"In the final analysis, the Industrial Revolution is about society, not technology. The new power machinery, the steam engine, and the factory system brought radical change to the processes of production, raising both output and productivity to new levels. But that is merely a matter of quantity. What made the change revolutionary were the social and economic transformations through which the new systems of production affected the quality of people's lives. Whether or not they had more in 1850 than in 1760, they lived differently."Do you agree or disagree with this claim about the relation of technology and social change in England during the Industrial Revolution? What evidence from the readings and lectures best supports your position? What evidence argues against it?
|"The factory was more than just a larger work unit. It was a system of production resting on a characteristic definition of the functions and responsibilities of the different participants in the productive process." (David S. Landes, The Unbound Prometheus)|
"While the domestic system had implied some measure of control, 'it was ... an essentially new thing for the capitalist to be a disciplinarian. [...] The capitalist employer became a supervisor in every detail of the work: without any change in the general character of the wage contract, the employer acquired new powers which were of great social significance.' The concept of industrial discipine was new, and called for as much innovation as the technical innovations of the age." (Pollard, "Factory Discipline in the Industrial Revolution", English Historical Review 16(1963), 259; quoting Usher, Intro. to Industrial Hist. of Engl.(1921), 348)Using specific evidence from the readings and lectures, discuss the nature of this new industrial discipline and how it was imposed upon workers in the new factories of England and America. In what ways did the the process of disciplining, and resistance to it, differ among the various sites of nineteenth-century industrialization we have looked at, i.e. the English factory, Rockdale, Lowell, and Harpers Ferry? In what ways were they similar?
Essays are due by 3:00 PM Tuesday, 8 April, in your preceptor's box in the History Department Office, 129 Dickinson Hall. Seniors with theses due during the week of 8 April may have an extension until 3:00 PM Friday, 11 April.