Late 1700’s – 1800’s Western Civilization Writing Assignment (L75)

1.) What, in a nutshell, was the Industrial Revolution?

The Industrial Revolution was the immersion of people in the late 17th to mid 18th centuries into great new technological advances, and manufacturing processes. Factories and other large-scale production mechanisms became the new standard as opposed to previous time consuming, home-based methods of production.

2.) What was the standard-of-living debate?

The standard-of-living debate was a great disagreement (in the mid to late 1800’s mostly) that focused on whether the industrial revolution did more help or harm to the people it touched. It is a general consensus among people today that it did in fact benefit the average person, and now the argument has taken a new position; when did the quality of life improve for the average person during the Industrial Revolution? According to ‘optimists’, the standard of living began increasing by the 1820’s, 10’s, and maybe even earlier for some individuals/families. ‘Pessimists’ however tend to argue that this change didn’t even begin to occur until about 30 years later in the 1840’s and 50’s.

3.) What were the different arguments that combined in Britain to pave the way for the abolition of slavery in that country’s overseas colonies?

There were many different arguments that were used in the process of the abolition of slavery in Britain that also seeped into the minds of those in neighboring countries. The four key arguments were based around natural rights, humanitarian ideals, economics, and national security. These were the combined understandings that humans are humans, regardless of color, and they deserve equal rights and to be treated in a humane manor (humanitarianists were not necessarily fighting for the abolition of slavery as much as the humane treatment of slaves; they wanted abolition in the long-run). This argument also held that the economy did not rely slavery to run correctly. Lastly, the national security argument began as a rebuttal to the claim that slave ship runners were getting important experience that could be useful in the navy one day. It was discovered in fact that the conditions of slave ships was actually sickening and, in some cases, killing sailors. This argument quickly caught the interest of parliament and spread like wildfire among abolitionists.


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