Welcome to Roubaix, France!

Roubaix, France - 1854

After your immediate departure for Paris, you arrived in Roubaix on Monday afternoon, 6 March 1854, by way of the newly constructed railway that finally reached across the entire landscape of the French countryside. As you gazed through the window of your train car, the countless stacks of smoking chimneys along the busy canal immediately caught your attention, as well as the swarms of people coming and going, laboring like a colony of worker bees in a kind of rhythmic unison. What a magnificent sight of modern industry! As you exited the train car, something else struck you as you stepped onto the platform. The smell was unbearable and oppressive, the air floating in a heavy haze. You cough slightly as you inhale its thickness. So this is the "Manchester of northern France": the center of France's wool industry.

As you strolled the side streets and city squares, you also noticed another element of change in Roubaix's industrial society: the explosive growth of working class residential districts. To depict these urban living conditions as appalling and detrimental to one's health would be an understatement. Something occurred to you as you witnessed such squalor - something that wasn't completely rational or even empirically verifiable. However, it was a truth that seemed undeniable: the conditions of one's environment directly correlated to one's chances of finding happiness.

But what was the lawful equation for determining the role played by one's environment? Was there a formula for determining such a correlation?

One thing was clear: More research was needed, and what a perfect place to continue that endeavor!

While observing the sights in Roubaix, France, take some time to research more information about the Industrial Revolution and its impact on European societies. If you plan to depart from Dunkerque, select at least 2 of the following sources to read and/or view for purposes of making a slide show or Powerpoint about the Industrial Revolution that incorporates information from the sources you've selected. The assignment is worth 5XP. For those planning to depart from Calais, your ship has been delayed, so you have a little more time to dig a littler deeper: pick at least 3 of the following sources (for 10XP) or 4 (for 15XP) to read and/or view for purposes of making a slide show or Powerpoint about the Industrial Revolution that incorporates information from the sources you've selected. Those that choose 4 sources will earn either their badge of competency or their badge of expertise (depending on what they earned already) as a scholar of the industrialism.

1. 1833 Factory Act

2. YouTube documentary “Industrial Revolution” from BBC

3. Freakonomics episode on “I, Pencil” | YouTube video on “”I, Pencil” | “I, Pencil” by Leonard E. Read (1958)

4. Chapter 6 “The Industrial Revolution and the Triumph of the Bourgeoisie” from The Age of Revolution and Reaction, 1789-1850 by Charles Breunig

5. Chapter 2 “The Industrial Revolution” from The Age of Revolution, 1789-1848 by Eric Hobsbawm

Don't get too lost in your research though. After all you have a ship to catch on 8 March 1854, so make plans to depart sooner than later!

Calais, France Dunkerque, France


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