This article is available at 5 reading levels at https://newsela.com. The Industrial Revolution and the Growth of Cities An illustration of the textile factories in Lowell, Massachusetts. The textile factories wove cotton produced in the South using cotton spindle machines. By the 1850s, Lowell had the largest industrial complex of factories in the United States. Photo from Wikimedia Commons. The Industrial Revolution was a great economic and cultural shift that began in the late 18th century. It started in England and then spread to other parts of the world. City populations exploded during this period, which marked the shift from mostly agricultural economies to those dominated by machine-based manufacturing. The Industrial Revolution had its roots in another major change — the Agricultural Revolution. Earlier in the 1700s, wealthy British landowners had taken advantage of poor peasants with the enclosure movement. They fenced off lands that had once belonged to everyone and turned them into private property. As a result, many poor families were forced to move. Some went to other villages or towns, and others poured into cities. At roughly the same time, farming advancements such as crop rotation and steel plows greatly increased food production. This made it possible for much larger concentrations of people to live By Encyclopaedia Britannica, adapted by Newsela staff on 04.27.17 Word Count 841 Level 1050L
This article is available at 5 reading levels at https://newsela.com. together. It also reduced the number of workers needed on farms, making more of them available for industry.