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Big Era Seven: Panorama Unit

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The Modern Revolution
1750 - 1914 CE

Why This Unit?

All too often, we restrict our study of modernization to the trappings of modernity—industrial capitalism, representative government, and rapid communications. We see societies that most obviously exhibit these characteristics as representing, somehow, our full historical development as a species. Societies that do not match these criteria are deficient or possibly pathological. We do ourselves and our students a great disservice, however, when we adopt this interpretation. In seeing things this way, we miss the fact that the years 1789-1914 witnessed revolutionary change in all parts of the world, not only in those that built factories and had elections. More than anything else, the formation of unequal relationships of dependence between colonizer and colonized changed the world as a whole irrevocably. In fact we cannot separate modernity from this new global inequality.

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Evaluate how effectively each of the four Atlantic revolutions lived up to the ideals of liberty and equality.

2. Describe basic characteristics of the Industrial Revolution, and explain major changes that industrialization brought about worldwide by 1914.

3. Explain that changes occurred gradually, at varying rates, and not necessarily everywhere in the world.

4. Analyze the concept of “progress.”

5. Identify reasons why European countries became colonial powers.

6. Explain connections between nationalism,colonialism, industrialization, and racism.

7. Give examples of the range of attitudes that affected relationships between colonizing and colonized peoples.

8. Describe ways that colonialism led to long-term transformations in the lives of colonized peoples.

9. Evaluate the benefits and costs of colonialism for both the colonizers and the colonized.

Time and Materials

If teachers introduce all the lessons, this unit will take ten to fifteen class periods.

No special materials are needed other than Student Handouts provided in the lessons.

Power Point Overview Presentation for this teaching unit.

Table of Contents

Why this unit?


Unit objectives


Time and materials




The historical context


Lesson 1: The Atlantic Revolutions


Lesson 2: The Industrial Revolution: What Difference Did it Make?


Lesson 3: Wanting to Be Top Dog: Colonialism 1750-1914


This unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking




Correlations to National and State Standards


Complete Unit in PDF format

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