Christian History Institute

Sharing our story of faith across the ages

items tagged with industrialization

Magazine Issues


15 Jan 2013

Recommended resources

by the Editors | Issue 104

Books, essays, dvds

• G. K. Chesterton preached Distributism throughout his works. In particular, see his Collected Works, vols. 5–6, devoted to his political and economic writings, as well as What’s Wrong with the World (available on its own or in volume 4 of the Collected Works).

• Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness. Dorothy Day’s autobiography explains how she and Peter Maurin founded the Catholic Worker movement.

• Donald Demaray, ed., The Daily Roberts. Readings for every day of the year from B. T. Roberts, one of the founders of the...

Read More
15 Jan 2013

The economy of God

by Greg Forster | Issue 104

IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, when factories drew workers away from the countryside and the moral boundaries of ancient agricultural traditions, many lived in squalid conditions and drank horrendously. Most employers didn’t take much care of them.

One inventor of the modern factory, though, was a Christian entrepreneur. His pottery works succeeded because he treated workers with dignity, providing them with clean houses, medical care, and better wages—and firmly cracking down on alcohol use, absenteeism, and laziness. His endeavor was more...

Read More
15 Jan 2013

Common wealth?

by Gari-Anne Patzwald | Issue 104

IN 1899 members of the Woman’s Commonwealth of Belton, Texas, took their considerable fortune (approximately $200,000) and retired to the Washington, DC, area to pursue cultural interests. But it had been far different at the start. 

In the 1860s, the commonwealth’s founders had left their comfortable middle-class lives, and often their husbands, to form a self-sufficient, celibate community of members who received direct revelations from God under the leadership of Holiness Methodist visionary Martha McWhirter. Eventually, though, they...

Read More
15 Jan 2013

Godless capitalists?

by Jennifer Woodruff Tait | Issue 104

Young Arthur Guinness (1725–1803) was an up-and-coming businessman in 1760s Dublin. He had come to the big city from Celbridge, a small town about 14 miles away, with £100 in his pocket. Already brewing beer from a secret recipe which he took to his grave, he seized the opportunity in 1759 to buy (in the words of one of his biographers) a “poky little brewery” at St. James’s Gate on the banks of the River Liffey. Within five years he acquired a wealthy wife, an impressive country home, the first two of his ten children, and a great deal of...

Read More
15 Jan 2013

What happened when the world transformed

by the Editors | Issue 104

The world changesthe church responds

1708   Jethro Tull invents mechanical sower for large-scale planting in rows  

1709   Abraham Darby improves iron ore smelting by using coke for fuel

1712   Thomas Newcomen invents the first practical steam engine

1746   John Wesley publishes Primitive Physic

1765   Spinning jenny invented, initiating the automation of weaving  

1760s   Arthur Guinness inspired to begin charity to the poor of Dublin

1772   Extension of Bridgewater Canal in NW England kicks off   “canal mania”  

1784   Andrew Meikle develops a...

Read More
15 Jan 2013

Houses of hospitality

by Edwin Woodruff Tait | Issue 104

BY THE AGE OF 25, journalist Dorothy Day (1897–1980) had survived the San Francisco Earthquake, imprisonment on a trumped-up charge of prostitution connected with socialist activism, an abortion, a failed marriage, and drinking bouts in Greenwich Village with Eugene O’Neill. Yet the decisive factor that converted her to Catholicism in 1922 was none of these—it was an immense surge of joy at the birth of her child. 

Day wrote later that there was nothing to do with such gratitude but to offer it to God. Her common-law husband not only...

Read More
15 Jan 2013

Industrialization—Editor’s Note

by Jennifer Woodruff Tait | Issue 104

MACHINES TAKING THE JOBS of humans. The sudden ability for instantaneous communication across continents. People abandoning the countryside for the big city. New inventions at every turn. A growing gap between rich and poor. The world shrinking daily. 

The early twenty-first century? Yes, but those words could just as easily describe the Industrial Revolution that, over 150 years ago, began changing the social and working lives of Americans. Industry after industry developed new tools to do workers’ jobs, tools that in some cases supplanted...

Read More
15 Jan 2013

Industrialization—Did you know?

by the Editors | Issue 104

rise of the machines 

PREVIOUSLY, INDUSTRIES “put out” jobs to workers, giving them raw materials and coming around to collect the results. Industrialization centralized this whole process. According to one history, the number of handloom weavers in Lancashire dropped from 240,000 in 1820 to only 188,000 by 1835. Their wages decreased from more than  three shillings to just over two for a piece of calico. By 1861 only 7,000 hand weavers remained. The number of powerlooms increased from 2,400 to 400,000 in the same time period.  


Read More
28 Feb 1997

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

by the Editors | Issue 53

I N THE LATE 1700s, Britain became the most powerful nation on earth, an empire upon which the sun literally never set. Wealth poured in from colonies abroad and revolution in industry at home. Many of the destitute rose out of poverty and became members of the middle class. The rich grew vastly richer, enjoying lavish homes and extended cruises.

However, the Industrial Revolution also created a tyrant: the modern factory. Confined within its foul, noisy, and grim atmosphere, men, women, and children toiled 16 hours a day, six days a week....

Read More
29 Jan 2013

Wealth, socialism, and Jesus

by Janine Giordano Drake | Issue 104

“I believe in God, the Master most mighty, stirrer-up of Heaven and earth. And in Jesus, the Carpenter of Nazareth, born of the proletarian Mary, toiled at the work bench, descended into labor’s hell, suffered under Roman tyranny at the hands of Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. The power not of ourselves which makes for freedom, he rose again from the dead to be lord of the democratic advance, sworn foe of stagnancy, maker of folk upheavals. I believe in work, the self-respecting toiler, the holiness of beauty, freeborn...

Read More


  • Entertaining Angels $15.99

    Entertaining Angels

    • DVD
    • 112 Minutes
    • Drama
    • All
    • 1996
    • Paulist Pictures

    The Dorothy Day Story shows how she served New York's poor and became a voice for the voiceless. The film shows Dorothy’s struggle as she establishes the Catholic Worker movement and commits herself to a lifetime of peacemaking, battling for justice, and hands-on service to the poor.

  • Christian History Magazine #104: Christians in the New Industrial Economy $5.00

    Christian History Magazine #104: Christians in the New Industrial Economy

    • Magazine
    • 2013
    • Christian History Institute

    Christians in the New Industrial Economy. How did the church respond to widespread changes brought on by the Industrial Revolution?