8 Jun 2022


Comparison between British Industrial Revolution, American and French Political Revolutions

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Revolution has been imperative to the formation of the contemporary world. It refers to changes that are radical and transformative in nature. It has multiple generic uses in describing phenomena in different revolutions that have taken place in the world. As a historical process, it refers to a violent movement in the planning of the overthrow of an old regime and effecting new changes to the institutions of the society (Bryson & Forth, 2011). The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. On the other hand, the American Revolution was as a colonial revolt that took place between 1765 and 1783. Patriotic Americans in its thirteen colonies engaged with the British in war in alliance with France. They defeated the British and gained independence and would be referred to as the United States of America. The French Revolution was a period of vast upheavals in France and its colonies from 1789 and 1799 propagated by Napoleon. During the overthrowing of the monarchical government, violence ensued and Napoleon introduced his principles in Western Europe conquered areas as his empire thrived. 

Beginning with the British Industrial Revolution, major developments made during this revolution were in terms of machinery and agricultural technology. These innovations included `the invention of agricultural machinery, textile advancements, steam power technology and the iron making advancements (McKay & Crowston, 2016). Agricultural machinery such as the milling machine, the cylinder boring machine, and the screw-cutting lathe were invented during this period. They increased agricultural production as they were effective. Developments in textiles were marked by mechanization in cotton spinning using steam power. Cotton weaving was made fast and efficient through machinery use. The efficiency of steam engines was upgraded by reducing fuel consumption by one-fifth. Rotatory steam engines were also invented replacing the previous stationery steam machinery especially after 1800. Coke was substituted with charcoal that lowered fuel consumption thus saving on production costs. Nonetheless, cast iron replaced pig iron as it was energy conserving in the iron cylinder furnaces. Effects of the Industrial revolution cut across the economy and social institutions in Britain. Economically, it led to the rise of a factory system and urbanization. Socially, the revolution led to a massive increase in British population due to increased food consumption and led to rise in child labor (Trinder, 2013). 

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American Revolution was quite a historical landmark in the American quest for independence from the British. Major inventions made during this revolutionary war were the Turtle Submarine in 1776, the Swivel Chair in 1776 and the Flat Boat in 1782 (McKay & Crowston, 2016). The Turtle Submarine was used by the American Patriots sink British ships anchored in the harbor at New York. Developed by Thomas Jefferson, the Swivel Chair was made in a way that it could rotate on its base. It symbolized the declaration of the Patriot’s independence. War mogul, Jacob Yoder created the flatboat which was a war boat which could easily navigate on the waters of the land. The American Revolution had social, political and economic effects. The 1783 treaty of Paris ended the revolution and this led to a massive spread of liberty. Consequently, revolutions against dictatorial and infamous leadership such as in France, Poland and Ireland emerged. Social institutions were affected by the revolution. It separated the colonies from England and intensified alliances with other European nations. A lot of African American slaves were killed during their liberation. Women status and influence was increased through efforts by Abigail Adams in upholding the role of women in the war. Economically, trade with the American nation from the British colonies slowed. Businesses were affected by the war and most of them run into debt. However, weapon businesses thrived during that time as weapons were being traded massively to aid the war men (Taylor, 2017). 

Finally, during the French Political Revolution, major inventions and developments were made. Napoleon coined several doctrines so as to effectively overthrow the monarchical system and establish his empire. These inventions and developments included the guillotine execution principle, the Napoleonic Code, and the metric system. Guillotine execution was a Principle invention used in the executions during the reign of terror (McKay & Crowston, 2016). The Guillotine apparatus was used in the beheading of those who caused terror to Napoleon Empire. A Napoleonic code was a French legal code by Napoleon meant to modernize France through legal forms. The metric system was a uniform measurement standard proposed by Napoleon. The French Revolution had far-reaching effects on the Western Society. First, an agreement made between Pope Pius VII and Napoleon intensified the activities of Christianity in the Roman Catholic Church in Europe. The influential status of the church was regained in Europe. Next, massive nationalism emerged as the major result of the Revolution in across Europe. Napoleon gained heroic status in France. This influence was massive in the German states where it was inspired by the French example. Lastly, French emigration was overwhelming during the revolution. A large number of French citizens migrated from France and settled in Britain, Russia, and Germany. Fewer citizens opted to settle in the United States (Esdaile, 2018). 


Bryson, P., & Forth, J. (2011). Evolution or revolution? European Journal of Industrial Relations, 17 (2), 171-187. 

Esdaile, C. J. (2018). The Wars of the French Revolution: 1792–1801. Abingdon: Routledge Publishers. 

Taylor, A. (2017). American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804. New York, New York: W. W. Norton & Company. 

Trinder, B. (2013). Britain's Industrial Revolution: The Making of a Manufacturing People, 1700-1870. Carnegie, Pennysylvania: Carnegie Publishing Limited. 

McKay, J. P., & Crowston, C. H. (2016). A History of Western Society, Concise Edition (Vol. 2). New York, New York: Berdford Publishers. 

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