Early Industrial Revolution


Currently, the United States has the largest and the most successful world economy that offers valuable collectivistic humanitys achievements to various races. However, its foundations were laid by the stubborn and sturdy pioneers. As a result, it is important to research the history of the early industrial revolution in America and its impacts. The persons who formulated the foundations, shaped and charted the directions for the American industry chose their personal paths, expanded the frontiers of enterprise and blazed their own traits. Not only did the pioneers of the American early industrial revolution recognize the opportunity of the innovation but also created it, mastered it and seized it. Consequently, by taking these actions in their specific field, each innovator personally created the United States we know today. The pioneers of early industrial revolution differed widely among themselves, yet they had several common fundamental characteristics that led to similar positive and negative results of the revolution in different parts of America.

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The Period When the Industrial Revolution Started

The Pioneers of Industrial Revolution in the United States

The pioneers of the early industrial revolution in the United States differed widely among themselves but shared the fundamental characteristic of being innovators. According to Brown and Bigelow, Samuel Slater became the first pioneer of the industrial revolution in America. When Slater was 10 years old, he worked at a cotton mill in Britain. He knew that Americans needed the industrial revolution techniques, but exporting the ideas was illegal in England. Brown and Bigelow state that in 1789, he departed to New York illegally and by 1793, he built and successfully started up the first water-driven textile mill, and by 1800, his technology received many duplications in America. Eli Whitney came up with the idea of a cotton gin that removed seeds from cotton in America after fleeing from Europe during the Napoleonic war. Oliver Evans developed a high-pressure steam engine in 1804 in Pennsylvania . Robert Fulton revolutionized transportation facilities in America by building a steam-powered boat in 1807 and received a sole monopoly right to use the boat as a commercial transport ship. In 1827, Philip Thomas founded the Ohio and Baltimore railroad that became the first railroad in the United States. Philip Tomas introduced steam engine used in railroads locomotives, and by 1836, the trains started going across the route to Washington. Thomas revolutionized transportation in America. In 1831, McCormick invented the reaping machine that simplified the labors of collecting grains and reduced the period needed to collect grains to two days per acre. The innovators focused on revolutionizing transportation and adopting machines for production.

Countries That Initiated the Industrial Revolution

The early industrial revolution began in Great Britain between 1760 and 1830. Britain wanted to monopolize industrial skills and technologies. As a result, it forbade exportation of skilled workers, machinery, and manufacturing techniques. Similar to the pioneers of the industrial revolution in the United States, British pioneers were equally innovators. Britain became the first nation to make the first textile factory that produced the non-food agricultural products in the word. In 1733, James Kay invented flying shuttle, but it found a better use only in the 1760s; still, it was powered by some individuals. Considering the innovatory character of the devices, Arkwrights cotton factory adopted Kays technology and powered it for using water in 1771. Another path-breaking experience was presented by Henry Cort who discovered two methods of water purification called puddling and rolling; he received the corresponding patent in 1785. England stopped importing iron from the Northern European countries and invested in the development of iron industry in England. There was also an improvement of means of powering machines in England. Before the invention of Newcomens steam engine by James Watt, textile factory machines used by Arkwrights cotton factory were powered by rivers. However, after Watts improvement of the steam machines, the necessity of establishing factories over rivers in England seized to exist . By 1829, England began building railroads between Manchester and Liverpool. In 1807, John Cockerill and William Cockerill brought industrial revolution to Belgium, which became the first nation in Europe that started economical transformations. Similar to Great Britain, industrial revolution in Belgium became centered on coal, textile and iron production.

Mechanism Introduced During the Early Industrial Revolution

In the United States, three mechanisms of protection of innovative technologies were employed. According to Bottomley, the three approaches were exploitation lead-time and complementary capabilities, legal mechanisms such as the provision of patents, and secret workings. However, American government believed that protecting secrecy and exploiting lead-time were more important than the provision of patents. As a result, several American individuals were denied the right to receive patent property protection, which was not the case for England. According to Bottomley, in 1836, America refused to offer 20 to 50 patents; such a denial rate was by 6.4% higher when compared to the one in England. For instance, Eli Whitney who invented the cotton gin was denied a patent right after fleeing from England. After long unsuccessful struggles, he returned to Newhaven in 1798. Elis gin became copied in the United States because Americans did not want to miss a chance to use an innovative device. The example shows that America exploited innovative capabilities and lead-time to advance the economy of the state. Bottomley states that cessation in the provision of the patent rights led to the drop in the research and development rate by 5 percent. Bottomley states that the United States gave patent rights majorly to minority industries and machinery such as the pharmaceutical industry during the industrial revolution. Consequently, during the period in question, inventors preferred working secretly instead of relying on patents. America introduced regulations on the patent examination in the First Amendment of the Constitution, according to which it became abandoned in 1793 and replaced by direct registration without examination; this is was conditioned by the fact that it took a lot of time to examine it. However, the mechanism faced challenges due to the provision of suspicious patents such as the patent of beveling gudgeons awarded to Michael Withers in 1827.

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The Effectiveness of the Transition of the Early Industrial Revolution

The Benefits of the Early Industrial Revolution

Various products became affordable in America during the industrial revolution. The use of machines and, consequently, the mass production reduced the manufacturing costs. Trade between the United States and other nations increased along with the advancement of the transportation system. Thomas developed railroads that became used for trade purposes in 1831, while Robert Fulton came up with the inventory of steamboats in 1807 that enhanced river and coastal transportation. Robert Fultons development enabled traveling without dependency on currents or wind. In 1800, the unsafe dirty road could not be used during the bad weathers. During the industrial revolution, the American government built a road that connected Ohio and Maryland. In 1825, America opened the Erie Canal that made it easier to transport goods between Hudson River and Lake Erie. Erie Canal was opened in 1817, and by 1840, the United States had a complete water transport network with Erie Canal, with a distance of only 364 miles. Due to the need to connect production paces and cities, several railroads adopted that eased transportation. America realized urbanization where small villages developed into towns while small cities developed into big and heavily populated cities. Labor increased in Chicago and New York City.

Impact of the Early Industrial Revolution on the Peoples Way of Life

More jobs were created during the industrial revolution that led to the expansion of the middle class. In terms of social changes, women margin in the American society reduced during the industrial revolution. Workplaces that were created during industrial revolution provided a variety of jobs that women could engage in, thereby, reducing the margin that existed between working men and women. Before the industrial revolution, women earned little or did not have jobs at all. However, despite being paid little during the industrial revolution, they had a variety of jobs to choose from. Mary earned less than a dollar for a week, yet, she still recommended her place of work to other girls who wished to join her in Lowell because that was the best place for her. Marys statement in the letter shows that girls in her area earned less than a dollar a week or nothing. Godey's wrote in her book that she believed there was no mentioning about inequality between men and women; women had to work even though their work was not similar to the one men did, but the work was equally noble. Therefore, industrial revolution empowered women in the American society.

The Positive Impact of the Revolution on the American Economy

Trade rates increased due to the rise in the volume of production and increase in the transportation network. Before the industrial revolution, the United States relied on local craftsmen and household manufacturing. However, with the new era of factories, the country started producing items that became shipped to the international markets. The number of factories rose significantly within the American economy. Some Americans state that as of the start of the civil war, there were over 1200 cotton factories in the United States that became introduced by Samuel Slater in 1790. Also, 1500 woolen factories were developed in the United States after Ohn and Arthur Schofield from England built a similar factory in 1793. Jobs and labor productivity increased in the United States during that period.


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The Negative Impacts of the Early Industrial Revolution

Changes That Took Place during the Industrial Revolution

Machines replaced people in production, and that led to the replacement of home production by manufacturing, which has some negative effects. The efficacy of the machines work made American factories to seek cheap sources of labor that facilitated slavery. The invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1794 increased the demand for slaves in the United States because the machine processed cotton five times faster than a single person could do. According to Elementary Cohort, the economic triumph of cotton caused immeasurable human tragedy due to the invention of the Cotton Gin. The northern states had stopped slavery by then but the profits realized by the southern states made slavery irresistible. Improvement of transportation network played a significant role in promoting slavery because the southern states provided feed mills to the northern states with cotton that was produced through slavery. Exceptional Americans state that 250,000 new slaves became imported directly from Africa between 1787 and 1808 due to the rise of the King Cotton and in 1815, more than half of the Africans who moved to the southern states became enslaved. , Besides, the social conduct underwent some changes. The rise in the number of factories in cities resulted in loosening traditional control between parents and their children. During the industrial revolution, girls and boys moved to cities in search of jobs making parents have minimal control over them. Exceptional Americans state that crime rates increased in the cities and prisons were expected to handle the problems.

The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on the Society and Social Life

Industrial revolution marked the period when the United States transformed from rural to urban society that became characterized by the development of slums. Young individuals brought up as peasants moved to the cities in search of greater opportunities. However, considering that the cities could not provide housing for all the new residents, many people were forced to live in slums with poor living conditions. Industrial revolution caused worsened sanitary conditions in American cities. The industrial revolution was marked by poor working conditions and massive child labor. Industrial workers worked for long hours for little pay. Children were considered as a low-paid workforce that was easy to control. The historic letter of Mary Pauli provides evidence of low wages and poor working conditions that were typical for those times. In her letter, Mary Pauli states that she expected to receive a dollar for a week of working while the work she did was hard and she was not sure if she was going to endure it. Despite receiving low wages, Mary states that their wages would be reduced soon because the company claimed that it made losses; however, that was not the case. In her argument, Mary states that they continued to make constant repairs that signified that the company was making no loss. Therefore, wages were paid unfairly.

Factory production system hindered improvement of skills of the people performing unskilled jobs. As a result, the bottom workforce in industries always remained stuck doing similar duties and not being able to get more qualified jobs with better pay. In addition, children working in factories did not get opportunities to go to school or train for better jobs. Consequently, they keep on doing similarly unskilled jobs with low wages. Despite Mary Pauli received low wages, she stated that working in the industry was the best place for her and even recommended her father to advise any girl wishing to work to join her. Therefore, the companies during the historical period in question did not seek to improve the skills of their workers.

The Negative Backlash of the Industrial Revolution

Labor unions were organized and strikes took place in the United States that were aimed to push for the working benefits and reforms. As factories replaced home as the center of production, workers grew depended on the factory owners. Consequently, unskilled workers could not escape the poor working conditions in factories because factories acted as the major source of income to the unskilled people. The major labor strikes included the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 . People who participated in it fought against the cut of wages, and Knights of Labor fought for workers rights in the 1880s. Industrial revolution resulted in increased rates of the slavery among the free black population. According to Elementary Cohort, 95 percent of the free African American population became enslaved in the borders of the northern states. The slaves resisted slavery and as a result, the masters resorted to violence to ensure that slavery system worked. Moreover, the masters did not consider slave marriages as legitimate ones because salves were sold without the right to have families. Thomas Sims was against the Fugitive Slave Law in 1851 but he became publicly whipped. In the end, slavery led to civil war in the United States.

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Similar to Belgium, industrial revolution in the United States was associated with the transfer of the knowledge from England. America did not protect patents like England did; the United States exploited the capabilities and lead-time that made inventors work in secrecy instead of seeking patents. The industrial revolution led to the growth of American economy, empowerment of women, slavery, break in family ties, increase of jobs, boost in urbanization, poor living conditions in towns, child labor exploitation and development of transportation facilities. All the positive and negative impacts were directly connected with the personalities of the innovators who worked on their inventions during the revolution.

Mar 4, 2021 in History
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