With the industrial revolution in full swing, the shift from an agrarian to an urban industrial economy was nearly complete by the beginning of this period. The lower levels of society were faced with poverty, crowding and the insecurity of urban living. This led the way to the first attempts to establish labour unions as a means for regulating pay and hours in factories.

Though this period is not traditionally thought of as one of unrest, the last half of the time frame shows the Western World in preparation for war. The Boer War and several other conflicts throughout Europe begin to convince people that war is imminent, and consequently, the world is holding its collective breath in wait for The Great War.