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Unit 3: Revolutions and Reaction

Lesson F: Costs and Benefits of Industrialization in The West

Activity 2: Reforming the Industrial World

In the first half of the 19th century the working class faced many challenges including crowded living conditions, dangerous workplaces, low pay, and a lack of benefits. Because of these problems, individual leaders, groups, and organizations worked for political and social reforms that would bring greater democratic and economic changes.

Before organized reform movements, there were attempts to change working and living conditions. Workers went on strikes and fought with company guards or police. As the century progressed, workers formed organizations known as labor unions that sought to win concessions from management both through the threat of strikes and through a process called collective bargaining.

Social reformers fought for reform of working conditions, wages and benefits, health care, sanitation, and public safety. Political reformers fought to end corruption in government and increase democratic representation throughout Europe and the United States.

Directions: Use the following simulation to learn more about the role of the reform organizations. As you view examples of issues in need of social and political reform, think about what possible solutions could have been used by reform leaders and organizations to address each issue. Record responses to the questions for each issue on your student resource.

Download Icon Download the Student Resource: Industrial Reform Graphic Organizer (doc).

The turn of the 20th century welcomed some of the greatest industrial and scientific advances in human history. Social and political reformers generally fought for the rights of the working class and city dwellers. However, as industrialization spread to countries in eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, reform failed to have the same impact. These countries lacked the democratic governments and organizations to achieve these reforms.

Go on to the next activity to learn more about the extent of democracy achieved during the industrial era in Britain and France.