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Unit 3: Revolutions and Reaction

Lesson F: Costs and Benefits of Industrialization in The West

Review and Assessment


Despite the many benefits that the Industrial Revolution brought to Western society, its negative impacts fell disproportionately on the lower classes. Living and working in crowded cities initially resulted in poor conditions for many people in Europe and the United States. Nonetheless, the positive benefits of Industrial Revolution eventually dramatically raised the standard of living for all classes in Western and Central Europe. Advances in transportation and communication helped improve daily life overall. The middle and wealthiest classes undoubtedly benefited most from industrialization. Technology provided luxuries such as electrical power and motor vehicles. Despite overall economic advances, however, a growing income gap remained between skilled, white-collar workers, and semi- and low-skilled laborers. Moreover, many workers demanded higher pay, better safety, and new forms of legal protection against perceived abuses. To address these problems, governments enacted new law and workers formed labor unions. In the 19th century, social, economic, and political revolutions affected traditional ideas and practices, and included the abolition of slavery.

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Classroom Activity - Costs and Benefits of Industrialization

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Activator: The World 1800-1914

Directions: The interactive map from the opening of the lesson containing key events from 1800-1914 is linked above. In previous activities, you learned about the costs and benefits of industrialization in Europe and the U.S. Select each continent and review events that are related to these developments. Discuss the questions that follow as directed by your teacher.

  • How do the events listed show the costs of industrialization in different regions of the world?
  • How could individuals and groups act to address these costs?
  • How could government act to address these costs?
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Select the link to review the Discussion Scoring Tool (pdf).


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Industrialization proceeded at the cost of immense human and natural resources. Mainly the working class, who lived and worked in conditions unfit for healthy life, felt these costs. The middle and wealthy classes enjoyed the benefits including higher education, profitable businesses, and modern transportation systems. Most people of the world were influenced by fundamental changes to the standard of living. Think about these changes as you complete the BCR below.

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Brief Constructed Response - Costs and Benefits of Industrialization

How did many people of the world pay the costs of industrialization?

  • Describe the impacts of industrialization in both urban areas and areas controlled by industrialized countries.
  • Explain how political and social reforms addressed the challenges faced by the lower classes.
  • Include details and examples to support your answer.

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