The British Industrial Revolution has long been seen as the spark for modern, global industrialization and sustained economic growth. Indeed the origins of economic history, as a discipline, lie in 19th-century European and North American attempts to understand the foundation of this process.
In this book, William J. Ashworth questions some of the orthodoxies concerning the history of the industrial revolution and offers a deep and detailed reassessment of the subject that focuses on the State and its role in the development of key British manufactures. In particular, he explores the role of State regulation and protectionism in nurturing Britain's negligible early manufacturing base. Taking a long view, from the mid 17th century through to the 19th century, the analysis weaves together a vast range of factors to provide one of the fullest analyses of the industrial revolution, and one that places it firmly within a global context, showing that the Industrial Revolution was merely a short moment within a much larger and longer global trajectory. This book is an important intervention in the debates surrounding modern industrial history will be essential reading for anyone interested in global and comparative economic history and the history of globalization.
William J. Ashworth is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Liverpool, UK. He is the author of Customs and Excise: Trade, Production and Consumption in England, 1640-1845 (2003).
Introduction 1. Trade, Finance and European War 2. "The Greatest Dominion of the World": Trade and Textiles 3. Silver and Slaves: Britain and the Atlantic World 4. South Asian "Weeds": The Balance of Trade and Textiles 5. British State Protection and Industrial Development 6. The State as Arbiter of Production 7. Balancing Tax and Industry: The Regulation and Taxing of Domestic Manufactures 8. Culture, Textile Design and Quality 9. Technological Innovation in Cotton Textiles, Metals, Energy and Steam 10. Industry and Fiscal Pressure 11. Industry and the Lived Experience: Food and Labour 12. The Rise of Political Economy during the British Industrial Revolution Epilogue Bibliography