The Profound Impact of the Industrial Revolution on Hiking

Monday, November 26, 2018

Arguably the single most important event to spur the development of hiking and walking for pleasure was the Industrial Revolution. The social changes brought about by industrial development were profound: from the rise of great cities that quickly became islands of filth, dirty air and overcrowding; to the creation of the factory system that resulted in long hours at monotonous jobs in harsh working conditions. From the factory system the labor movement would evolve, which eventually led to higher incomes, shorter work weeks and the introduction of vacation time. Around this same timeframe industrial societies saw significant improvements in transportation, which gave people much greater freedom of movement. The rise of great cities also spurred demand for more wood products, which resulted in large swathes of forests being cut to fulfill those demands. The Industrial Revolution also gave rise to Romanticism and Transcendentalism, as well as club culture. My new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, explains how all of these trends helped to shape the sport of hiking from the late 1700s through the World War II era. The book is now available on Amazon:

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

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