People’s Role in the Revolutionary Period


The Essay discusses the people in the revolutionary experiences that swept across Europe during 1750 – 1850. The essay explores the role of people in the use of energy, communication and transport, industrial revolution and democratic revolution, and how this involvement was shaped by social-economic and political aspects. Conclusions sums how people’s involvements affected their lives.

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The period between1750 – 1850 was important to human history. It was characterized by revolutions that affected most aspects of human life. The revolutions affected the social-economic and political changes of people around the world. After 1750, the changes have steadily transformed the human life. The role of people in the revolutionary involved interaction and development and which in turn affected their economic wellbeing. The role of people involved;

Human use of energy

People played a significant role in creating and using the earliest form of energy. Biomass i.e. burning of wood was to produce heat and the use of human power was the first approach and an invention done by people (LaFreniere, 2008.p.385). However, Coal and steam power came to be widely used by most people because the technology used to harness steam and coal was with the people.

The use of wind energy by humans also increased the availability of power which was needed for the turning of turbines to generate power, this led to easier conveyance of water from distant locations such as well or rivers to the place where it was needed i.e. in farms for irrigation or homes (LaFreniere, 2008.p.326).

Industrial transformation

The industrial revolution which started in Europe was made possible by the invention and use of coal and steam which people had learned how to use. The exploitation of the use of coal and steam made it easy to have enough energy which was able to stir the growth of industries. The growth of industries led to industrial revolution (Chilcote, 2000, p. 108).

The industrial revolution shaped people’s lives and the economies of most western countries. This is because, it led to the production of textiles, manufacturing, farming and processing industries (Spielvogel, 2008, p. 428). People in the western Europe had learned how coal and steam were exploited and they used this energy to produce goods to sell them to other destinations. Industrialization was carried majorly on large scale and precipitated sprang up of industries such as; metallurgical and electrical among other industries. The growth of industries altered how wealth was accumulated and affected distribution in the world. The distribution of wealth changed major aspects of the society such as lifestyle (Chilcote, 2000, p. 56). Most workers and entrepreneurs skillfully exploited how steam and coal power was harnessed and used. People used these skills in industries to drive heavy machines so that the production of goods would be increased and provide efficiency in working environment. The development and the use of coal and steam energy began in England and later spread to other parts of the world.

The railroads significantly decreased the cost of land transport thereby; improving the volume of people and goods being transported and speeding up the delivery time (Chilcote, 2000, p. 103). Moreover, railroads made it easier and efficient for transportation of steel and coal over long distances which enabled the growth and expansion of coal and steel industries in Russia and United States. The growth of rail transport influenced the expansion of markets and the growth of urban centers. In the 1840s the invention of steam-generated electricity made it possible for industrial machines to be powered. This was because the industrialization brought new machinery which helped to mechanize cotton textile production (Chilcote, 2000, p. 52). The industrial revolution made a great shift in people’s life because it facilitated the growth of international trade, distribution of wealth and led to the establishment of social class which involved working-class movements and creation of division of labor. Moreover, the revolutionary led to development of authority and created a social problem of environmental pollution and rural-urban migration which led to overpopulation in urban centers.

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The emergencies of Trade unions during this period ensure that workers rights were safeguarded and the working condition was improved. This was necessary so that workers would have an organization where they would air their grievances and be heard.

Communications and transport

There was a significant role in people’s involvement in communication and transport sectors during this revolutionary period (Tames, 2006, p.32). The revolution brought about the use of steamship, rail and roads to assist people to move or migrate to long distances places as well as across the seas. For instance, Europeans were attracted to North and South America where climate was good (Tames, 2006, p.8). The invention of communication gadgets i.e. the telegraph ensure that faster communication was necessary and distance was not a hindrance, people shifted from traditional use of smoke signals and running to relay important information (Tames, 2006, p.184).

Political and democratic revolution

The people defined the democratic revolution around the world.the political movements and systems established in the nineteenth century tried to reshape the ideologies of political power and the government (Hirst, 2001, p.53). For instance, the movement led to the need to end slavery and create representation in government, constitution to protect and give freedom to people, fight for workers rights, provide gender equality and have balanced national institutions, this first was step which happened in Europe and America and later spread across the world.

To influence how people should be governed and ruled, the revolutionary movement brought about emergency of new and strong empires and the old ones reconstituted and strengthened (Hirst, 2001, p. 71). Industrialization led to the establishment of sophisticated technologies such as the manufacture of weapons such as guns. The technology was used by political classes and empires to have sound control and ensure that their political territories were stable and secure against any external invasion.

Most European empires and states increased in size during this era. Japan, United States and Russia made the use of new technologies resulting from the industrial revolution to enlarge their, spheres of influence (Hirst, 2001, p.126).

The Europeans by the use of new technologies as a result of industrial revolutions such as the use of steamships and the search for raw materials to provide for their newly established industries, prompted them to look for more opportunities from their countries and hence this lead to scramble and partition of Africa and other parts of the world so that they would have access to raw materials and a ready market for their industrial produced goods (Waller, 1990, p. 257).

The revolutionary movement led to the emergency of Britain as one of the leading world power. It surpassed France because France had been bankrupted during the seven Years’ War and was greatly affected by the American Revolution (Hirst, 2001, p.31).

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The revolutionary in the America lead to the creations of republics. The republics were which were widely dominated by the middle classes people and the pattern of voting was confined to males who had properties. Kingship provided a major political pattern of ancient civilization (Wilson, 200, p.109). But the revolutionary lead to establishment of legislature where people elected their representatives a major change into human political organization. Kingdoms and monarchs were slowly fading and were being replaced with republics and democratic bodies (Wilson, 200, p.95).

The revolutionary increased wealth in the world, on the other it created poverty because wealth created only concentrated in the hands of a few people and countries. The expansion of European colonial empires around the world widened the gap of colonial rule and it assumed different forms and to exercise.

In conclusion, the people played a significant role in shape the revolutionary period between 1750 – 1850. The use of coal and steam to generate power led to the establishment of industries that enabled the growth of economy and growth of international trade. The use of steamship and the invention of the telegraph facilitated easier communication and speeded up transportation between countries and continents. The new forms of political groupings enabled easier governance of people because it was easy to formulate laws and implement them. However, the revolutionary created social problems which affected the people in the society. It led to the overcrowding in urban centers, environmental pollution and the growth of the class system in the society


Chilcote, R., H., 2000, The Political Economy of Imperialism: Critical Appraisals Rowman & Littlefield, Maryland.

Hirst, P., 2001, War and Power in the 21st Century: the State, Military Conflict and the International System, Wiley-Blackwell, New Jersey.

LaFreniere, G., F., 2008, The Decline of Nature: Environmental History and the Western Worldview, Academica Press, LLC, Florida.

Spielvogel, J., J., 2008, Western Civilization: Since 1500, Cengage Learning, Connecticut.

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Tames, R., 2006, Documents and the Industrial Revolution 1750-1850: Select Economic and Social, Taylor & Francis, Cincinnati.

Waller, B., 1990, Themes in Modern European History, 1830-90, Routledge, New York.

Wilson, P., H., 2000, Absolutism in central Europe, Routledge, New York.

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