World History



























Industrial Revolution

Machines and factories revolutionized the way people work—a change called the Industrial Revolution.

Midway through the Modern Era, people learned how to make machines move by burning fuels. The first of these machines was the steam engine that burned coal to heat water that made steam that pushed a piston that turned a wheel. Goods that had always been made by hand in homes and shops were replaced by goods made in large quantities at lower cost by machines in factories. Humans had never gone faster than horses could carry them, but now steam-powered trains and ships moved people and goods faster and cheaper than ever before. This technological revolution began in England’s textile (cloth) mills in the late 1700s and spread to other Western nations during the 1800s. These new technologies would soon change how people lived, and they would determine who ruled the world.

The Industrial Revolution affected society in both positive and negative ways. Factories could produce goods more cheaply than hand labor, so people could buy more goods and enjoy a higher standard of living than before. But, factories put many craftspeople out of work. Factories required large numbers of workers, which caused huge migrations of people from the countryside to the cities where they worked long hours for low wages while living in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Even small children worked as many as 16 hours a day becoming so tired they fell into machinery and were crippled or killed.

Industrial Revolution = the monumental changes brought on by the invention of new machines which run on coal and oil; the age of factories; the rapid change from production by hand to production by machines. The dates of this “revolution” are roughly 1800 to 1900.

standard of living = the degree of wealth and material comfort available to a person or community.