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Online Textbook for History 1112

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This lesson is almost the dark mirror image of Lesson 3. While Romanticism was in full swing, so was the Industrial Revolution and great leaps in technology, as humans transformed western societies from agrarian and cottage-level industries into large-scale manufacture. The lesson discusses both the benefits and side effects of the industrial age on the lives of average people in the 19th century.


Online Readings
Crash Course Video 

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this lesson, students should be able to:

  • Explain how a society moves from being an agrarian culture to an industrial and capitalist one.
  • Describe the Industrial Revolution that occurred in Great Britain, detailing the advances in agriculture and transportation that were vital to the change in production.
  • Discuss how the Industrial Revolution had massive consequences for European society, both positive and negative, and its impact on urban and rural life and patterns of living.
  • Detail various social reforms of the 19th century, such as those affecting women, different ethnicities, and children.
  • Describe the key elements of socialism and how it became popularized among the working class in various western nations through the rise of socialist parties and labor unions. 

Terms to Know

  • Agricultural revolution
  • Charles Darwin
  • Chartist movement
  • Child labor
  • Cottage industry
  • Edwin Chadwick
  • Enclosure
  • Factory
  • Factory Act of 1833
  • James Hargreaves
  • James Watt
  • John Stewart Mill
  • Louis Pasteur
  • Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Mercantilism
  • Middle class
  • Poorhouse
  • Richard Arkwright
  • Robert Koch
  • Sexual division of labor
  • Social Darwinists
  • Thomas Malthus
  • Urbanization
  • Victoria I
  • Emile Zola
  • William Wilburforce


Thought Questions

1. Why did the Industrial Revolution begin in England? Explain the role of leadership England took in the Industrial Revolution as far as science, inventions, and technology.

2. Explain the social effects of the Industrial Revolution on peoples' lives. Did society as a whole change for the better? Why or why not? Be able to give examples and facts to support your conclusions.

Discussion Questions


  1. Read "Women Miners in English Coal Pits." Describe in detail the conditions under which these women labored. How did the conditions affect these women? 
  2. Why was socialist thought, such as that described in the Communist Manifesto, popular with the working class in places like Manchester? (You may need to "extrapolate" your thinking from the readings--think about how workers felt about working conditions). 
  3. Andrew Ure makes a very strong case for factories in his writing. Summarize the ways in which the factory system could be positive for industrialization and society. In a reverse of question 2, consider how people who could find no employment outside of a factory felt about being able to do wage-earning work. 

Further Explorations

The following websites may be useful to you in finding terms, studying for exams, and expanding your knowledge of this lesson's content.

NOTE: From time to time, these web pages may "disappear." Please send an email to if you find broken links, so they may be replaced.