Chapter 18 Industrial Revolution in the West: 1700-1914
New Industrial Society
New Industrial Society
Over the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries, standards of living improved for the vast majority
of people in
industrial societies. Developments
in science also changed people's lives and changed traditional outlooks.
Art and literature at first rejected, and then embraced, the industrial
New Consumer Society
By the end of the 1800s,
larger numbers of Europeans shared in the benefits of industrial life.
Industry supplied the needs and wants of a mass market, not just
the tastes of an aristocratic elite. The first department store, Bon
Marché, opened in Paris with everything from furniture to clothing
located in one building. Businesses began advertising to convince
consumers to buy their products.
Families with enough new wealth often joined the aristocracy or
adopted its way of life. Wealthy
Americans built mansions in the style of European castles and manor
houses and many intermarried with titled British families.
Houses with servants became a sign of status for the well-to-do.
Women's fashions also reflected this trend. Restrictive corsets and
tight shoes made stylish women and girls immobile and unable to work,
thus turning them into symbols of the prosperity enjoyed by their
husbands and fathers.
entertainment. Toward the end of the 1800s, working people began
to enjoy increasing leisure.
Theater and opera were available, while less sophisticated forms
of entertainment could be found in pleasure gardens, most notably in
London. At most of these
gardens could be found a music hall, a gambling club, a restaurant, and
a fun-fair, all of which could be enjoyed for a small entrance fee.
Toward the end of the 1800s, variety shows and music halls grew
more popular. Their low admission prices attracted large crowds, and its
stars became national figures in both Britain and the United States.
Plays by dramatists such as George Bernard Shaw satirized the
conventional values of the times.
In the early 1900s the newly invented cinema grew popular with
silent films accompanied by piano; the adding of soundtracks to films
after 1927 began the age of modern movies.
important change in leisure activity was the rise of organized sports.
After people moved from rural areas to the cities, they no longer
participated in folk festivals, which had included traditional games and
dances. They also lost their sense of identity with a particular place. One of the ways they filled free time was with organized team
sports. Supporting or playing for a local team gave people a new sense
of local identity. Team sports also reinforced some of the ideals of the
industrial age. Like industry, organized sports depended on coordinated
activity, with each participant fulfilling a specialized task in order
to achieve a common goal.
Many of the most popular team sports originated in the so-called
"public schools" of Britain, which were private boarding
schools. In 1863 the
Football Association formed to establish the rules for soccer, while in
1871, the Rugby Football Union did the same for rugby.
By 1900 soccer had become the most popular sport in Britain, with
nearly 10,000 teams registered with the Football Association.
American football and baseball
also developed out of late
nineteenth century amateur sports.
Roles for Women
Before the nineteenth century,
among the aristocracy, neither men nor women needed to do manual work.
Among the rest of the population who did, the burden of survival
required both sexes to work, although mostly at different tasks.
working people, the Industrial Revolution separated the workplace from
the home, and by the middle of the nineteenth century the idea of separate spheres began to grow—that men belonged in the public
world of business and government, and that women belonged in the home.
At the same time, the concept of ‘home’ gained a new meaning.
Because of its separation from the world of business, the home was
increasingly seen as a haven from the stresses and harshness of the
outside world. Women had the responsibility for creating a beautiful and
peaceful environment and for raising a family of healthy, well-behaved
children. Women were trained to be pleasant, charming, and supportive of
their husbands. As one historian has written, women were expected to
"exercise constant patience and forbearance in spite of narrow
means, inconvenient houses, crying children and preoccupied
But the greater opportunities
available to men in the nineteenth century did not go unnoticed by
and education. While most women accepted a domestic role, some
wanted to be more than wives and mothers. Florence Nightingale, the
founder of modern nursing, wrote "What am I that their [other
women's] life is not good enough for me? ... why...cannot I be satisfied
with the life that satisfies so many people?"
In the 1800s many women from more prosperous families began to
seek outside employment, often in jobs such as nursing or teaching that
extended their domestic role beyond the home.
As these women sought meaningful employment, it became clear that
their educations had not prepared them for practical work. In the 1860s
the British reformer Jessie Boucherette founded a school in London to
give "a solid English education to young girls and teach older
women to write a letter grammatically, to calculate rapidly without a
slate, and to keep accounts."
Although by the late 1800s most European nations provided free
primary education to both girls and boys, advanced education for women
was limited and controversial.
By the 1890s the demands for entry to higher education were heard
across Europe. In 1865 the University of Zurich became the first
European university to admit women.
In 1876 Russian universities were opened to women, although women
were banned again from 1881 to 1905 because a woman had assassinated
Tsar Alexander II.
In Britain, the University of London allowed women to earn degrees in
1878; the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, on the other hand,
allowed women to attend lectures – but did not begin granting them
degrees until after the First World War.
Growing Importance of Science
The 1800s were also a period
of advance in natural science. New discoveries in the biological and
physical sciences dramatically changed how Europeans understood the
natural world and their place in it.
France, Louis Pasteur identified microorganisms as the causes of many
contagious diseases. He
developed vaccines against anthrax in sheep, cholera in chickens, and
rabies in animals and humans.
The Austrian botanist Gregor Mendel discovered how genetic traits
passed down from generation to generation.
Societies also discovered the connections between poor sanitation
and disease, which led the installation of modern sewer systems and
water treatment plants.
The English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) had perhaps the
greatest impact. While a student at Cambridge, he sailed around the
world on the Beagle, gathering
data on the flora, fauna, and geology of the lands he encountered. He
then spent the next twenty years of his life studying the natural world,
and in 1859 he published a synthesis of his ideas, On
the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection.
Darwin argued that species (groups of living things with shared
traits) were in a perpetual struggle for survival with other species. Those adapted to the environment in which they found
themselves survived to reproduce and pass their adaptation to their
offspring. This process he
called natural selection and in the descent of new species from older ones
Darwin traced the evolution of living things.
the idea of evolution had been proposed earlier by the Enlightenment
thinkers Montesquieu and Diderot, Darwin was the first to provide
scientific evidence of it.
Darwin's theory, which made humans a form of evolved animal, made
him instantly famous and controversial, since his evidence implied that
human beings were not the special creation of a God.
New findings in geology that proved life on Earth, and the Earth
itself, to be much older than scriptural dates deepened the challenge to
traditional religious beliefs that Darwin caused.
in chemistry and physics were no less dramatic. In 1800 John Dalton in
England formulated the modern theory of atoms, and by 1869 chemical
elements were classified in the periodic table of chemical elements.
Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity in 1896,
and significant scientific work in radioactivity was conducted
afterwards by Marie Curie.
[Sidebar: Born in Poland in 1867, Marie
Curie (born Manya Sklodowska) moved to Paris at the age of 24 to study
physical science at the Sorbonne. In 1895 she married Pierre Curie, who
shared her dedication to scientific inquiry.
They discovered two new elements, polonium and radium. In 1903,
the Curies shared the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work with
Three years later, Pierre died, and in her later years, she
worked on the application of X-rays to medical diagnosis.
The most dramatic discoveries were in the realm of physics.
Between 1861 and 1873, James Clerk Maxwell of Scotland integrated
earlier discoveries in electricity and magnetism into a set of four
equations. Then in 1887,
experiments failed to detect the "ether," a very fine
substance thought to permeate the universe.
Albert Einstein's 1905 theory of special
relativity explained the universe without ether. Einstein's work showed that Newton's physics could be
contained in a larger theory that explained things Newton's could not.
Max Planck and other physicists discovered that nature at very
small scales also behaved in ways that could be understood only
theories and the "quantum theory" pioneered by Planck and
those who followed him established a fundamentally new view of physical
of the Social Sciences
As scientists made new
discoveries about the natural world, other scholars and researchers
tried to bring a more science-like approach to the study of history and
The German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann (shlee-mahn)
used his personal fortune to fund excavations in Turkey, where he found
what he believed to be Troy in the 1870s.
He also discovered the remains of Mycenae and Tiryns.
Sir Arthur Evans discovered the palace of Knossos on Crete in
1899 and excavated what he called the Minoan civilization.
Schliemann and Evans found that legendary cities and cultures had a
basis in actual history. The
German historian Leopold von Ranke (ron-kuh)
advocated the writing of history from original sources rather than
merely recording second-hand legends and tradition.
The German founder of modern psychology, Wilhelm Wundt (vuhnt), founded the first psychological laboratory in Leipzig
in 1879. He studied how
people processed thoughts, emotions, and experiences.
The Russian Ivan Pavlov demonstrated that behavior could be
conditioned by outside factors in a famous experiment of the conditioned
reflex in dogs.
Sigmund Freud of Austria proposed the more influential idea that
human behavior was heavily influenced by unconscious needs and drives.
The new findings in biology, physics, and psychology had an
unsettling effect on the European world.
Nature and human life now seemed less certain and less possible
to reconcile with religious faith.
The new science was often abused to reinforce social prejudices.
Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, promoted the
"science" of eugenics, which advocated the use of selective
breeding to improve the human species. Supported by biased
anthropological studies, eugenics strengthened discriminatory
assumptions about the inferiority of the poor and of different racial
Going beyond what Darwin believed, "Social Darwinists"
argued that in human life competition between individuals and nations
was a necessary part of the natural order and that only the strong
deserved to survive.
in Art and Literature
At the beginning of the
nineteenth century, artists reacted against the mechanization of the
industrial world. A century
later, artists and writers embraced the industrial civilization around
them and tried to reflect its reality in their works.
the end of the 1700s, artists and writers began to reject the idealized
and rigid forms of neoclassicism. They began to see a new virtue in
nature and in people who lived close to nature, such as farmers and
shepherds. In the early
decades of the nineteenth century, this idealization of nature became a
reaction against the urbanization and mechanization of industrial
society. This reaction became known as Romanticism.
Romanticism exalted the individual person, not as a rational
thinker or free responsible citizen, but as a being who dared to express
"the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings," as the
English poet William Wordsworth proclaimed.
Poets such as Victor Hugo and Charles Baudelaire began to break
the rules of poetry obeyed for generations. The composer Ludwig van
Beethoven changed the structured classical sonata into a vehicle for the
expression of powerful emotion.
During the Romantic period, the novel first became popular as a
literary form. The Gothic novel aroused terror for both the reader and
the novel's heroine, and often these novels were set in the medieval
past. Gothic novels remained popular from the late 1700s until the
mid-1800s, when important writers such as Mary Shelley and Emily Brontë
incorporated Gothic elements into their novels.
In art, painters no longer sought inspiration from the standard
neoclassical subjects of ancient Greece and Rome. Instead, they chose
dramatic and emotional subjects. Eugène
Delacroix represented the clamor and energy of revolution in his 1830
painting Liberty Leading the People. Caspar David Friedrich depicted a solemn
and reverential scene in Cloister
Graveyard in the Snow (1810), while J.M.W. Turner vividly portrayed
the power and fury of a stormy sea in The
Slave Ship (1840).
Romanticism also expressed itself in architecture nostalgic for
the Middle Ages, such as the British Houses of Parliament, built in
1835. The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England, echoed the exotic
style of Islamic architecture with its many domes and minarets.
the last half of the 1800s, though, artists and writers began to accept
the modern world in a movement called Realism. While the Realists also
objected to the harshness and cruelty of the industrial age, they
removed excessive sentimentality from their work and tried to reflect
daily lives. The French novelist Gustave Flaubert (floh-behr)
satirized the morals and manners of the newly prosperous, while in
Russia, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky (dah-stoy-ehf-skee)
wrote sprawling novels filled with violence, love, and family crises
involving people from all social backgrounds.
The Realist novel was a useful vehicle for making critical
observations about society. Tales of cruel working conditions, incessant
poverty, and family breakdowns served as a critique of society. In the
novels Dombey and Son and Hard Times,
Charles Dickens chronicled the hardships of the poor in nineteenth
century England. Anthony
Trollope explored social aspirations of those better-off in
extended to painting. In Burial
at Ormans (1849), Gustave Courbet (koor-bay)
depicted a funeral in a bleak landscape, attended by a group of ordinary
Jean François Millet (mih-lay)
also painted ordinary people, choosing humble French peasants as his
subjects. The Gleaners (1857) depicts three female peasants bent over the
ground in the backbreaking work of gleaning grains from a harvested
The coming of modern photography reduced the demand for portrait
painters. By the late
1800s, many surviving artists abandoned realism to experiment with new
styles. French Impressionists, such as Claude Monet (mon-AY)
and Pierre-Auguste Renoir (ren-WAHR),
used short brush strokes and a mastery of color to depict late
nineteenth century life in paintings dappled with sunlight. While Monet
chose outdoor scenes as his subjects, Renoir specialized in the human
Building changed from traditional stone to dramatic new forms
made possible by the materials of the industrial age. Much of the
building that accompanied industry and urban growth was efficient and
economical but ugly. The
best engineers showed that efficiency, economy, and elegance could
instead reinforce each other. The
Brooklyn Bridge in New York City (1883) by John Roebling, and the Eiffel
Tower in Paris (1889) by Gustave Eiffel, became iconic works of modern
explain the significance of the following:
MAIN IDEA In what ways did the
Industrial Revolution give people more leisure?
In what ways did industrial society change the role of women?
How did new science affect traditional notions of the place of
human beings in the natural world?
Why did the first department stores locate in major cities, such
WRITING TO CREATE
Imagine that you are Leopold von Ranke. In a letter to your
fellow historians, explain why you believe the study of history should
rely on sources rather than on legend and tradition.
Which was the more significant reaction to the industrial
age—Romanticism or Realism? Explain
From the following list,
choose the term that correctly matches the definition
A combination of businesses designed to limit competition.
An early machine that burned coal to pump water more efficiently
Darwin's theory that species succeeded by adapting to their
The 19th-century idea that men belong in the world of business
and government, while women belong in the home.
The process of growing different crops on the same land in
alternate years to preserve the fertility of the soil.
List the following events in
their correct chronological order:
The building boom of the Russian railroad system
The building of the Brooklyn Bridge
George Stephenson tests the Rocket
4. Watt's steam engine
The invention of the telephone
THE MAIN IDEA
How did deforestation affect the British iron industry?
Where did factories locate before and after the availability of
What effect did the migration of thousands of people from the
countryside to the cities affect urban life?
What effect did Russia's geography have on its delayed
How was popular culture shaped by the Industrial Revolution? 
Did the Industrial Revolution improve the quality of life for
people in Europe? Explain your answer.
Could the British have industrialized without an agricultural
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Himmelfarb also notes that one of the problems that public health officials faced during the cholera epidemic of 1848-1849 was the practice of many working-class families of piling manure underneath their windows in the belief that the odor protected them from disease. [see Himmelfarb, note, p. 336]
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Page Smith, 864.
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Page Smith, 876.
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Stearns, The Industrial Revolution in World History, 112. Using the measure of being 50% urbanized as a crude measure.
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Stearns, The Industrial Revolution in World History, 45.
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Peter Stearns, The Industrial Revolution in World HIstory, 105.
Baker, 209. NOTE: The term Football Association was often abbreviated "Assoc.," whence came the word "soccer."
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1. cartel; 2. steam engine; 3. natural selection; 4. separate spheres; 5. crop rotation.
(1769), 3 (1829), 5 (1876), 2 (1883), 1 (1895-1905).
Iron smelting originally depended upon charcoal, a wood product, for smelting. The depletion of the forests led to the use of coal instead of charcoal. However, the coal had to be purified into coke before it could be useful to the iron industry.
Factories needed to be close to water for power before electricity. Afterwards they could be many miles from the source of electricity.
 New migrants lived close together in often squalid housing, with poor ventilation, little sanitation, and no running water. After several decades, governments began to improve conditions.
 Unlike Britain, which had its fuel, resources, and transportation located close together, Russia had to wait for the railroad to connect its resources to cities and overseas markets.
The more prosperous hired servants and could afford to keep women at home instead of in the workplace. The working population had a better standard of living and by the end of the nineteenth century could afford some entertainment and leisure activity.
Possible positive answers could include: the Industrial Revolution improved people's standards of living; living in cities provided more job and entertainment opportunities; because manufactured goods were cheaper, people could buy more items of better quality than ever before.
Possible negative answers could include: people lost their sense of identity with their rural villages; increased pollution and disease in the cities made life hazardous; working conditions in the early Industrial Revolution were harsh.
Possible answers could include: People would have had less incentive to leave the countyside, since most people would still have had jobs as farmers and would need to work to raise enough food for themselves; Britain could have imported food from abroad (and eventually had to do so) but would have had to export more to buy it.