England and the Foundation of Industrial Civilisation

The Religious Schism with Rome and the excommunication of the whole Anglican population forced the rulers to look inwards for new ideological and social forms to provide moral cohesion outside the traditional Roman Catholic moral structure. At the same time partial exclusion of England from the European trading area obliged them to look outwards for economic survival which led to the beginnings of dependence on sea power and greater emphasis on manufacturing technologies. Henry VIII built the Royal navy and Francis Bacon a great polymath and Chancellor of England during Elizabeth’s reign, laid out the philosophical and methodological foundations of western science. The Elizabethans were also educational pioneers.

The Civil War which took place 50 years after this period grew out of the conflict between Tories who supported the established Religious Monarchy and those Protestant dissenters and business men who supported Parliament. The eventual result was that the Monarchy was brought under the Rule of Law.

The growth of the middle class which began at this time escalated even faster with the Industrial Revolution which was kick-started by the building of a vastly extended Royal Navy. This was in response to being isolated by predatory French and Dutch war ships in the English Channel. The Whigs took control of England through the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the importation of William of Orange and later George the First, their puppet Hanoverian king. During the Eighteenth Century the Whigs grew rich through the sugar drug trade, particularly through the Caribbean sugar plantations worked by imported slaves. They bought landed estates in England and soon became a nouveau riche gentry. At the turn of the Nineteenth Century momentous changes in ideologies took place throughout Europe as with the rise of a new generation of independent intellectuals armed with the printing press and with new ideas based on bourgeois individualism which is essentially reductionistic “social atomism”. Such writers as Rousseau and later the pamphleteer Tom Paine provided the new ideo-dynamics (spin).