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Industrialization, Enlightenment, French Revolution Essay

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Updated: Aug 23rd, 2020


Human history has been shaped greatly by three periods: The industrial revolution, the period of enlightenment, the French revolution, and finally the period of protest and revolution 1815-1850 (Mantoux 3-7). These periods were associated with great minds and discoveries that have continued to shape human actions. This paper discusses the four periods and associated changes over time.

Industrial revolution

The Industrial Revolution started in Britain towards the end of the eighteenth century. The most interesting this is that the industrial revolution led to the invention and discovery of many things that drastically transformed the production methods. It started with a shift from slower or manual as well as more costly methods of production to machine-based production methods that were quicker and inexpensive (Mantoux 1-3). Since machines were too heavy and expensive, they could be transferred into places of residence. Machines were housed in factories. This again brought a change in the working style of people, that is, they started moving away from home to factories.

Since, the starting of the Industrial revolution, the way of life of many people has kept changing. In fact, today there are many inventions that are changing the lives of many people than what was witnessed at the beginning of the industrial revolution. In fact, what is certain is basically the way the industrial revolution significantly affected the way people live. There is no stage or phase in life that has not been impacted by the Industrial Revolution.

Period of Enlightenment

The term enlightenment is used to specifically describe the trends both in letters and thought in Europe as well as the American colonies. It occurred during the eighteenth century just before the French Revolution (Brown 2). One of the greatest and interesting things during this period was the basic beliefs of scholars and philosophers. This group of thinkers had a lot of confidence in the import of human reason. One of the persons to have brought a lot of insights into human reason during this time was Isaac Newton. Isaac Newton helped in unlocking natural laws.

Another person to have added insights into human reason was Locke. Locke advanced the idea that knowledge was not natural but is acquired. He also indicated for knowledge to be acquired there must be the human reason. His advancements have so far been proven (Brown 3-5). Knowledge is acquired from the environment. Through Pavlov experiment, it can be learned that knowledge is acquired through conditioned reflex or recurrent exposure. In addition, through proper education, the nature of humanity could easily be changed forever.

French revolution

The French Revolution started in the late 1780s and ended in the early 1800s when Napoleon was defeated (Lefebvre 2-6). The revolution is vital particularly in contemporary history as it has significantly contributed not just to the global impact, but also continued influences on society. To begin with, the French Revolution resulted in what is called the right of self-determination in international law. This was a revolutionary concept introduced at a time France wanted to conquer entire Europe. The revolution changed the processes of war across Europe. That is, the wars were fought on the basis of contemporary ideas. In fact, the change in tactics was largely associated with the effect of the period of Enlightenment.

The revolution impacted or influenced the nationalistic aspects of many countries. In other words, it changed the way people from different countries thought and contacted themselves. France supported a type of contemporary society that was based entirely on the aspect of self-determination (Lefebvre 2-5). What is interesting is that it set the way states in future days would be established and even understood. For instance, today states that are lawful have a common culture as well as a common boundary. This means that any other country that illegally attacks another will have violated international laws. In addition, the revolution gave rise to the idea of nation-states. In short, the French Revolution brought the idea of national self-determination.” This ideology became the powerful slogan of the radical as well as liberal ideas that considerably changed or influenced the modern states.

Protest and revolution 1815-1850

This is more like the industrial revolution although differ on a just a few aspects. After peace returned around 1815, the previous bad situation completely changed (Rudé 2-7). Some changes were observed in political and economic spheres. These two tended to blend, strengthening each other leading to the “dual revolution” (Jones and Wahrman 1-3). The idea of dual revolution as well posed a huge challenge to the intellectuals (Mantoux 2-6). For instance, it helped in elucidating the meanings of the changes that were occurring in the context of political, social and economic aspect and the way they would shape human action. Some of the things that were brought as a result of this period were new ideologies such as liberalism, nationalism, socialism and conservatism which continue to define even the modern society.


The world has been shaped by different systems and ideologies that were developed in the eighteenth century. Some of these ideologies have continued to shape the world today and are attributed to the industrial revolution, the pried of enlightenment, French revolution and finally the period of protest and revolution 1815-1850.

Works Cited

Brown, Stuart. British Philosophy and the Age of Enlightenment. London, UK: Psychology Press, 2003. Print.

Jones, Colin and Dror Wahrman. The age of cultural revolutions : Britain and France, 1750-1820. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2002. Print.

Lefebvre, Georges. The coming of the French Revolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. Print.

Mantoux, Paul. The Industrial Revolution in the Eighteenth Century. New York, NY: Routledge, 2013. Print.

Rudé, George. Revolutionary Europe, 1783 – 1815. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 2000. Print.

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