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Lesson Plan

World History: The West and the World (CHY4U)

Change in History
The Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions


This Lesson is one of Several that Use the
Scarborough Immigrant Experience as a Learning Resource

(Copyright D. B. McCowan, P.Eng.)

Feb. 14 2005
Woburn Collegiate, Scarborough
Class Discussion


  • Put the complete curves, with labels, on the chalkboard ahead of time
  • Distribute Agenda
  • Distribute Handout 1: Raw Curves (with only Curve Names and the dates) and Keywords list


Short Introduction: Changes that Brought Scottish Immigrants to Canada

  1. About the Instructor, Bruce McCowan. Author of... hold up ...
    1. Fairs and Frolics: Scottish Communities at Work and Play
    2. To Sustene the Personis: The Agricultural Revolution (began 1750)
    3. When the Ground Fails: An Economic Watershed (Industrial Revolution began 1780)
    4. Catching Up with the Market Economy
    5. Neigh the Front: Exploring Scarboro Heights (Scarborough’s Scots)
    6. The Lowland Clearances -- BBC Radio Scotland Series and followup book were based, in part, on McCowan family research in Scotland and Scarborough
  2. What do these roads in Scarborough have in common -- McCowan, Neilson, Little’s?
  3. And what do these schools in Scarborough have in common -- David and Mary Thomson Collegiate, AlexMuir School, Heron Park School?
    1. All were named after early families from the Scottish Lowlands
  4. Why did the McCowans, Neilsons, Littles, Muirs, Herons and Thomsons come to Scarborough?
    1. Dramatic economic change in Lowland Scotland brought them here in the early 19th century.
  5. In this class we will discuss some of these changes in Lowland Scotland and the associated forces and responses.
  6. In the Agenda handout you’ll notice that, toward the end of the class, groups of 4 will dramatize aspects of our study of change.

    Principal Curriculum Element -- Change in History

  8. The Lesson relates specifically to page 177 of the Ontario Curriculum, Grades 11 and 12: Canadian and World Studies policy document -- "Change in History"
  9. This Lesson, "Change in History: The Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions", essentially using some aspects of the Scarborough Immigrant Experience as a Learning Resource
  10. What is the connection between Chapter 4 in your text -- the "Enlightenment" -- and Chapter 7 -- "Industrialization"?
    1. To a large extent, the industrial revolution in chapter 7 may not have happened so quickly in Britain without the more educated, enlightened and liberated lower and middle classes as discussed in chapter 4.
  11. Do you think that what we talk about today (the lowland Scotland experience) is perfectly in sync with what happened elsewhere in Europe or even in Great Britain?
    1. No, there are always regional and local variations of a phenomenon, each with different relationships with other areas and other people.
  12. For expample, hold up these publications:
    1. To Sustene the Personis: The Agricultural Revolution in Cumnock began in 1750
    2. When the Ground Fails: An Economic Watershed -- In Lesmahagow, the Agricultural Revolution began in about 1800
    3. These two places are only 20 miles apart in southwest Scotland


    The Essence of Change

  13. What is "Change"?
    1. Something is altered.
  14. What is always involved in a change?
    1. Time -- an independent variable in a mathematical relation.
  15. What are some extreme cases of the rates of change?
    1. Evolution -- slow
    2. Revolution -- fast
  16. What makes changes happen?
    1. Certainly people and their personal goals
    2. Community goals, often government-driven
  17. What general term can we apply to those things that cause change?
    1. Force
    2. Various other forces cause changes -- social, economic, political, military
  18. What are some good outcomes of change or why do we want change?
    1. Increased economic efficiency when looking at the broader community
    2. Greater fairness
  19. What could be some detrimental outcomes of change?
    1. Some people get left behind in poverty
  20. How can we minimize the detrimental outcomes of change?
    1. Obtain feedback and make improvements to the process of change
  21. Pick a word to describe this
    1. Regulate -- to modulate or adjust or control a process
  22. Do you think these good and bad outcomes are more dramatic if the rate of change is more revolutionary than evolutionary?
    1. More dramatic if revolutionary
  23. Which is more difficult to regulate -- revolutionary change or evolutionary change?
    1. Revolutionary (little opportunity for feedback and regulation)


    Handout 1 -- Raw Curves -- Changes in Two Inter-Related Economic Sectors

  24. You (Students) should "mark up" Handout One with the important items that we will briefly discuss
  25. Scope of our discussion of change -- Primarily land management, agriculture and technology (1700 to 1920 approx) but we will focus on the time period 1750 to 1880
  26. Tell me about the video you saw on Feb. 9/05
    1. James Watt, steam power, other aspects of the industrial revolution
  27. Where was Watt born?
    1. Scotland
  28. Where is Scotland?
    1. Look at map on page 245 of the text
  29. The fact that Scotland does not even show up in the texbook’s index does not mean that nothing important happened here.
  30. Lowland Scotland had many coal mines, factories and farms.
  31. Look at textbook index for "industrial revolution"- pg 611
  32. Is Agricultural Revolution listed in the index?
    1. No
  33. Does this mean that agricultural change was more evolutionary than revolutionary all over Europe?
    1. Of course not.
  34. How does James Watt tie in with our class today about "change"
    1. Agricultural revolution released a huge labour force to the factories that were powered by steam.
  35. The 4 raw curves in Handout One are approximations for Lowland Scotland, but quite realistic.

    Trends, Relationships and Forces

  37. Compare Curves 1 and 2 (number of people in agriculture vs industry). What do you notice?
    1. Number of Agricultural workers is decreasing, while industrial workers are increasing
  38. Compare the slope of Curve 1 before 1750 to the slope from 1760 to 1810. What does this tell us?
    1. Seems to suggest that 1760 to 1810 was the period of agricultural revolution.
  39. Who do you think was responsible for the more rapid decrease in agricultural workers during this 50 year period and why?
    1. The upper class landowners
    2. They needed more income from their lands, so started consolidating farms together into more economic and profitable operations. The peasant class was essentially evicted.
  40. Why did the upper class need more income?
    1. Partly to support their involvement in Britain’s expanding empire around the world.
  41. Where are Curves 1 and 2 actually similar and why?
    1. After 1900, number of people decreases in both
    2. Mechanisation on the farms and assembly lines and mass production in the factories.
  42. Define efficiency.
    1. Getting more outputs from relatively smaller inputs.
  43. What is one goal of Change?
    1. Increased efficiency
  44. Comparing Curves 1 and 3, when does agricultural efficiency first begin to increase most dramatically
    1. 1760 approx and then again in 1910 approx
  45. Apart from the reduction in people working in agriculture, what drove the first period of improved efficiency (that is, the late 18th century)?
    1. Improved understanding of soil science such as the need to neutralize acidic soils, allow the soil to rest, spread cattle manure to add organic material
    2. Better drainage
    3. Some implement improvements such as the iron plough
  46. Who do you think was most likely to understand these soil improvement concepts and see the results of changing techniques -- the landlord or the farmer who actually grew the crops?
    1. Probably the farmer
  47. Professional agriculturalists also emerged during this period of rapid land-use change
  48. The estate property managers or "factors" compared notes and instituted many of the improvements
  49. Land surveyors helped implement the new field system
  50. Enlightened farmers also contributed
  51. Keyword List: Define "Trend"
    1. Direction of Change
  52. What is the trend in agricultural revenue before 1750?
    1. Modestly increasing
  53. There is evidence in Ayrshire that at least 5 McCowan tenant farmers were renting adjacent farms decades before the landlord ever thought of consolidating farms
  54. Honestly, who do you think came up with the good ideas that enabled local improvements in agriculture?
    1. Probably some of the more progressive farmers


    Lowland Clearances and Responses to Change

  55. Who has heard of the Highland Clearances?
    1. A few students probably
    2. The evictions of Scottish Highlanders are fairly well-known and popularized
  56. Who has heard of the Lowland Clearances?
    1. Probably none
  57. Evictions from the Lowland farmland was profound in last half of 18th century
  58. Where do you think these lowland peasants and lower class farmers went?
    1. City factories as labourers in the cotton mills
    2. Planned cooperative villages such as those of Robert Owen
    3. Army, navy
    4. The Millwrights were the engineers of the industrial revolution.
    5. Emigration to North America
  59. What were some of the other responses by these people?
    1. The more enlightened and ambitious entered the professions or became people of business


    Cause and Effect: Repeal of the Corn Law

  60. Compare Curves 3 and 4 -- Revenue from Agriculture vs Industry
  61. Are they more similar than different? And why.
    1. Generally more similar because of increasing efficiency.
  62. But when are curves 3 and 4 profoundly different?
    1. Around 1850 agricultural revenue dropped relative to industry revenue
  63. What could have possibly happened to cause this?
    1. Repeal of the Corn Law in 1846, thus removing the policy which protected Britain’s agricultural industry.
  64. What would be the effect of removing the agricultural trade protection?
    1. Increased imports of food would drive food prices down.
  65. Who would benefit from this?
    1. The poorest consumers, especially those affected by the potato blights during this period. This was the period of the potato famine.
  66. The protectionist Corn Law was a key policy of the Tory (conservative) government. It had been opposed by many for three decades because it held food prices high. What do you think finally enabled Parliament to repeal the Corn Law?
    1. Perhaps the Great Reform Bill of 1832? -- Parliament had been modified dramatically in 1832 when some of the tenant class were given the right to vote. But it was actually the Tories who repealed the Corn Law, not the left wing party, the Whigs.
  67. Do you suppose the protectionist Corn Law could have been repealed without the help of the oppostion party?
    1. Very probably not.
  68. What was the real "cause" the led to repeal?
    1. The threat of the potato famine was the ultimate trigger to repealing the Corn Law.
  69. Keyword List: What general term can we give to the Potato Famine?
    1. Upset Condition
  70. What was the longterm significance of the Repeal of the Corn Law?
    1. Repeal of the Corn Law was a profound change in Britain’s unwritten constitution. No longer was agriculture preferred over industry. This set Britain on course as a free-trading nation.



  71. Refer to Handout One: Why did I plot these four curves on the same sheet?
    1. To show relationships and connections between the parameters that we are studying. We can’t study a parameter in isolation from other parameters in a system.
  72. Was Handout One an effective concept map?
  73. Your In-Role Scenarios will look at relationships and connections.




With a month's notice, Bruce McCowan, P.Eng.,
is available to teach this Lesson.

The Scarboro Heights Record V13 #2