The Industrial Revolution and Social Changes Review for AP World History

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Updated on Mar 4, 2011

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The Industrial Revolution and Social Changes Review Questions for AP World History

The Industrial Revolution

The change in the production of manufactured goods from the home to the factory began in the English textile industry in the mid-eighteenth century. The Industrial Revolution built on innovations in agriculture that had brought improved farming methods such as crop rotation, scientific breeding of livestock, and the application of fertilizers. A result of increased agricultural output was the enclosure movement. Large landholders fenced pastures that previously had been left open for common use, creating a sizable population of landless laborers. England's growing position in global trade contributed to the pursuit of manufacturing interests. The English government supported industrialization by passing laws and instituting policies that promoted its growth. In addition, England possessed the factors of production:

  • Land (including natural resources such as coal and iron ore)
  • Labor (including thousands of dispossessed farmers from southeastern England evicted from their land as a result of the enclosure movement)
  • Capital (banking and investment interests capable of funding the costs of factories and machinery)
  • Entrepreneurship (groups of individuals with the knowledge of combining land, labor, and capital to establish factory production)

The technological advance that initiated the transition of manufacturing from home to factory was the steam engine, invented by James Watt of Scotland in the 1770s. Accompanying factory production were changes in transportation and communication such as the telegraph, steamships, and railroads, all of which served to speed up the movement of goods and information.

Social Changes Brought by Industrialization

The factory system brought a number of changes to family life and society:

  • Work was carried out outside the home, a situation that separated family members.
  • Factory workers were required to follow schedules and to arrive at work at a specified time.
  • Factories required workers to adhere to strict rules.
  • Work was done to the noise of machines.
  • The pace of work was generally more rapid than at home.
  • Women lost manufacturing jobs carried out under the domestic system. They were expected to return to the traditional roles of homemaker and childcare provider.
  • Social status began to be determined more by wealth than by family position in society.
  • Early industrial cities were generally crowded, unsanitary, and poorly lit, with no police protection.

After 1850, the nature of the industrial setting changed somewhat:

  • Workers in Western societies received higher wages and shorter working hours, allowing more leisure time activities.
  • With the increase in leisure time came popular interest in the theater and in sports.
  • Additional employment opportunities arose in secretarial work and sales. Some of these jobs were filled by women, especially those who were unmarried.
  • The mass production of clothing made it more affordable, allowing the general population to wear similar fashions.
  • Popular consumption of manufactured goods led to advertising campaigns.
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