From its earliest days late in the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution became an ongoing process that spawned continuous changes in virtually every area of society, first in England, and soon after in the United States and elsewhere. The Industrial Revolution—perhaps more aptly named industrialization—emerged side by side with evolving capitalism and continuing impulses for democracy. It shaped our economy, politics, and culture, while gradually urbanizing our geography and harnessing the land's resources to fuel factories and their outputs. It continues to be a force in the global political economy.

In general, the Industrial Revolution is credited with producing economic surpluses that led to higher living standards, improved health and nutrition, population growth, and longer life spans for large segments of the population. At the same ...

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