Social Impact of the Industrial Revolution


US History Life Before the Civil War Social Impact of the Industrial Revolution
Students learn about the social class structure that existed during the Industrial Revolution. Then, they learn about the living and working conditions of the working class. Finally, students write an op-ed article about the need for improved living conditions in tenement housing.

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Here are the teacher pack items for Social Impact of the Industrial Revolution:

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the social class structure that existed during the Industrial Revolution. Then, they learn about the living and working conditions of the working class. Finally, students write an op-ed article about the need for improved living conditions in tenement housing.

Objective:

  • Identify the impact of the Industrial Revolution on working conditions, social class, and daily life.


During the Industrial Revolution, America’s cities experienced a rapid change known as urbanization. Urbanization is a population shift from rural to urban areas. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, farming and agriculture had been the primary way of life. Once people began to leave their farms to work in factories located in cities, Americans experienced dramatic changes in living and working conditions.

Objective:

  • Identify the impact of the Industrial Revolution on working conditions, social class, and daily life.
Take a look at these two maps, which show the change in urban population from 1790 to 1890.




Increasing Urbanization, Population Distribution by City Size, 1790 to 1890


Click one of the maps and explore the interactive version to learn about the years in between 1790 and 1890.


What do the maps tell you about the changes that occurred between 1790 and 1890?

Post your answer

Discuss the information found in the maps. Ask students to share their responses to the question. Students may identify a number of important changes including:

  • The number and sizes of the cities grew between 1790 and 1890.
  • The population increased and a growing percentage was located in the larger cities.
  • Larger populations were concentrated around the northeast coastline and around the Great Lakes.
  • Settlers began to move westward and cities in California became more populated.
  • By 1890, the percentage of city dwellers living in cities of 100,000 or more had increased to over 40 percent.
Explain that in this experience students will be learning about the social changes that came about in the United States as a result of the Industrial Revolution.


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