Worlds in Motion: Reform and Revolt in the 19th Century
From the CTY Course Catalog (1999):
When Washington Irving’s Rip van Winkle awoke from his long slumber in 1819, he saw a world transformed. What was once a mainly rural, agricultural society was now a society of urban centers linked together by canals, steamships, and, later, railroads and telegraph cables. The whaling industry was thriving, and fast Yankee clipper ships brought the continents closer together. In an ever-increasing flow, people in Europe and America were migrating from the countryside to commercial centers and mill towns. What they found there, however, was often poverty, not prosperity.
In this class, students study the effects of the Industrial Revolution on politics, the arts, and the fiber of everyday life—moving beyond a simple survey of inventions to look at a world in constant motion. As famine and revolution spread across Europe and Latin America, the United States took its first steps towards abolitionism, women’s suffrage, and other reform movements. Using literature by authors such as Dickens, Whitman, Poe, and Hugo, students consider the development of class consciousness. Through the work of artists such as Goya, Daumier, Homer, Manet, and emerging photographers, they look at how political tumult, urbanization, and westward expansion forever altered the physical and social landscape of the world.