Comment: 00:40 - 02:20 (01:40)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed 26. Living With Earth, Part II
Keywords: introduction, "James Sadd", "H. G. Wells", humans, civilization, mining, agriculture, Roman, "Industrial Revolution", England, gravity, heat, "human power", technology, animal
Our transcription: For most of human history the power of civilization has been human power.
H. G. Wells describes life during this period in his book "Outline of History" --
"Where a weight had to be lifted, men lifted it; where a rock had to be quarried, men chipped it out; where a field had to be ploughed, men and oxen ploughed it; the Roman equivalent of the steamship was the galley with its bank of sweating rowers."
For thousands of years across cultures and continents, human survival and the advancement of society have depended on physical strength.
In fact, it was not until the Eighteenth Century, about the time of the American Revolution, that a change began to take place.
It's interesting that this change is also referred to by historians as a revolution, the "Industrial Revolution."
It began in England, where a series of simple mechanical inventions made it possible to harness the power of gravity and heat.
At first, this power driven machinery was too crude and inefficient to be of much use.
But as the Nineteenth Century unfolded and mechanical technology improved, it became obvious that much of the work done by humans and their animals could be done faster, cheaper, and often better by machines.
Human power "was needed now only where choice and intelligence had to be exercised."..."The drudge, on whom all the previous civilizations had rested, the creature of mere obedience"..."had become unnecessary to the welfare of mankind."
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