Engines of Mischief

Technology, Rebellion, and the Industrial Revolution in England, 1817-1818

By Louise Blakeney Williams, Brendan Palla, Megan Squire

Engines of Mischief

Approx. 152 pp., 8 x 10, 6 halftones, 1 maps, notes, bibl

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-8354-6
    Published: October 2024

Reacting to the Past

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Engines of Mischief explores the day-to-day labor, economic, political, and social climate at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in Manchester, England, between 1817 and 1818. Using new economic theories of the time, parliamentary commissions, and news reports, students will engage with crucial issues of the day, debating factory conditions and child labor; the role of the government in the economy, taxation, workers’ unions; and the extension of political rights down the social hierarchy.

In the game, by assuming the roles of historical actors from various classes of society, students are faced with choices about how to live and prosper during this period of great technological, economic, and social transformation. Will the working class violently resist new technology in factories, form unions, or join radical political clubs to improve their working conditions and protect their rights? How best will middle-class entrepreneurs run their enterprises; will they provide fair treatment to their workers or simply maximize their profit? How will the aristocrats maintain their power in government and society? Will they support the middle or the working classes?

About the Authors

Louise Blakeney Williams is professor of history at Central Connecticut State University.


For more information about Louise Blakeney Williams, visit the Author Page.

Brendan Palla is associate professor of philosophy at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University.


For more information about Brendan Palla, visit the Author Page.

Megan Squire is deputy director for analytics at the Southern Poverty Law Center.


For more information about Megan Squire, visit the Author Page.