England in the 19th century

England in the 19th Century

A country like England couldn’t but have prospered at all levels – scientific, military, economical – in the 19th century. It had always been one of the most successful nations in Europe, and a great power. Scientifically , it had had the chance to affirm itself , through the Royal Society and the great minds spurred there. Military , during the bloody events that tormented France, it had asserted itself as the greatest naval power in the world, assuring this way its preservation and dominance. It had as well tasted a freshening agricultural revolution and the stabilization of a strong banking system. Than, on the course towards imperialism it had been among the ones who enjoyed most the benefits of colonization . However, incredibly important had been the industrial revolution.
In the 18th century , a number of inventions have determined a gradual, but decisive shift from handwork to machine work , which proved much more efficient and profitable. An example is John Kay’s “flying shuttle” , that sped back and forth with its wheels, and produced the double amount of a weaver’s one day’s work. As the production of consumption goods became more and more mechanized, a new era of Industrialization emerged. In the 19th century , the Industrialization was taken to a new stage , and it was spurred by improvements in the transportation system.

A new road system , based on the principle of “macadamization” , was developed , as a result of the work of Scottish engineer John McAdam. Road Construction in our days is still based on McAdam’s ideas. The process elaborated by him implied laying a cover of large stones on the road, for drainage. Than , on top, there was a smooth layer of crushed rocks . This simple system permitted heavy wagons to travel easily , without sinking in mud anymore.

However, more important for the spreading of the Industrial Revolution was the creation of the railway system. In 1804 , English engineer Richard Trevithick created the prototype of a steam-driven locomotive , that could carry tons of iron over a distance of more than 10 miles. Than , this prototipe was perfected by English engineer George Stephenson. In 1821, the latter began his work on the first railroad line in the world, which opened in 1825. This new invention gave manufacturers an unexpensive way of transportation for raw goods and materials. It also created thousands of new jobs, as it gave birth to a new industry. Not least, by providing new ways of transportation , railways encouraged the shifts of population to distant city jobs.

The people could also hope for a longer life expectancy ,as progress in the medical field was registered. British surgeon Joseph Lister had studied the work of French chemist Louis Pasteur , regarding the life of bacteria and its influences on diseases. Lister realized that the cause of many people’s death after surgery was infection. He decided to eliminate the risk , by creating a sterile , clean environment for the patients. He would than ask that all their wounds be sterillezed with germ-killing liquids , called antiseptics. By following these procedures , Lister became successful in the big majority of his surgical interventions. His ideas were than spread across the country. In the mean time , vaccins against several deseases appeared. As well, a new standard of hygiene was starting to gain shape throughout the society. England was moving towards better horizons.

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