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comicalmayhem's avatar

Events in history that show how independence has evolved throughout society?

Asked by comicalmayhem (809points) May 18th, 2011

I know, weirdly worded question.
And I’m saying like socially, not politically. Today, I’d argue that we have more dependence than ever despite all of our independent freedoms given to us. Here’s a quote from TheAmazingAthiest from YouTube:
“You are completely f**king dependent on society. 10,000 years of social evolution. Yes, I know the human species is older than 10,000 years, but we’ve only been socially evolving for about 10,000 years”(TheAmazingAthiest).
He’s basically saying that we have become completely dependent because we rely on others for almost everything: clothing, food, shelter. We rely on companies and workers to make that stuff for us and we just pay them to do it.
I need 3 events to research for an essay from any point in history that shows the world’s dependence as a whole evolving. My teacher said we can go as far back as ancient Rome, but since my essay revolves around social Darwinism/social evolution, I’d like the events to be within 500 years of Charles Darwin’s life (1850).

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13 Answers

tranquilsea's avatar

I think we’ve always been dependant on “society”. That is what makes us soooo successful as a species. Specialization opened up more opportunities for inventing and discovery. Without it we would still be wandering around hunting and gathering for our nutrition.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Do you want examples of dependence, or independence? I’m confused.

jaytkay's avatar

I’m reading Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West right now.

It’s about how Chicago grew from 200 people in 1833 to over 1.6 million in 1900.

And the central theme is how the city and its surrounding territory were entirely dependent on each other. Illinois didn’t grow from small farms to bigger farms to small towns to medium towns to Chicago.

It all grew together, one big system, part rural and part urban.

Farmers moved in to the Midwest because they could sell their crops to the city, and the city grew because it could buy the crops from the hinterlands and re-sell them to the East. Plus the rural areas bought city goods and lumber the city was gathering from the north woods.

It’s not a quick read, there’s a lot more to it, but that’s the gist of it.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@tranquilsea that would be one of my arguments, but i need events to help prove it
@MyNewtBoobs Either. It’s really the same thing. I want examples of how much our dependence/independence has evolved, judging by how much society depended on each other during that event.
@jaytkay Thanks that’s gonna be pretty helpful. Is there a major or minor event that I could put this under? I guess points in time could be examples too. & this is nonfiction, correct?

BarnacleBill's avatar

Start with the development of the cotton gin, which made cotton a viable clothing material. Then the whole industrial revolutio, the use of water as an energy source to run mills and machinery, steamboats/trains to move goods quickly and cheaply. Waves of immigrants from Germany and Ireland in the 1800’s providing cheap labor. Development of light bulb, electricification of homes.

tranquilsea's avatar

@BarnacleBill you beat me to it. The cotton gin was a huge leap forward. As was the mechanized loom, the bicycle, and the printing press.

jaytkay's avatar

@comicalmayhem Yes, Nature’s Metropolis is nonfiction


Invention of the railroad or its arrival in Chicago.

Industrial revolution, bringing railroads & steamships to carry raw materials, farm products and goods made by the new factories.

Westward expansion of the US population
The center of U.S. population is the point closest to the most people
It moved from Baltimore MD in 1800 to Indiana in 1900

comicalmayhem's avatar

@BarnacleBill Can you explain how that relates to dependence on society & if people became more or less independent with the inventions of the industrial revolution?

BarnacleBill's avatar

You migrate from a self-sustaining agrarian economy – grow the flax/sheep, make the thread, dye the thread, weave the cloth, sew the clothes, hand carve the buttons to buy fabric at the store, sew clothing by hand to buy fabric at the store, sew clothing on a sewing machine to buy premade cothing at the store or through a catalog to buying clothing online 24/7.

Things that you own like dishes moved from wooden trenchers and utensils, to tinware made by a tinker, to china dishes, to plastics.

People have lost the ability to work with their hands and make things, and it has for the most part become a leisure activity.

Mass production has made people independent in the sense that the quality of the food and goods they have are not dependent on their skills to produce them. People are not dependent on their ability to grow food in order to eat. On the other hand, that independence has made society dependent on mass produced goods.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@BarnacleBill I meant with the Industrial Revolution

BarnacleBill's avatar

Which is what I just told you…

comicalmayhem's avatar

@BarnacleBill Alright, nevermind. Your last paragraph pretty much explains that cause Industrial Revolution was a revolution of mass production. Sorry, wasn’t really too clear til I thought for a second about what the IR really was.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@BarnacleBill Thanks. I think the IR is all I need for my independence paragraph. That and maybe the American Revolution/Declaration of Independence

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