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Chapter 17: Factories, Cities, and Families in the Industrial Age

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Discussion Questions

  1. The Industrial Revolution Begins

    1. What differences between the Western and non-Western worlds may have led to the industrial revolution emerging first in the former?
    2. In particular, what combination of advantages allowed Britain to experience industrialization first?
    3. Why did Britain have the capital necessary to invest in industry?
    4. How did the Agricultural Revolution help to bring about the Industrial Revolution in Britain?

  2. New Markets, Machines, and Power

    1. Explain the interrelationship between growing markets, inventors, and entrepreneurs.
    2. How did inventions change the way cotton and its products were manufactured? Which were the most important inventions?
    3. In what ways did the production of iron change?
    4. How did steam engines transform the way factories functioned?
    5. What effect did the railroads have on the Industrial Revolution as well as on the landscape?

  3. Industrialization Spreads to the Continent

    1. To which parts of the European continent did industrialization spread from Britain after 1830?
    2. What steps did these governments on the continent take to promote industrialization in their own countries?
    3. Why did countries in southern, central, and eastern Europe remain primarily agricultural and untouched by industrialization?

  4. Balancing Benefits and Burdens of Industrialization

    1. Which group gained most from Britain's newfound prosperity? How did its social situation change?
    2. In industrializing Britain, what was life like for ordinary people? In the factories?
    3. What sorts of insecurities, risks, and lifestyle changes did factory laborers face?
    4. What types of organizations did workers organize throughout this period of industrialization?

  5. Life in the Growing Cities

    1. What factors were responsible for the growth of towns and cities in Europe between 1780 and 1850?
    2. In what ways were the occupations attracting people to towns and cities for work gender specific?
    3. What social problems were emerging in these expanding cities and why was this so?

  6. Public Health and Medicine in the Industrial Age

    1. What health risks faced the new working class?
    2. How did medical commentators explain the outbreaks of disease plaguing cities?
    3. How effective were the treatments prescribed by physicians in the early 1800s?
    4. How did improvements in European diets help protect public health?
    5. In what ways did European doctors apply scientific methods to medicine and what improvements did this bring?

  7. Family Ideals and Realities

    1. As the roles within the family changed, what values did the middle class associate with the proper family life?
    2. Describe the separate spheres of men and women and the responsibilities associated with them.
    3. What occupations were available to women outside of the home? Why were they limited in this manner?
    4. What type of "legal relationship" existed between married men and their wives and children?
    5. How did the lives and options of working and middle class women differ?
    6. How did industrialization change the working class family?


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