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5.4 Industrialization Spreads, 1750 to 1900

3 min readmarch 16, 2023

Jillian Holbrook

Jillian Holbrook

Andrew Fultz

Andrew Fultz


AP World History: Modern 🌍

577 resources
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Industrialization Shifts to a Global Platform

Industrialization Beyond Great Britain

Countries noticed the benefits, both economically and politically, of industrialization as it occurred in Great Britain. Due to a combination of technological, economic, and political factors, the Industrial Revolution spread across Europe, the United States, Russia, and Japan, creating a significant impact on the global economy and the way people lived and worked. France adopted industrialization after their wars ended over attempts for German unification, and once Germany unified, they became a leader in coal and steel production. 

The United States, Russia, and Japan followed Europe’s lead in industrializing:

The United States

The U.S. population grew through immigration throughout the 1800s, so they had a large labor source. Immigration to the U.S. was generally from Ireland, China, and Germany in the mid-1800s, but by the late 1800s, immigration expanded to include southern and eastern Europe, as well as Japan. This translated into the United States rising as a leading industrial power by 1900 because it provided cheap labor sources for factories, especially for immigrants settling in the northeastern part of the United States. 🇺🇸

Russia

In Russia, the government largely drove industrialization. The state implemented policies and invested in infrastructure, such as the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroads to promote industrial growth. Russian industrialization efforts, in contrast to other countries, were not propelled by private enterprise. Accompanied by significant political changes, including the emergence of a communist government in 1917, the new Soviet Union, which emerged from the Russian Revolution, pursued a policy of rapid industrialization, which had significant economic and social impacts on the country. 🚂

Japan

Japan industrialized for defensive purposes in order to protect its traditions. To catch up to the West, Japan modernized its economy and increased its wealth and power. Because of Japan's highly educated workforce, with a large percentage of the population being literate, the country quickly adopted and adapted to new technologies. Education and national identity were, therefore, crucial to Japan's rapid industrialization. 🇯🇵
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Trans-Siberian Railroad, 1892. Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Production Increases Disproportionately 💰

Steam-powered industrial production increased in European countries and the United States. As a result of steam-powered technology, the production of goods in factories grew rapidly, and steamships significantly improved transportation speeds and reliability. Thus, Europe and the United States took control of the larger share of global manufacturing.
Middle Eastern and Asian countries did continue to produce goods. However, the lack of steam power and new technology meant that they did not produce nearly as much as industrialized countries. These regions declined in manufacturing relative to European and American competition, including the industries of shipbuilding in India and Southeast Asia, iron works in India, and textile production in India and Egypt.
Ultimately, Europe, Russia, Japan, and the United States out-produced non-industrialized areas. Innovations in technology, such as harnessing energy from fossil fuels, shifted the economic global dominance from East Asia to Europe.
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Browse Study Guides By Unit
🐎Unit 1 – The Global Tapestry, 1200-1450
🐫Unit 2 – Networks of Exchange, 1200-1450
🕌Unit 3 – Land-Based Empires, 1450-1750
🍕Unit 4 – Transoceanic Interactions, 1450-1750
✊🏽Unit 5 – Revolutions, 1750-1900
🚂Unit 6 – Consequences of Industrialization, 1750-1900
💣Unit 7 – Global Conflict, 1900-Present
🥶Unit 8 – Cold War & Decolonization, 1900-Present
✈️Unit 9 – Globalization, 1900-Present
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