The Industrial Revolution: The Beginnings of the Modern Era

Many historical events can be linked to the beginning of the “modern era,” but no development continues to impact and shape the contemporary world like the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution affected nations everywhere and ultimately created the world as we know it today. As Peter Stearns said, “Industrialization was the most fundamental force in world history in both the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, and it continues to powerfully shape the twenty-first” (1). The Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point in history, influencing almost every aspect of daily life and now its effects are so seamlessly woven into our everyday lives that we often forget about how long ago it all began.
Before delving completely into the Industrial Revolution, the term “modern era” needs some boundaries because it could be used to describe quite an extensive timeline in history. We can distinctively tell the differences between the modern world from the ancient or medieval worlds, however when does the modern era begin and are we still in it? The modern world can usually be considered the result of a deliberate change made by humans to better their living conditions; this can consist of advances in a wide range of areas including, but not limited to, politics, industry, society, technology, culture, etc. Generally, the modern time period can be broken up into two distinctions: “early modern period” and “late modern period.”
The “early modern period” can be considered the age of revolutions, including the French Revolution and American Revolution, or the moments of political and economic change that lead up to the Industrial Revolution. For our purposes we’ll be focusing mainly on the “late modern period,” because...

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...ld is a world made and remade by the Industrial Revolution” (#41).

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Barzyk, Fred, and Eugen Weber. “42. The Industrial World.” The Western Tradition. Boston, Mass: WGBH, 1989.
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Lane, Peter. The Industrial Revolution: The Birth of the Modern Age. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1978. Print.
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Stearns, Peter N. Industrial Revolution in World History. 4th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2012.

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