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Assignment: Urban Industrial Society in the Early 20th Century

During the first decade of the 20th century, it seemed that much in the world had changed almost overnight. The industrialized societies in Europe and North America were becoming increasingly urban as people moved to find work in the new factories. Both the change from rural to urban living as well as from agriculture to industrial work had a profound impact on the ways that people lived their lives. Issues like urban crime, poor working conditions, and a lack of rights brought about efforts to address these new problems.

In your Assignment this week, you will gain an understanding of the impact these changes had on ordinary people.

  • Review Chapters 1, 2, the timeline in the textbook, as well as the articles in this week’s Resources to more clearly understand the changes taking place during the time period.
  • Consider the fundamental ways that these changes impacted ordinary people’s lives.
  • Consider what different groups of people did to address the effects of these changes on their lives.

The assignment:

  • Compose a 2-page essay in which you do the following:

Put yourself into the place of an ordinary factory worker somewhere in Europe or North America during the first decade of the 20th century. Although technological innovations had been made during prior centuries that impacted your life, the effects of these have not always been positive.

  • Describe and discuss two important ways in which workers’ lives would have changed due to the changes brought about by industrialization and urbanization.
  • What impact did these changes have on the worker’s lives?
  • Describe and discuss two ways that different groups of people sought to address these problems.
  • Describe the lasting impact of these movements as reflected in the lives of people today. What might be different if these movements had never taken place?
  • Support your assertions by making multiple references to your course readings.

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