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EUH 4930: Special Topics

The Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States in the 19th Century:
A Comparative Study

Professor Steven Kreis

Florida Atlantic University
Fall 1990

COURSE OBJECTIVES:  This course is designed to introduce the interested upper level undergraduate and graduate student to the economic history of Europe and the United States during the 19th century.   The approach is comparative so that we can obtain a more general picture of the industrialization of western nations, c.1760-1914.  We shall focus on the causes and origins of the Industrial Revolution---as a question of historiography---as well as the patterns of economic growth exhibited by England, the United States, France and Germany.   Other topics of discussion will include: labor history, technological innovation and technology transfer, capital growth, entrepreneurship and what we shall be calling an "industrial culture."  Above all, it is my sincere hope that the student will come to understand the Industrial Revolution as a historical event as well as the focus of a continuous historiographical debate.


Tom Kemp, Industrialization in Nineteenth-Century Europe
Friedrich Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England
Alan Dawley, Class and Community: The Industrial Revolution in Lynn
Herbert Gutman, Work, Culture and Society in Industrializing America

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:   This course is intentionally designed as a seminar.  What this means is that you will be required to complete about 100 pages of reading per week---sometimes less, sometimes more.  When you come to class you should have completed your assignments and be prepared to discuss them.  Failure to complete your reading will mean an incomplete class experience.  I will usually present either one or two formal lectures per evening and there will be plenty of time for discussion both during and after the lectures.  My lectures, furthermore, will either pinpoint large or general trends or, will focus on smaller details of interest both to myself and the course.

Because this course is designed as a seminar, you will have to do quite a bit of reading.  The four titles listed above are your general texts.  Other readings will be assigned on a weekly basis and in most cases I will have the books and/or articles available each evening.

There are no examinations in this course!

You will, however, have to submit TWO research papers.  These papers should be between 7-10 pages and typed.  The tentative topics are as follows:

Paper 1: Choose a technological innovation and explain how  that innovation revolutionized production in a particular industry. An example would be the steam     engine, power loom or interchangeable parts.

Paper 2: Choose a country and explain the pattern of economic growth exhibited by that country. In other words, discuss how that country moved from a traditional economy to industrial capitalism.

I will, of course, elaborate on these topics in the next few weeks. Regardless, you should begin thinking about both topics as soon as possible.

A STATEMENT: Contrary to popular belief, economic history can be interesting. However, it is a difficult subject and at times the reading will be so dense and boring that you may have wished you never signed up for this course. Just the same, I am convinced that the Industrial Revolution as well as its companion and antecedent, the Scientific Revolution, have done more to fashion the modern world than just about any other historical event. Although the topics may seem both "heady and heavy," I do want to have some fun. With this in mind, you will find the class extremely informal and hopefully informative.


January 9 Course Introduction and Outline: A Brief Overview of European and American Industrialization
January 16 What is an Industrial Revolution? Patterns of Economic Growth -- Marx and the Historians
January 23 The First Industrial Nation: The Origins and Causes of the Industrial Revolution in England
January 30 Science, Technology and Entrepreneurial Skill in the Industrial Revolution
February 6 The Paradox of French Industrialization
February 13 Industrial Germany and State Intervention
Comparative Labor History -- Engels and The Condition of the Working Class in England
February 27 No Class -- Spring Break
March 6 The United States -- Was There an Industrial Revolution?
March 13 Technology Transfer -- the United States and Great Britain
March 20 Work, Culture and Society in the United States
March 27 Adam Smith Comes of Age -- The 19th Century Science of Political Economy
April 3 The Second Industrial Revolution
April 10 European Imperialism
Toward the 20th Century and the Great War -- The Decline of Industrial England
April 27 Semester Ends -- Grades Due

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copyright � 2000 Steven Kreis
Last Revised -- April 13, 2012