The ” industrial revolution “, the story of a story too well-oiled

Chronic. This professor of economics in the secondary is confused : “You want to say that our course on the industrial revolution in the Nineteenth century is to get rid of him ? “

Five historians gathered on the occasion of the 20es Rendez-vous de l’histoire de Blois (the theme was ” Eureka : invent, discover, innovate “) had, on the morning of 7 October, to blow up the story, according to which the mechanization of production, and textile into head, was born in England in the late Eighteenth century and was widespread throughout Europe in the Nineteenth century, thanks to the steam engine, pushing artisans and peasants to leave the workshops and campaigns to come and swell the ranks of the wage-earning urban in gigantic factories.

In fact, explains Liliane Hilaire-Pérez (université Paris-VII-Diderot), the expression “industrial revolution” appeared for the first time around 1830, in the writings of the French economist Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832), which thus establishes a parallel semantics between the conquest of political liberties by the French Revolution and the material enrichment, as allowed by the technical progress and those who serve : the engineers and contractors.

Its purpose is to challenge the will of the elites in the agrarian of the Former Regime to erase the achievements of 1789. The idea is repeated on the other side of the Channel, where the liberals are fighting against the oligarchy of the land. It is only at the end of the Nineteenth century, the English historian Arnold Toynbee (1852-1883) to transform this political argument in a historical concept.

But, for the past thirty years, historians are interested in what actually happened in the material life and economic before the ” industrial revolution “. At the end of the Sixteenth century, the consumption of manufactured objects, in quantity as in variety, increases well beyond the basic needs, even in the homes…

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