Jump to content


Age of Enlightenment/Industrial Revolution

Recommended Posts

Just out of curiosity... what do you think caused the Age of Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution to take place?

So little progress had been made in thousands of years, and then suddenly ideas take off around the beginning of the 18th century. Why? What changed?

Did man evolve? Did God decide to grant us further light? Just plain dumb luck? What do you think? :bigear:

Link to comment
Share on other sites



The acceleration of technology, mass production, the move from agriculture to urban, the transcontinental railroad, marketing, the end of the civil war, reconstruction, westward expansion.


The Age of Enlightenment was earlier than the IR, btw. It is also divided by European Age of Enlightenment and America's (later).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know what happened and when. This actually isn't a history question.


Am I the only one that has ever wondered why the dramatic change after thousands of years of very little change? Any theories out there?


Actually it is a history question. History is just as concerned with the whys of history as the chronology and the facts of history. Here is just one article on what you are asking. Look at the part labeled "Influence" for one discussion of the whys. I don't have time to look for more articles or support for the answer I gave you earlier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think you had thousands of years of very little change.


I think tremendous learning was going on around the world, but travel and trade were not widespread enough for long enough periods of time to disseminate that information.


Also, because people didn't have good written accounts of things they could refer back to over time (and couldn't generally read, any way), and because the majority of the population was more short-lived, knowledge regularly got lost and recovery sometimes took hundreds of years.


What you see as the Renaissance peaks is that more stable trade and banking are coming into more widespread existence, and also knowledge from ancient times from the Greeks, the Arabs, etc. is being rediscovered and studied. You begin to have an advance in chemistry, and that's the science that drives everything. As chemistry advances, so does physics alongside it. As physical principals are studied, mechanisms and machinery begin to be built and uses found for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And I guess I'll add that the tag "Age of Enlightenment" doesn't even really refer to what was going on with regard to scientific advancement. It refers to the aha! moments that were happening for regular folks in coffeehouses and other public places all over Europe and in the new American colonies. There was a change in thought processes for the masses at that time and more regular folks felt that they were willing, able, and deserved to control the course of their lives themselves.


These factors were seen at play in most of the European wars of the time as well as the bid for American independence and the French Revolution, then Russian Revolution (among others) that followed....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...