The Industrial Revolution and its Consequences

| April 11, 2018

OLC 5: The Industrial Revolution and its Consequences

Step 1: Read the sections of the textbook on the Industrial Revolution. These readings provide important background information which you will need in order to complete this assignment.

Step 2: Read Eugen Weber’s article “What is Real in Folk Tales?” This article by a prominent historian of France looks at the broad social and economic changes that transformed European society during the early modern period (c. 1500-1815). It espouses a version of Modernization Theory, attempting to show how “modernization” dramatically improved the lives of French peasants. Weber has been criticized by some subsequent scholars for overstating the transformation of peasant life. As you read this article, answer the following questions. Type up your answers and include them with your finished assignment (step 6 below).

1. According to Weber’s interpretation of fairy tales, what was life like in Europe before the Industrial Revolution? Make a list of describing the conditions of life during this period.

2. According to Weber’s analysis, how did life change after the Industrial Revolution? Make a second list describing the ways that life was different after industrialization.

Step 3: Read the assigned selections from Friedrich Engels’ The Condition of the Working Class in England. Engels was the son of a wealthy German industrialist who visited Manchester, England to learn more about the family business. While in England, he became horrified by the conditions in which the working class lived. In this book he argues that these poor conditions were the result of industrialization and Capitalism. He would later become a close collaborator of Karl Marx, the founder of Communism, co-writing The Communist Manifesto and several other books. As you read this selection, answer the following questions. Type up your answers and include them with your finished assignment (step 6 below).

1. According to Engels, are there any positive effects of industrialization and Capitalism in England? Make a list of any positive effects that he mentions. (Hint: look closely, especially at the beginning of the assigned reading.) 

2. According to Engels, what are the negative consequences of industrialization and Capitalism? Again, make a list.

Step 4: Now read the assigned selections from Shibuzawa Eiichi, a leading Japanese businessman, and Li Hung-Chang, a Chinese imperial official.  Both of these documents demonstrate the ways in which some non-Westerners viewed the Industrial Revolution, including its potential benefits and its flaws. For each of these authors, again make a list of all of the good elements and bad elements that they see in Western-style industrialization. Type up your answers and include them with your finished assignment (step 6 below).

Step 5: Write a short 1-2 page essay in which you evaluate the positive and negative effects of the Industrial Revolution. All things considered, do you think that this process of capitalist industrialization did more good or more harm? Be sure to consider its effects in both Europe and Asia.

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