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Western History - Essay Example

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The Industrial Revolution occurred roughly from the middle of the 1700s into the late 1800s (“Introduction”, 2001), introducing a new world view that challenged traditional social structures and providing opportunity for the enterprising common man at the same time that it…
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Western History
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Western History

In this switch, there was a great deal of social upheaval as people living in these changing times began to question the status quo. Social class structures were beginning to break down as common men were able to make fortunes in industry and landowners found it more and more difficult to keep the idyllic life they’d constructed alive. Women gained greater freedoms as more job opportunities came their way. Although these weren’t the equal rights position of today, women were at least given an option when it was necessary for her to earn a living wage. The great migration from the country to the city was an expression of a people ready for a chance to better their futures, an expression of hope for a greater tomorrow for their children. This period is also characterized by widespread colonization in numerous directions. Englishmen were still relocating to America seeking their fortunes, but also had the option of retaining their English citizenship by going into Africa, India or even Australia. For many, it proved to be just so, for many others, it proved to be their destruction, for men and women.
The biggest benefits the Industrial Revolution introduced to society were also the biggest setbacks. Stories existing out of the middle ages are full of epic battles, travels through sparsely populated country, images of vast forests and romantic tales of knights and ladies. This is contrasted sharply against the images of Victorian Industrialization with its smokestacks, grimy streets and poisonous air. Machines began taking on more importance than people as the massive in-pouring of country citizens all seeking their fortunes provided ample replacements for those who could not keep up. Societal norms were breaking down as accountability began declining. This was because younger sons and daughters, as well as those with more disreputable reputations, found a means of escaping their sometimes ... Read More
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