What was the Industrial Revolution?

The Industrial Revolution was an era of sweeping change, as the focus in different societies changed from agricultural to mass-producing and industrial. It began in Great Britain in the 1700s. By the early 1800s it had spread to western Europe and the United States. It was brought about by the introduction of steam-power-driven machinery to manufacturing.

As inventors made new machines that could take over manual labor, sweeping changes in agriculture, textile and metal manufacture, transportation, economic policies, and social structures took place. By the end of the eighteenth century, most finished goods—which had once been made by hand or by simple machines—were produced in quantity by technologically advanced machinery. Factories were built to house the new machines, causing a population shift from rural areas to urban ones.