Industrialization Document-Based Question (dbq)



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Industrialization Document-Based Question (DBQ)



Historical Context

The Industrial Revolution, which began in England in the late 1700s, had a wide range of positive and negative effects on the economic and social life of the people of England. Industrialization spread, and eventually raised the standard of living for many people in Europe and North America in the 1800s. Yet the process also brought suffering to countless workers who crowded into filthy cities to toil for starvation wages.


Part I Directions: This collection of documents deals with the social, economic, and political effects of the Industrial Revolution. You must analyze the collection of documents. As you answer the questions about each document in this packet, take into account both the source of the document and the point of view that the creator of the document was presenting.
Part II Directions: You will now use the documents, as well as what you have learned in class, to write a complete essay proving your answer to the question below. (None of the phrases/sentences in the background information of the documents packet can be used in your essay.)
The essay MUST:

  • Be logically organized

  • Address both sides of the question (Refute the side you disagree with.)

  • Contain an introduction that states your answer to the question (your thesis) and previews the organization of the paper

  • Include information from the documents AND specific details from your own knowledge outside of the documents. Cite your source & be sure to put the document number in parenthesis after sentences in which you summarize the main idea of a document.

  • Contain at least three body paragraphs, with at least one document discussed in each body paragraph

  • Include a conclusion that summarizes the major points of your paper in different words

  • Utilize correct spelling, grammar and punctuation



QUESTION: Overall, did Industrialization have a greater positive or negative effect on society?
You will be graded according to the Expository/Argumentative Essay Rubric. Staple this sheet and the rubric to your essay before you turn it in.

Pre-Writing Activity #1: Brainstorm – Based on what you have learned in class, make a list of all of the positive effects of Industrialization. Then make a list of all of the negative effects of Industrialization.


Positive consequences of Industrialization

Negative consequences of Industrialization








Pre-Writing Activity #2: Thesis Statement & Road Map – Below are two options for the thesis statement and road map sentences of your introduction. You MUST use one of these options in your paper. Put a star next to the option you think you will choose. (It is okay for you to change your mind after analyzing the documents.)
OPTION #1: While some might argue that Industrialization had primarily negative consequences for society because , it was actually a positive thing for society. Industrialization’s positive effects were and .

OPTION #2: While some might argue that Industrialization had primarily positive consequences for society because , it was actually a negative thing for society. Industrialization’s negative effects were and .

Industrialization Document Packet
Document #1: Excerpt from a letter by Lowell Mill girl, Mary Paul, to her father

(World History: Patterns of Interaction, 2009, p. 741)


Background: Mary Paul worked in a textile factory in Lowell, Massachusetts. In an 1846 letter to her father in New Hampshire, the 16-year-old expressed her satisfaction with her situation at Lowell.

I am at work in a spinning room tending four sides of warp which is one girl’s work. The overseer tells me that he never had a girl get along better than I do … I have a very good boarding place, have enough to eat … The girls are all kind and obliging … I think that the factory is the best place for me and if any girl wants employment, I advise them to come to Lowell.

1a. What kind of work is Mary Paul engaged in?

1b. Does Mary Paul like or dislike her job? GIVE SPECIFIC EVIDENCE from the excerpt to support your choice.

1c. What is a reason that supports your choice in 1b that she did not specifically mention?


1.d Is this document better evidence for the POSITIVE or NEGATIVE effects of industrialization? WHY?

Document #2: A poem from the period.

My Boy
I have a little boy at home,

A pretty little son;

I think sometimes the world is mine

In him my only one …

[Before] dawn my labor drives me forth

Tis night when I am free;

A stranger am I to my child;

And he one to me.

2a. According to the poem, what impact did industrialization have on the lives of many parents?

2b. Is this document better evidence for the POSITIVE or NEGATIVE effects of industrialization? WHY?



Document #3: Early Industrial Plant

(source: http://www.encarta.msn.com/find/MediaMax.asp?pg=3&ti=1741500823&idx=461530293 )



Background: As the Industrial Revolution spread to the United States, plants such as this textile factory appeared. Soon the production of exports outpaced import of goods, and by the late 1800s America emerged as the world’s largest industrial power. This success did not come without a price, however, industrial growth brought with it a host of environmental pollution problems.

3a. What positive impacts would this factory bring?


3b. What negative impacts would this factory bring?

3c. Is this document better evidence for the POSITIVE or NEGATIVE effects of industrialization? WHY?



Document #4: Graphic showing different methods of manufacturing

Source: Encarta Online Encyclopedia

http://www.encarta.msn.com/find/MediaMax.asp?pg=3&ti=1741500823&idx=461517335

4a. What are these two graphics comparing?

4b. How did mass production effect the availability of consumer goods?

4c. Is this document better evidence for the POSITIVE or NEGATIVE effects of industrialization? WHY?

Document #5: Quote from The American Nation regarding the impact of Railroads.
Background: During the 1800s the amount of railroad track increased dramatically in Britain, the Continental Europe, and the United States. This increase is a result of the Industrial Revolution.

Railroad travel was fast. Going to San Francisco from New York City took only six days. Before the railroads, the trip took months.

5a. According to the information above, how did railroads effect people’s lives?

5b. Why would the number of railroads increase during industrialization?

5c. Is this document better evidence for the POSITIVE or NEGATIVE effects of industrialization? WHY?


Document #6: Picture of an Urban Tenement.

Source: Encarta Online Encyclopedia

http://www.encarta.msn.com/find/MediaMax.asp?pg=3&ti=1741500823&idx=461573903
Background: As countries industrialized, they also urbanized. This was a result of people moving to cities in large numbers in order to gain factory jobs.

6a. What were living conditions like for many urban dwellers?
6b. What positive details do you see in the picture? What negative details do you see?
6c. Is this document better evidence for the POSITIVE or NEGATIVE effects of industrialization? WHY?
Document #7: Testimony on Child Labor in Britain. From Elizabeth Bentley in Report of Parliamentary Committee on the Bill to Regulate the Labour of Children in Mills and Factories (1832).
Background: During the 1800s there were few laws in Britain regulating the employment of children. Elizabeth Bentley testified before a parliamentary committee investigating conditions among child laborers in Britain’s textile industry.


COMMITTEE: What age are you?

BENTLEY: Twenty-three

C: Where do you live?

B: At Leeds.

C: What time did you begin work at the factory?

B: When I was six years old.

C: At whose factory did you work?

B: Mr Burk’s.

C: What kind of mill is it?

B: Flax mill.

C: What was your business in that mill?

B: I was a little doffer.

C: What were your hours of labour in that mill?

B: From 5 in the morning till 9 at night, when they were thronged.

C: For how long a time together have you worked that excessive length of time?

B: For about a year.

C: What were the usual hours of labour when you were not thronged?

B: From six in the morning till 7 at night.

C: What time was allowed for meals?

B: Forty minutes at noon.

C: Had you any time to get your breakfast or drinking?

B: No, we had to get it as we could.

C: Do you consider doffing a laborious employment?

B: Yes.


C: Explain what you had to do.

B: When the frames are full, they have to stop the frames, and take the full bobbins off, and carry them to the roller, and then put empty ones on, and set the frame going again.

C: Does that keep you constantly on your feet?

B: Yes, there are so many frames and they run so quick …

C: You are considerably deformed in person as a consequence of this labour?

B: Yes I am.

C: And what time did it come on?

B: I was about 13 years old when it began coming, and it has got worse since; it is five years since my mother died, and my mother was never able to get me a good pair of stays to hold me up, and when my mother died I had to do for myself, and got me a pair.

C: Were you perfectly straight and healthy before you worked at a mill?

B: Yes, I was as straight a little girl as ever went up and down town.

C: Were you straight till you were 13?

B: Yes, I was.

C: Did your deformity come upon you with much pain and weariness?

B: Yes, I cannot express the pain all the time it was coming.

C: Do you know of anybody that has been similarly injured in their health?

B: Yes, in their health, but not many deformed as I am.

C: It is very common to have weak ankles and crooked knees?

B: Yes, very common indeed.

C: This is brought on by stopping the spindle?

B: Yes.


C: Where are you now?

B: In the poorhouse.


7a. Give SPECIFIC examples from the interview to support whether industrialization was POSITIVE or NEGATIVE. Explain how the examples prove this.


Document #8: Child Labor photograph by Lewis W. Hine, circa 1908.
Background: Between 1908 - 1912 Lewis Hine worked as the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC). During this time he documented child labor in American industry in an effort to support the NCLC’s efforts to end the practice.

8a. Is this document better evidence for the POSITIVE or NEGATIVE effects of industrialization?

8b. List specific details from the photograph that support you position.
Document #9: This excerpt is from The Working Man’s Companion subtitled The Results of Machinery, Namely Cheap Production and Increased Employment. It was published in 1831.

You are surrounded, as we have constantly shown you throughout this book, with an infinite number of comforts and conveniences which had no existence two or three centuries ago and those comforts are not used only by a few, but are within the reach of almost all men. Every day is adding something to your comforts. Our houses are better built, your clothes are cheaper, you have an infinite number of domestic utensils. You can travel cheaply from place to place, and not only travel at less expense, but travel ten times quicker than two hundred years ago.

9a. According to this author, were the effects of the Industrial Revolution positive or negative? Cite three details from the excerpt to support your answer.





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