Author Topic: Biggest social change in 19th Century  (Read 13668 times)

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Offline Phidippides

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Biggest social change in 19th Century
« on: May 13, 2007, 09:31:42 PM »
I saw this question posed over at AHF and decide to pose it here because it's a good question.  What changed society more in 19th Century America - the Civil War and Reconstruction or the Industrial Revolution? 
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses" ~Juvenal

Offline Wally

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Re: Biggest social change in 19th Century
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2007, 09:51:56 PM »
....  What changed society more in 19th Century America - the Civil War and Reconstruction or the Industrial Revolution? 

I/R. As it helped drive the mechanism that made the Civil War impossible to escape. As I see it, without it the north would have been an agrarian society like the south only based on staple, rather than cash, crops.
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Offline DonaldBaker

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Re: Biggest social change in 19th Century
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2007, 09:56:46 PM »
I put my .02 cents in over there.....let me know if anyone responds six months from now. :-D

Offline Wally

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Re: Biggest social change in 19th Century
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2007, 09:59:31 PM »
I put my .02 cents in over there.....let me know if anyone responds six months from now. :-D

I like it!
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Offline Phidippides

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Re: Biggest social change in 19th Century
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2007, 11:24:58 PM »
Let me mention what I mentioned over there.  The Civil War and Reconstruction likely had a larger social effect on parts of the South than the Industrial Revolution.  In this sense, it is the thing that was more influential.  At a localized level the CW/Recon. was a shift in political, economic, and cultural norms.  In rural or agrarian areas the Industrial Revolution would have been less pronounced than in other, more urbanized areas. 

However, I do think that overall the Industrial Revolution led to greater social change in America.  It also led to significant changes across the spectrum in economics, politics, and culture, as likely in religion as well.  Trade was made more efficient by the changes brought from the IR, America as a nation was able to prosper, and militarily it developed to the strong point it was at by the time of the Spanish American War.  Simply put, I don't think that the Civil War/Reconstruction affected the entire nation in the same way that the Industrial Revolution did.
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses" ~Juvenal

Offline Wally

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Re: Biggest social change in 19th Century
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2007, 12:15:55 AM »
.... However, I do think that overall the Industrial Revolution led to greater social change in America.  It also led to significant changes across the spectrum in economics, politics, and culture, as likely in religion as well.  .... I don't think that the Civil War/Reconstruction affected the entire nation in the same way that the Industrial Revolution did.

Nor the world.

In a nut shell the I/R makes us the consumer society we are today and gives us a true middle class with discretionary income and the leisure time to spend it. Marx' communist revolutions never worked in industrialized nations because the upward mobility that was present in them took the impetus, that is, the need to artificially redistribute wealth (the land in feudal or semi-feudal agrarian societies) away.

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Offline Stumpfoot

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Re: Biggest social change in 19th Century
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2007, 01:09:18 AM »
As a whole My vote goes for the I/R. Like wally said it made us what we are today and I beleive it's effects are more apparent then what was left behind by the Civil War. Not Belittling the war at all, it certainly had it's effect and even so today it had changed who we are and the very course of this nation.
History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time. It illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity - Cicero

Offline Phidippides

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Re: Biggest social change in 19th Century
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2007, 12:12:24 PM »
I think it's clear that the Industrial Revolution has changed society more if we look at all of history, but the original question dealt with change of 19th Century America only.  So separating the effects of the IR from the 20th Century (e.g. no internet, no planes, largely no automobiles, etc) from the effects that were experienced during the 19th Century, the answer is different.

In other words, if you were a commoner living from 1830 to 1890, what would have had a bigger change on society from your perspective?  As I mentioned previously, I think the answer would depend on where you lived in America.
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses" ~Juvenal

Offline Stumpfoot

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Re: Biggest social change in 19th Century
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2007, 12:31:50 PM »
Well if your family had participated in the war (and especially if someone died during the war) Then one might say it was the civil war.
History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time. It illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity - Cicero

Offline CaptDreyfus

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Re: Biggest social change in 19th Century
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2009, 12:58:01 AM »
Excellent question. The Industrial Revolution had a more significant social change and, as we know, led to many social reform movements. But as was said previously, it can also depend on where you lived at the time.
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Biggest social change in 19th Century
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2009, 09:53:13 PM »
Industrial Revolution.

Offline Lujack

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Re: Biggest social change in 19th Century
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2009, 10:50:58 PM »
You can't really separate the two like that.  The Industrial Revolution drove the Civil War; the Civil War helped spread the Industrial Revolution throughout the country.

After all, a Southern victory in the Civil War meant that the agrarian society of the South would have still been profitable for another generation or so.  That would significantly delay the industrial revolution in the South, and it would have a radically different character (being manned by slaves or slaves-in-all-but-name) when it happened.

Offline Wally

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Re: Biggest social change in 19th Century
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2009, 08:08:50 AM »
Well put! Shows the interconnectedness of events and movements in history. Cheers; very well put.
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