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European History: Industrial Revolution (Research Paper Sample)


For this project you will develop an analysis of a topic in European History that explains how historians have thought about that topic and how events worked to influence/change their thinking.

The types of questions you will try to address are these (this list is not all inclusive):

  • What are the “big questions” that shape the study of the topic?
  • How do events create turning points that change the way historians study the topic?
  • Why do historians consider the topic important (and how does that change over time)?

Examples from the Chandler essay:

  • The big questions people have asked about Napoleon were “why did he fail?” “was he a good or a bad man?” “is Napoleon’s career best explained as the result of luck or talent?”
  • People studying Napoleon typically fall into two categories: worshippers and detractors.  Following the Franco-Prussian War the French took a more positive view of Napoleon as a symbol of past greatness.  The World Wars increased the numbers of detractors who cast Napoleon as a warmonger and a figure comparable to Hitler.
  • Napoleon’s influence on Europe as the person who ended the French Revolution while preserving many of its key aspects (esp. nationalism) makes him important.  The challenges of dissecting Napoleon’s career and his character make him fascinating as a topic.

Your assignment is to read 6 review articles addressing a topic from European History of your choosing.  Careful choice of topic is important to the success of this effort.  A topic that is too narrow will be hard to find articles for while a topic that is too broad will not offer clear answers to the questions you are trying to answer.

Topics must be approved before you begin your search for sources.

Your articles should cover a range of time periods: do not find 6 reviews all from the same year or decade.  Try to space them out so you can get a sense of change over time.

Using your research you will write an essay of 2-3 pages in which you explain how historians view your topic and how their thinking has changed in response to events.


  • Use 12 point font.
  • Title your work.  Titles should be interesting and descriptive, not stark and utilitarian.
  • Include a bibliography listing your sources in Chicago Style format
  • Include appropriate footnotes in Chicago format.
  • Your paper is not required to be argumentative, but often the best historiographic essays offer a thesis rather than just reporting.

European History: Industrial Revolution
The history of the world has been long and winding and there have been several activities that have shaped to world to be what it is today. Industrial revolution is one of those “key breaks” in history that define our lives. Industrial revolution was the most important episode to ever take place from the 18th century and yet there are still questions on why it is started in Britain and what caused it. The big questions that have been asked about it were “why did it start in Britain?” “What were its causes?” “What were its major impacts?” In the 1820’s, the fact that industrial revolution started in Britain was attribute to security and political liberty that was well documented in the Bill of Rights, together with the various geographical and economic features. Industrial revolution in Britain was also attributed to demography, transport, commerce and agriculture that made it possible for Britain to undergo industrial revolution. However, the fact that industrial revolution started in Britain left several people puzzled because the general agreement is that they were never that superior when it came to “macro-inventions” and many people believed that only things invented in France and worked in England were considered perfect. It was not until in the 1930’s that the macro-economic effects of the industrial revolution were eminent in Britain. It was evident that there was an improvement in the living standards as one of the effects but previous researchers have overblown the extent of the impact

Those studying industrial revolution fall into two main categories. The first is those who believe that industrial revolution was as a result of changes in British society and economy and those that believed that it was due to technical changes in certain industries such as iron and cotton industries. The people in the first category believe that social and economic factors such as living

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