Unit 2: The Industrial Revolution


Unit 2: The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transport, and technology had a profound effect on the socioeconomic and cultural conditions starting in the United Kingdom, then subsequently spreading throughout Europe, North America, and eventually the world.

The Industrial Revolution marks a major turning point in human history; almost every aspect of daily life was eventually influenced in some way. Most notably, average income and population began to expand exponentially. In the two centuries following 1800, the world’s average income increased over 10-fold, while the world’s population increased over 6-fold.

Starting in the later part of the 18th century (1700’s), there began a transition in parts of Great Britain’s previously manual labor and animal based economy towards machine-based manufacturing. It started with the mechanization of the textile industries, the development of improved iron manufacturing and the increased use of refined coal.Trade expansion was enabled by the introduction of canals, improved roads and railways.

The introduction of steam power fueled primarily by coal, wider use of water wheels and powered machinery helped drive the industrial revolution.  These effects spread throughout Western Europe and North America during the 19th century, eventually affecting most of the world, a process that continues as industrialization. The impact of this change on society was enormous.

The first Industrial Revolution, which began in the 18th century, merged into the Second Industrial Revolution around 1850, when technological and economic progress gained momentum with the development of steam-powered ships, railways, and later in the 19th century with the internal combustion engine and electrical power generation.


Essential Questions

  • What factors led to the rise of the Industrial Revolution in England?
  • What kind if impact did the Industrial Revolution have on society and the relationship between classes?
  • What important demographic, political and social changes occurred as a result of the Industrial Revolution?
  • Is Progress at the price of human suffering justified?  

Key Themes

  • Industrialization
  • Necessity is the Mother of Invention
  • Costs of Industrialization
  • Accumulation of Capital



Unit 2 Industrial Revolution Notes