Industrial Revolution Essay Example


Industrialization started in Britain, which helped lead to it's a great deal of wealth and power. Industrialization brought better means of transportation such as steamship and railroads. The more efficient and faster means of travel then lead to the imperialism of Britain to Africa and East Asia. As Britain took control of the new land, Britain brought its own ideas and technology. The railroads affected Britain’s empire-building greatly throughout Africa and East Asia. The railroads were used to help empires like the Qing and Ottoman keep a hold of their power. Railroads also helped empires expand and strengthen economically.

Railroad building was heavily relied on by empires that were struggling to unify power within and keep out the foreign influence. From the point of view of Shen Baozhen, a Qing dynasty advocate for domestic reforms and a Qing official, wrote a speech on why building railroads would be good for China towards a Qing court. Shen warned the other officials that the westerners could take hold of power if they would have been able to build the railroads. Baozhen told the Qing court that if they had the foreigner build the railroads that they would disrespect people’s homes and land. He said that without the westerners building the railroads they would start to use their power in China. This was written shortly after the Opium Wars where the Qing empire lost power and land to Europeans. (doc 2)  The Chinese eventually started to try and industrialize to get rid of foreign influence but were unsuccessful till 1911. Similar to the Qing dynasty, the Ottoman Empire was in consideration of building railroads from Damascus to Mecca. The writer of this proposal didn’t want the westerners to build the railroads but the Muslims of the empire. The purpose of the proposal was to have a Muslim made mean of transportation so that they wouldn’t have to deal with foreigners who would disrespect them. The railroads were a good idea for the caliphate because they would help raise the status of the Ottoman Sultan within the Muslim world. (doc 3) The Ottomans had trouble keeping their power and getting rid of foreign influence, where western ideas and technology were brought through the Tanzimat reforms.

The more common use of the railroads was expansion into new places specifically Africa. In 1899 from the point of view of Cecil Rhodes, a British imperialist and entrepreneur gave a proposal for a length of railroads through East Africa and Germany. With this railroad Rhodes most likely saw the opportunity for goods to be quickly transported in and out of Africa making transporting items faster and easier. (doc 4) Rhodes also probably wanted to take advantage of the benefits of shipping German goods. In France, there was also a proposal for the need for railroads. Ernest Roume, a governor of French West Africa, proposed that to grow economically they would need to have railroads. He said that as a civilized colony that they needed to have railroads to keep away from poverty and barbarism. The railroads would be a good source of transportation for goods to be traded. (doc 6) The “White Man’s Burden'' talked similarly to the need for “civilization” to places in Africa. In west Africa that is exactly what the governor was trying to do.

When Britain took control of India there was a controversy of if the railroads were good. After the Sepoy rebellion, there was a direct rule of India from Britain. This rule then led to the spread of western technology and ideas. In 1866, the British-Indian Association made a petition to the British government to have the railroads be more inclusive of the natives. The native Indians are being treated poorly as they are often provoked on the railways and insulted. The British-Indian Association said that the Indians were getting discriminated against “without the regard for indifference in rank and social scale.” (doc 1) High class and well-educated men were being treated poorly as well as the woman on the railways and often felt safer taking a seat in third class to get away from the foreigners. Unlike the Indians the British thought that the railroads were doing good for India and Britain. From the point of view of a British army officer, Lieutenant-Colonel R. Gardnier published a section in a magazine saying that the railroads were a good way to bring the nationalities together. The article says bringing together the Indians and the British would “mold India into a unified and loyal people,...”(doc 7) With the unification of the British would be able to grow stronger.

New technology brought by the westerners had many effects on people of the east both positive and negative. New military technology brought by the westerners had many effects just like the railroads. The new technology included new advanced guns for the military. These guns were easily transportable and were good guns. However, the bullets were covered in animal fats which the Indians and Muslims didn’t eat because it was against their religion and culture. Despite the obvious revolt against the new guns the British didn’t care what the Indians or Muslims wanted and continued to use them with animal fat. Through imperialism, the railroads were able to have a lasting effect on many countries and empires. Including the ability to keep power and the ability to grow as a nation-state or empire.

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