Industrialization has been one of the most significant processes of the past millennium, and its effects remain controversial today. The Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the mid-1700s and eventually spread to encompass the globe. In this course we will examine the unique preconditions, the unprecedented rise and decline, and the lasting effects of the first industrial revolution and the first industrial society, modern Britain. We will explore the characteristics distinguishing “modern” industrial societies; how economic upheaval produced struggles over political power among different social groups; and how understandings of government’s legitimate responsibilities and the state’s role in economic systems changed over time. We will also address impacts on the family and gender, and on relations between the state and individuals, as well as Britain’s changing relations with the continent of Europe, its empire, and the wider world.
HIST 321A: Britain 1700 – 1914: Industry & Empire