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American Industrial Revolutin Dbq

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Essay title: American Industrial Revolutin Dbq


Access the validity of the following statement:

“Conditions in the United States were ripe for

an industrial revolution in the early 1800’s.”

“Reaping What You Sow”:

The American Industrial Revolution

“The economy of the United States before the War of 1812 was largely shaped by geography...” says Arnold S. Rice. Under Henry Clay’s American system, canals, railroads, and public education paramounted past internal improvements. (Doc B). The inventions oriented towards textile and locomotion sparked more invention and more production. Society, itself, conformed to the factory system and consolidated into industrial communities. In short, the early 1800s presented an unprecedented abundance of fuel for an industrial revolution in the United States. Prompting this rapid development of industry was the three driving powers of society, political development and policies, and economy and technology. The progression of society from yeomen farmers to industrial workers had developed largely by the 1820’s.

Between 1820 and 1855, immigration increased from 2,000 annually to about 420,000. (Doc G). In 1848,German and other European refugees were able to abscond with enough money from their homeland to buy small plots of land in the Midwest, such as Cincinnati, St. Paul, St. Louis, Chicago, and Milwaukee, after the failed German revolution. Most immigrants were less fortunate, however. Many Irish took flight to America during the failure of the Irish potato crops between 1845 and 1850. These immigrants had little money and the South had little need for additional workers; they had slaves. They were forced to take manual jobs in the North, mainly in cities like Boston. This influx held the same pattern in the United States. One family wrote: “...the cause of our moving the hard times to get a living off the farm...” (Doc C). Many families attempted to supplement their meager small farm incomes by sending women and children to the factories to work. This large influx in populations of immigrants and domestic workers increased productions and created a increasing trend towards a greater number of factories; From 1800 to 1860 the number of spindles in operation in the US increased from 2,000 to 5 million. Industry achieved a revolutionary point not only through redistribution of domestic and immigrant populations, but also through the South’s extensive use of slavery. Slavery in America came to a dramatic low in the late 1700’s, but with the introduction of new technologies, ie. the cotton gin, and the Louisiana Purchase, which provided new fertile land along the Gulf of Mexico, the slave population increased from about 900 thousand in 1800 to numbers exceeding 4 million in 1860. Although the industrialists were slightly set back by unions and organized union movements, such as the National Trades Union and “Commonwealth vs. Hunt” (where Massachusetts Supreme Court established the right of workers to strike), the outcome was clearly in favor of industrial growth. In the 1820’s, working groups demanded uniform 6 am to 6 pm work shifts, with an amount of two hours for meal breaks, and increased wages; these demands only succeeded in New York. Other employers took court action, forcing the striking workers back to the factories, or hired non-union workers. With this in mind, the social atmosphere of the early 1800’s in America was prime real estate for an industrial revolution. Similarly, the political development and processes of the US at that time assisted in the industrial expansion of America’s markets and businesses.

The United State’s government advocated Henry Clay’s American system in generate protective tariffs, creating stimulating legal arrangements, reinforcing economic energy, allowing for a stable centralized revenue center, and educating the public. (Doc B). British Parliament, still bitter over the loss of American colonies, recommended, “to stifle in the cradle, those rising manufacturers in the United States, which war has forced into existence, contrary to the natural course of things.” They attempted to execute this plan by flooding American soil with inexpensive British manufactured goods. New England textile mills, Pennsylvania iron-smelters, hemp-growers of Kentucky, the wool-growers of Ohio and Vermont, and “an assortment [not the majority, however] of Southerners and Westerners who hoped to promote industry or to expand their domestic market…” knew that the British industry would crush the fragile industries is action were not put in place. (Doc D). President Thomas Jefferson, unwittingly, began what modern historians define as the beginning of the American Industrial Revolution.

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