Hist 110 American Civilization I Instructor: Dr. Donald R. Shaffer Upper Iowa University
Lecture 11 Development of American Industrialization The industrial revolution came to the United States between 1790 and 1820 The change involved a shift away from the artisan system involving skilled labor to unskilled or semi-skilled labor involving the outwork system and/or division of labor The system eroded the artisan system and artisans’ control over the circumstances of their work, as it increased the supply of manufactured goods and lowered their price Increasingly, manufacturers made use of the factory system in production The factory system brought all production under one roof A factory did not necessarily mean the use of machines, although increasingly mechanization went along with factories Outwork often involved families working together at home
Lecture 11 British Competition in Textiles The greatest early mechanized industry was textiles, an industry the British pioneered but eventually faced stiff American competition The British initially enjoyed a strong competitive advantage, despite what amounted to intellectual theft by their own people like Samuel Slater who brought textile production to the U.S. Cheap labor, cheap trans-Atlantic shipping, and low interest rates meant the British could buy American cotton, pay transportation costs both ways, and still sell textiles for less in the U.S. than American manufactured textiles Americans competed by: Improving on the British technology brought over by immigrants They also tapped into a new cheap labor sources like young rural women and after them immigrants Tariffs on British textiles also helped The Lowell Mills of the Boston Associates
Lecture 11 American Contributions to Industrialization Americans not only improved on British industrial technology but made their own original contributions Americans pioneered the development of machine tools Eli Whitney More famous for the cotton gin, he promoted the development of interchangeable parts He used this concept to fulfill a contract for the delivery of muskets to the U.S. government American System of Manufacturing Whitney’s use of interchangeable parts was more fully developed by Whitney’s partner, John H. Hall, at the federal armory at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia into what became known as the American System of Manufacturing Hall’s innovation was the creation of machine tools, machines that created parts with very exact specifications Although developed for firearms, machine tools had wide applications Eli Whitney Harper’s Ferry Armory
The industrial revolution fundamentally changed the nature of work As outwork and the factory system spread, increasingly workers in manufacturing labored for others for wages rather than for themselves This was a contradiction of “Artisan Republicanism”: the notion that the stability of the republic needed independent artisans who were not dependent on others for their living While artisans in certain fields that were not easily industrialized retained something of the ideal of artisan republicanism, in many fields the prestige of artisans fell victim to “deskilling” To defend their interests artisans began to form labor unions (often judged by the law as criminal conspiracies) and promoted the labor theory of value Lecture 11 Origins of the American Labor Movement The factory system meant workers came under the control of the clock and machines Click here for a humorous illustration
Lecture 11 The Transportation Revolution Americans in the late 1700s were poorly connected Interior transportation, away from waterways, in particular was slow, expensive, and unreliable Turnpikes Building “turnpikes” or toll wagon roads was the initial way Americans tried to improve the transportation network The federal government also built the National Road, which began in 1811 and by 1839 had reached Illinois Canals Transportation on turnpikes was still slow and expensive which encouraged building canals—essentially artificial rivers Erie Canal: built through upstate New York it connected the Hudson River and Lake Erie—a tremendous success The success of the Erie Canal led to a canal building boom in the early 19 th century—none of which was a successful as the Erie Canal Route of the National Road
The problem with canals was that they were not only expensive, but could not go where there was not a water source They were vulnerable to flooding, low water periods, and closure by freezing during the winter The revolutionary solution was the steam railroad Invented and perfected by the British, it was adapted and improved by Americans for whom it was an ideal solution to cover the vast interior distances of the U.S. By the 185os, the canal boom was over and the railroads were on their way to supplanting canals in moving freight and passengers, a trend which came to the fruition by 1860s The railroad boom was the making of Chicago as a center of trade and manufacturing Lecture 11 Railroads The first American steam Locomotive built in 1825 by John Steven
Lecture 11 Urban Expansion In the period before the Civil War, the United States experienced a period of tremendous urban expansion The expansion started in the fall-line river cities which were ideal locations for water-powered factories Cities also developed on rivers west of the Appalachian to serve the needs of commerce, especially the transshipment of goods Midwestern cities also emerged before the Civil War, initially as commercial centers fed by steamships and then railroads, but also later as places for manufacturing The old Atlantic seaport cities continued to grow, as they were still important centers for foreign commerce, and increasingly as centers of commerce and manufacturing The one part of the country that experienced little urban growth was the South, where much of the cotton trade was river borne which brought it down the New Orleans for transshipment
Lecture 11 Changes in Social Structure The industrial revolution in the U.S. had the effect of fragmenting the country into distinct classes and cultures Wealthy Americans increasingly set themselves apart, no longer laboring or associating with ordinary people A middle class also developed with its own identity and values Social Stratification The income gap between the richest and poorest people increased Increasing numbers of people did not own their means of production Nonetheless, despite the fears of political activists early in the 19 th century, lack of economic independence did not reduce wage earners to political pawns, slavishly following the bosses’ lead in voting There also developed a working- class identity and culture
Lecture 11 Reform and Benevolence America in the early 1800s was a vice- ridden nation, especially when it came to the consumption of alcohol, which on a per capita basis was at a historic high These vices and other faults in American society became the concern of a reform movement, the “Benevolent Empire” They encouraged people to stop drinking and pursued all manner of initiatives aimed at perfecting American society Other reforms included abolitionism (ending slavery), prison reform (to rehabilitate prisoners), asylum reform (to insure the insane were treated humanely), as well as other reforms aimed at dress, diet, etc These reformers were closely tied in to the 2 nd Great Awakening, often being converts and leaders of the revival While the leaders of reform were men, the troops of the Benevolent Empire were mostly women A “Bloomer”: an famous example of (failed) clothing reform
Lecture 11 Industrialization and Revivalism A major target of revival and reform were the industrial working class For example, the famous revival leader Charles G. Finney moved his efforts in New York State’s “Burnt District” into industrial towns like Rochester Business leaders liked his message of salvation and reform because Finney encouraged workers to stop drinking and become moral and punctual employees While Finney’s revival found converts, he also encountered opposition from Rochester’s skilled workers, who felt that the revivalist’s priorities were wrong They believed what Rochester needed was higher wages for workers and better schools for their children, not the promise of a better life to come in the hereafter Some scholars have longed charged Finney and the business leaders with using religion for “social control” Charles G. Finney Antebellum Rochester, N.Y.
Lecture 11 Immigration and Cultural Conflict The United States experienced a significant wave of new immigrants in the decades preceding the Civil War The bulk of the new immigrants between 1840 to 1860 came from: Ireland (about 2 million): fleeing the potato famine of the 1840s Germany (1.5 million): exiles from 1848’s failed revolution and seeking economic opportunity England/Scotland/Wales: seeking economic opportunity The arrival of the Irish in particular was controversial because they were Roman Catholic and poor The 2 nd Great Awakening had stirred up Protestant fervor and helped resurrect residual anti-Catholic feelings These feeling manifested themselves in anti-Catholic writings, political movements (“The Know Nothings”), and even riots Anti-Irish cartoon What messages does it seek to convey?
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