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Explaining Industrial Revolution And The Emergence Of Nation-State

The capitalist development of industries primarily began in the 18th and 19th centuries through the effect of mechanization. The mills which were establishing at the end of the 18th century were not only based in England but also started in farther countries such as Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and the United States. The development of industries was dependent on the main sectors of that time such as textile, metallurgy, etc. The traders, merchants, and foremen during 18th and 19th century were directly affected by that period because they were transforming themselves into the capitalist class, which had a direct implication on their social, economic and other factors of their lives. They had to explore the world for import and export and that brought the recognition of their nation-state, transforming from community level to national level.

People were confined to small areas in a nation and could not get to the world standing on the national platform; However, industrial capitalism brought an era where nationalism was introduced to people. With the rising industrial capitalism, industrial revolution came into effect in the 18th century. The cities were developing, technologies were improving, which rapidly changed the structure of the lives in Europe and placed an eminent effect on the nation-state. The significance of the topic is that it helped the small unaware communities to recognize all of them as a collective nation-state. The recognition brought significance to their own culture, ethnicity, and trade on a large scale, and had a positive effect on their relations with other nations. Though these nation-states already knew about the political and economic arenas of their own society, recognizing everyone within their own nation had not evolved in the minds of the people. Further, when trade had started, people began recognizing their nation’s boundaries, which was also an important point that needs to be considered. With the emergence of industrial capitalism coupled with invention of technology and mechanization, international trade was effective and it brought the participating nations on to a larger platform.

Entering into the broader concepts of the topic, it is essential to explain separately the meaning of industrial capitalism, nation state followed by historical background of the development of industrial capitalism and the stage to which it developed following industrial revolution, and its effect on emergence of nation-state. Later, the article tries to analyse the whole topic by its description, linking with the broader themes of that period and events, revolutions before, after or during that period.

To understand the topic it becomes important to learn about the historical processes. Before capitalism, feudalism had its impact on the society and affected the lives of people through various means. Feudal society had been established by the eleventh century; within the framework of the estate, the organization of production and extortion of surplus labor were carried out for the benefit of the seigneur, an exalted landlord, and possessor of political and jurisdictional prerogatives. Later, the era of capitalism on the land of Europe emerged ago in the 13th century but the recognition of that was not known. The attitude of the church in the middle ages towards usury was a means for development of capitalism, trade and prosperity, and increase in the number of banking families. In the early stage of capitalism, different types of markets had become crucial places for buying and selling of goods and services at agreed prices with the desire of profit. The changing needs of buyers and sellers bought innovation in products and production processes. The increase of commodification took place, which in turn affected the lives of laborers because they were basically looked at as commodities. Feudal empires existed with multiple nations – states: capitalism replaced feudal monarchies with the nation-state, while nation-states supported the development of capitalism through regulations, public investment and programs such as education, defense, trade, protectionism,  etc.. But these institutions did not preclude transnational capitalistic development.

Before going deer into the topic, it is beneficial to understand the meaning of industrial capitalism and nation-state. Industrial capitalism refers to an economic and social system in which trade, industry and capital are privately controlled and operated for profit. In a capitalistic system, income, production, distribution, investment, pricing and supply of goods & commodities and services are determined by private decisions usually within the context of markets. In the rise of industrial capitalism, we look at the time when individuals in a society started acquiring property privately. Nation-state is a combination of two words ‘nation’ and ‘state’. Nation means a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory. State means set of institutions specifically concerned with the enforcement of order, hence the nation state refers to the state whose primary loyalty is to a cultural self – identity, which we call a nation or nationality, because a state is the expression of a nation, there is in general only one state for each nation and only one nation for each state.

Industrial revolution took birth in England. The emergence of a nation-state with the effect of industrial capitalism took several years but it was stroked in England after 1750 by a twinkling effect. Capital industrialization in Europe developed mainly in the three major successful flows – 1780-1880, 1880-1950 and the third still continues. Each flux is characterized by a definite extension, both sectoral and geographical. The effective emergence of nation-state was due to the various revolutions which gave a boost to the development of the nation-state, because until and unless you don’t have the feel of belonging, the formation of the nation-state is not possible.

The most effective development in Great Britain in the industries in 1780-1880 was of the cotton, iron, and railroads. In England and, with some delay, in France and Germany, this evolution continued, intensified, and accelerated the movement that had begun in the 18th century, bringing greater impact to build connections in the community.  There are several revolutions which had different kinds of impact on the nations. Some of these are mentioned below:
• Agricultural revolution – The industrial development inaugurated and then accentuated the end of primary agricultural in the lives of people. Agricultural methods had not changed much since the middle ages. The development of industries brought machinery to the farm; the use of farm machinery was that less number of people were needed for the production in the field, which bought migration in the lives of the people – rural – urban migration. This bought the development of cities where people mainly gathered for the common interests that were their work. For example, in Paris and in London the population increased rapidly. Agricultural revolution made agriculture as science and bought existing government into this framework.
• Printing revolution – The printing revolution was built and brought up in 1800-1830 through an iron printing press, steam driven press and further with new technologies. The emergence of print increased the people’s common interest area of interaction and oneness, because effect of every news, every occasion was portrayed to everyone in the similar way, for example, newspaper was the only source of getting news about anything so the way it was given to them, everyone recognized in same way and the feeling of common nation-state came to them.
• Commercial revolution – The commercial revolution was the period of late 13th century to 18th century. Europeans started expanding their powers worldwide through which geographic knowledge was increasing and colonies in America and Asia were developing. Because their power was increasing it was obvious that trade across nations increased, when trade started people of the same culture, same working conditions, and interests wanted to come along, so that could also be a reason for the emergence of nation states.
• Intellectual revolution – The intellectual revolution was mainly found in the period of a 17th and 18th century, the writings of various authors like Locke, Voltaire, etc. enforced the ideas and thoughts of people. This period brought the path of independence, philosophy, ideological thinking in the mind of people. The amount of knowledge emerged was magnificent, it brought changes in the thinking and the power of the people, people started thinking about the nationalism and that too that kind of nation where people of common interest could live with the same ethnicity. The demand for the nation state started increasing and through that also the emergence of nation-state took place.
• Transportation revolution – Transportation revolution started when the need for export and import started, during or after the industrialization, trains, steamships, trolleys, automobiles started to emerged which gave rise to the transportation revolution, it was the period for people when due to transport people started learning about the other cultures, there and our own territories, due to that also the recognition for nation-state started.

The following are the themes related to the industrial capitalism and emergence of nation-state:
• Sovereignty – The European nations built their own territory that administered their own government and were not dependent on other nations, as a huge quantity of production was done by them itself. The European nations were not dependent on others and as the industrialization increased they started recognizing it more particularly.
• Equality – The European nations did not have equality after the industrialization, on the basis of the monetary level, jobs, class, and structure. But when they all were gathering together due to industrial capitalism and industrialization, at that point of time people of that time wanted to come closure that had a common interest, common territory, and work. This is a factor why the creation of nation state started in Europe.
• Hegemony – The European nations had hegemonic power over the world because of industrial capitalism and emergence of new trade, technology, power relations in different areas of the world and their own countries. Before industrialization, the power was in the hands of the aristocracy and monarchy; due to industrial capitalism, industries were more prominent. The effect of this was that the society there wanted to be powerful and so the formation of nation-states with hegemonic powers started.

It is crucial to inference and give appropriate argument here. Industrial capitalism in Europe had an everlasting impact on the whole societal structure and played a significant role in the emergence of the nation-state. The industrial revolution saw a fundamental change in the way goods were produced, from labor to machinery. Political and social changes emerged during this period; mainly the feeling of nationalism came in the 19th century. As the 19th century moved along, the feeling of nationalism was developing rapidly. People with the same interest, language and culture wanted to have their own country. For example, Germany was just a scattering of many states and Italy was also divided into small states and had become even worse because it was ruled by the foreign powers in the Australian empires. Along with nationalism, the 19th century was also the age of industrialism. Before James Mill brought about industrial revolution, every work was performed at home by hands. During the 1800s steam-driven machinery progressively did the work once done by human hands. This was especially true in the textile industry because textiles are mainly made by hands. It became impossible to bring big machines home because they were expensive and so the building-like structure was made to set up the machinery and was called a factory – a home for machines. This created the new class of labor called factory work. In order to be close to their respective work places, factory workers started moving towards new cities that sprang up around the factories. The change due to urbanization was seen in Europe. In 1800 there were no cities with more than a million people. By 1900, because of rural – urban migration, many cities had people more than a million. The travel time was drastically changed in 1900 due to steam engines which helped people to travel. More and more industrialized nations were increasing and with that wealth also increasing whose effect was that European nation state was getting power, with the increase of imperialism. Imperialistic, industrialized nations built up their navies to gain and protect assets. Increased production meant that an increased need for raw materials, industrialized nations expanded their colonial empires and spheres of influence in their search for raw materials, due to which worldwide colonies were scrambling; they fought with the people to have the control of land, even fought with each other for colonies and sphere of influence. The government saw imperialist expansion as the key to continued industrial growth and wealth. The cities started growing rapidly like Paris, London, Manchester, Liverpool etc. It was a good thought at that time to form a nation state but it somewhere destroyed the diversity between people which existed at that time, the difference of class structure was there, it increased the poverty and differences between the people. For example, if we take the example of Pakistan, it’s a nation state because it is a Muslim state, it has the advantage of having a majority population of the same religion but with it, it has drawbacks of not good interaction with other states, conflicts etc. the same problem could emerge with other nation states too. Though European nation states have good hold through various factors but it is possible that within them those things could get damaged. Therefore, it can be analyzed that though industrial capitalism had a great impact on people, it also helped in the emergence of nation state through various factors which affected them directly.

To conclude we return to the statement that industrial capitalism had an impact on the emergence of the nation-state. The nation-state is the state where people of the same culture want to reside together. Industrialization came after feudalism. The industrial revolution was brought abut mainly in Europe. The industrialization started much before the 18th and 19th century but it had impacted merely in these centuries with the emergence of the agricultural revolution, transport revolution, intellectual revolution, print revolution etc., which bought the people much closure ideologically and physically. The emergence of mechanization bought the rural people to urban areas in search of work because industrialization ended the aristocracy and importance of land were now less than industries. Europe was the crucial place for buying and selling of the goods because of the industrial factor. The import and export somewhere helped communities to bring the feeling of oneness among each other and broadly know the territories, area and people of their country. Sovereignty, equality, and hegemony were effectively present. Industrial capitalism brought the emergence of the nation-state with both pros and cons: while it increased poverty, it also increased the impact of Europe on the world. It brought employment but with exploitation and inequality between men and women, it brought togetherness but with disparities. Every event in the world brings good or bad and do did industrial capitalism which brought the concept of nation states into picture.

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