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History Notes

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History Notes January 17, 2013
Industrial Revolution in the USA * Growing population by the mid-1800s, the population of Europe and North America was on a rise. * The rapidly growing cities of the industrial world attracted people of different/every social class. Also the growing demand for textiles and other mass produced goods.
The effects of the American Industrial Revolution ranged from positive, in the form of growing cities, individual wealth, and philanthropy, negative, in the form of child labour, abusive working conditions, and unsanitary living conditions.
Positive and Negative impacts of the American Industrial Revolution on the United States
Positive
* Improve people’s daily lives by diversifying the number and quality of the kinds of products factories could provide, also ordinary Americans learned better, lived better and had more time on their hands as conveniences and efficiencies defined the Industrial Revolution. * Transportation and technology in terms of the expansion of business including the expansion of our transportation network out of necessity and brought US canals, highways and turnpikes. It better connected us together as a society. There was technological innovation such as interchangeable parts (Eli Whitney) and the textile mill (Samuel Slater) which revolutionized Americans lifestyle. * Jobs as factories in the major cities created hundreds of thousands of jobs, expanded the cities, attracted immigrants by the millions and forever changed the landscape of the country, especially in the Northeast.
Negatives
* Environmental damage as there was few if any rules regarding the removal of resources and its usage. The air was horribly polluted from factories, as was the soil and rivers. Many historians have argued that it would take decades to recover from this damage. * Exploitation as jobs were created, there were few if any rules about how much people could be paid what training they would receive and whether they could be fired for any reason. The jobs were dangerous and if you died, no one really cared. * Political corruption in terms of the amount of money generated by the Industrial Revolution created a wealthy class who could use their wealth to achieve their personal and other gains. During most of the later Industrial Revolution, Washington DC politicians were hopelessly corrupt, and the people suffer in the process.

Inventions of the American Industrial Revolution
In 1794, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin which made the separation of cotton seeds from fiber much faster. The South increased its cotton supply sending raw cotton north to be used in the manufacture of cloth. Francis C. Lowell increased the efficiency in the manufacture of cloth by bringing spinning and weaving processes together into one factory. This led to the development of the textile industry throughout New England.
The year 1846 saw Elias Howe creating the sewing machine which revolutionized the manufacture of clothing. Therefore clothing was done in factories instead of in the homes. While Eli Whitney coined the idea of using interchangeable parts in 1798 to make muskets and should standard parts be made by machine, then they could be assembled at the end more quickly than before. This became an important part of American industry and the Second Industrial Revolution. As stated before as industries and factories arose, people moved from farms to cities which led to overcrowding and diseases. Despite this, advances were seen in agriculture to include better machines and cultivators. Such as, Cyrus McCormick created the reaper which allowed quicker and cheaper harvesting of grain. John Deere created the first plow in 1837 which helped to speed up farming across the Midwest.
Due to the increased size of the United States, better communication networks became ultra-important. In 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse created the telegraph and by 1860, this network ranged throughout the eastern coast to the Mississippi. Additionally, the Cumberland Road, the first national road, began in 1811. This eventually became part of the Interstate 40 and river transportation became efficient through the creation of the first steamboat, the Clermont, by Robert Fulton. This was made possible by James Watt’s invention of the first reliable steam engine. Also the creation of the Erie Canal created a route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes which helped to stimulate the economy of New York wand this helped New York to be a great trading center.
Railroads were of supreme importance to the increase in trade throughout the United States. By the start of the Civil War, railroads linked the most important Mid-West cities with the Atlantic coast. Railroads further opened the west and connected raw materials to factories and markets. A transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869 at Promontory, Utah.
With the great advances of the industrial Revolution, inventors continued to work throughout the rest of the 19th and early 20th century on ways to make life easier while increasing productivity. The foundations set throughout the mid-1800’s set the stage for inventions such as the light bulb(Thomas Edison), telephone (Alexander Graham-Bell), and the automobile (Karl Benz). Ford’s creation of the assembly line which made manufacturing more efficient in order to help “positioned” America into a modern industrialized nation. Therefore these impacts including other great inventions of this time cannot be underestimated.

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