in technology emanating from the industrial revolution. The invention of the steam engine, larger steamships, and the railroad system meant that Europeans could move faster and carry the equipment and people required to colonize. Furthermore, the advancement in weaponry and machine guns meant that small units of Europeans could engage larger groups of opponents and defeat them. Advances in medical research also meant that colonizers could survive disease rampant in Africa and Asia.

Both the industrial revolution and imperialism were by political unrest, conflict, and inequity. In the home countries, workers staged mass riots to decry the poor working conditions and pay(Hobsbawm 25-27). In Asia and Africa, rebellions by the natives against white oppression were the order of the day. Conflict between workers and industrialists, and between natives and European settlers were also rife. There was also a disparity in wealth between the industry owners and laborers both abroad and at home. Dislocation from homes for African and Asian natives to create farms for settlers was the same as the mass movement offarm workers in European nations to the industrial centers.

The people adversely affected by the industrial revolution and imperialism need to realize that the reasons for the movements were capitalistic in nature. The same capitalism present during the movements is exhibited in today’s industries. The wealthy continue being richer while the poor people continue being exploited. In order for those affected to come to terms with the two movements, there is a need to lobby for betterworking conditions and the institution of frameworks geared to protecting the rights of workers and humanity. Those affected by the two movements can best come to terms with the negativities they faced by aiding future generations of people from experiencing the adverse effects of capitalism and imperialism.

Even though many people were affected by the two movements, they were allowed to continue for profit motives. Most of the policy-makers were also the industry owners who considered the poor and frail expendable. Social Darwinism, which was a prevalent idea at the time, helped justify the social ills. The people believed that society thrived by exploiting and eliminating the weak people from society. Such was the case with Africans and Indians who were deemed inferior to Europeans. Social Darwinism and capitalism were thus used as justifications for the social ills being met on the ‘inferior’ people.

Works Cited

Hobsbawm, E.C. Industry and Empire. New York: Pantheon Books, 1968. Document.

Vries, Jan De. “The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution.” Journal of Economic History 54.2 (1994): 249-270. Print.