INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION & WARFARE


 


The growth of science and technology in the nineteenth century had a tremendous impact on the conduct of war.  Historians often call the American Civil War the first truly "modern" war.  To fully understand its significance, one must look at it in the context of a century of rapid and drastic change, one in which new advances in industry, science, and technology would be readily applied to the conduct of war.  The political, constitutional, and societal significance of the Civil War has been the focus of a great deal of study, but it is also important to look at the broader importance of the Civil War as a part of a nineteenth century technological revolution in warfare.  New technology made it possible to mass produce weapons with enhanced accuracy, power, and range.  Many of the new weapons and corresponding tactics went against the fundamental conceptions of what constituted proper conduct of war, making change difficult and unsettling.  As firepower become more effective, warfare became more destructive.  Military conditions were in continual flux during the industrial age as new weapons were developed and transportation and communication improved.  The Civil War saw the death of many traditional modes of warfare, the adoption of new weapons, and the birth of new inventions.  It also proved how non-military inventions such as steam, rail, and the telegraph could revolutionize the way war was fought.



CONTENTS
Impact of Industrial Revolution on 19th Century Warfare:  Major Trends
The Civil War:  The Ins and Outs
Civil War Technology:  the Old, the New, and the Experimental
  Industrial Technology and the Civil War:  the Evolution of Modern Warfare
Civil War Weapons
Civil War Naval Experience
Civil War Strategy & Tactics
Civil War Command & Control
Civil War Transportation & Supply
Civil War Society & Ideology
Timeline of 19th Century Warfare & Technology
Bibliography

 


(Special thanks to researcher Abbey Christman, primary author of this study on the relationship between technology and warfare)
 

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Last update:  May 15, 2000