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.
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.