From around 1760 to 1840, the Industrial Revolution drastically impacted the daily lives of millions in Europe and all around the globe. The innovations that were introduced to the world throughout this period changed not only the means of manufacturing but also the lifestyle of the population and the labor force. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the European economy heavily focused on hand-made products and agrarian lifestyles. This changed with an explosion of mass production in factories, the growth of major cities, an unprecedented population growth, and the rise of the middle class. Although humanity took technological steps forward, the unsafe and unsanitary working conditions resulted in a social movement that featured increased demands for the protection and well-being of laborers.
Students will have the opportunity to explore some of the leading figures of the Industrial Revolution and examine how these figures contributed to this technological explosion. In order for students to display their full understanding of the unit, teachers are encouraged to use the “Industrial Revolution: Before and After” activity as a summative assessment to determine if students grasp the true depth of change that took place during and following this extraordinary time period.