industrialrevolutionV2ByGalvin.doc - The Industrial Revolution and Its Educational Impacts Patrick Galvin TEL 502 Fall 2003 2 Introduction The

industrialrevolutionV2ByGalvin.doc - The Industrial...

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The Industrial Revolution and Its Educational Impacts Patrick Galvin TEL 502 Fall 2003
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Introduction The Industrial revolution can be described over-simply as the period in history when people applied power to manufacturing machinery. As with many historically significant technological advances, an invention of necessity has lead the way to pervasive application. To more fully describe the era one might include the significance of economic democratization that took place. Mass production of goods allowed average people previously unheard of leisure. Industrialization allowed for mass expansion of a productive middle class. One could parallel the switch from agrarian to industrial economies with the switch from monarchies to democratic government. It is difficult to place an exact date on the beginning of this era, but one can look to the earliest application of machine power to work formerly done by human power. Life before the Industrial Revolution On the eve of the Industrial Revolution, less than 10 percent of European people lived in cities (Rempel, 2001). Small towns and villages were the homes of people that spent their days farming. The industrious few produced enough crops to sell or trade surplus, but most grew just enough for their families. These people made their own clothing, furniture, and tools from raw materials produced on farms or in forests. Of the manufacturing occurring at this time, a portion was taking place in guild shops. Guilds were groups of craftsmen that produced specific goods. The master of a guild passed on his knowledge of a skill, such as blacksmithing, over a period of years to a trainee called a journeyman. Leatherworking, jewelry making, pottery, and cloth making were among the categories of guilds. Most manufacturing of the pre-industrial era occurred in rural homes. Under this “domestic” or “cottage” system families were hired by merchants to produce goods. Entrepreneurs, as they were called, supplied raw materials to workers in their homes and collected the finished products for later sale. The majority of this work was accomplished by hand using crude tools, however waterwheels furnished some power when available. Most people’s lives revolved around the agricultural seasons – planting, cultivating, harvesting, and processing the harvest. Living under the constant threat of failed crops, life was hard and worrisome for most. The distribution of wealth was extremely unequal as only the very elite had the luxury of extra income. The governments of most European countries were monarchies so only a select few had any political leverage. Overall the masses worked very hard for very little. 2
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The First Signs of Change The early 1700’s ushered in a period of mechanical refinement where the production of devices such as clocks could be made available to the typical people. Keeping time is such an omnipresent part of our society it is hard to believe that people a few hundred years our prior used the position of the sun in the sky to plan a days events without actually knowing what “time” it was. The majority of people thought that a pocket watch must indeed be
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