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The most momentous development of the last century and a half has been the industrialization off Western society and, more recently, the spread of that industrialization to other parts of the world. No subsequent chapter of this book can be written without taking into account the fundamental cultural transformations involved in the Industrial Revolution and which, since its course is not yet run, are still being involved. Neither the foods we eat, the clothes we wear, the houses in which we live, the vehicles in which we transport ourselves, the amusements through which we seek diversion, the weapons with which we wage war nor the values which guide our lives have been immune from the influence of industrialization, fraught with its possibility of both good and ill for mankind. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section XIV: The Industrial Revolution, Classical Economics, and Economic Liberalism. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.