12) Industrial Rev & Economy

Child Workers

Mill workers in a Lancaster S.C. cotton mill. (Public Domain photo. Info can be found here)

One thing that many people wish schools taught was the history of economics. Since I completely agree with this sentiment, I cover the basics of this history in this unit. We start with the rise of the industrial revolution and the advancements that are associated with this movement. Special attention is given to connect the advancements with the way students live their lives today.

After that we cover the economic philosophies of mercantilism, capitalism, communism, and socialism. All four ideas are covered by showing both the positive and negative outcomes of these concepts (in an effort to be fair). This has a tendency to be difficult for students, so I try to connect these comments to current issues by showing current events videos on the topics. We often have mini-debates about the positive or negative consequences of each of these philosophies. 

This chapter is one that I am still in the process of developing from the content I have in other formats. Until I am able to make this a Web-based content structure (like that of Ch. 11) I have provided a link below to my class notes. This is only accessible to students in my course, but this will change soon.

Essential Questions

  1. Explain the ways in which the “free market” is seen as the best possible system of economics by those who believe in capitalism? Make sure to explain how the system works in doing so.
  2. How did communism develop over time in the beliefs of Marx? In what way did he believe this was inevitable?
  3. In what ways could it be said that the Industrial Revolution is among the most important developments in human history?
  4. In what ways is socialism a far more complex term than most people realize when they use it?
  5. Why is the term exploitation such an important aspect of both socialism and communism?

Chapter Resources

Chapter Notes

Review Assignment

Review Material