American Industrial Revolution
Between 1820 to 1870, the American Industrial Revolution, sometimes known as the Second Industrial Revolution, took place. The telephone, the sewing machine, the steam engine, the X-ray, the lamp, and the combustion engine were all products of the first two industrial revolutions. Agricultural labor was paid less during the Industrial Revolution than working for a corporation. As the number of industries grew and people moved to cities, pollution, horrible working and housing conditions, and child labor were all made worse by this population density
Although it took place around 200 years ago, the American Industrial Revolution had a significant influence on people’s daily lives and how companies ran. Capitalism and the contemporary cities we know and love were both born due to the manufacturing systems built during the Industrial Revolution. Before the American Revolution, most Americans worked as farmers and lived in rural areas. People started working for firms in cities for the first time when factories were built. Wages were often pitiful, and working conditions were often deplorable. On the other hand, farming didn’t pay as much as working for a company.
Inventions like the steam engine increased production efficiency during the American Industrial Revolution. The steam engine sped up the manufacturing process significantly. Because of the decreased labor costs associated with more efficient manufacturing, items could be marketed to a wider range of customers, resulting in cheaper pricing for consumers.
Advantages of the American Industrial Revolution.
First, during the Industrial Revolution, there was a rise in the number of jobs. Individuals who worked in industries made more money than those who worked as farmers. Increasing the number of factories necessitated hiring more managers and workers, which increased the number of positions and total pay. Populations came to cities in pursuit of work, frequently overtaking the housing supply due to the proximity of many industries and huge corporations. As a result, substantial progress was made in urban planning.
Secondly, some of these innovations are still employed today due to the increased innovation that resulted from a rise in motivation and education. Sewing machines, X-rays, lightbulbs, calculators, and anesthesia are some of the more notable examples of modern innovations in this category.
Thirdly, Modern assembly lines and combustible engines were all introduced due to technological advances made during the American Industrial Revolution. People’s jobs, technology, and even where they lived were all affected by the Industrial Revolution. As a result, employees’ circumstances remained appalling, which sparked the emergence of labor unions, which finally led to better working conditions and higher salaries.
Disadvantages of the American Industrial Revolution
First, American Industrial Revolution contributed to the food shortage. The Industrial Revolution was a time of great development, but it also brought several problems. Food scarcity was caused by people abandoning their farms in favor of higher-paying jobs in factories.
Secondly, the rapid rise in the number of manufacturers has increased air pollution in cities everywhere. As people rushed to the cities, living conditions deteriorated as the influx of new residents overburdened the city’s resources. Some cities’ streets were clogged with sewage, and companies poured trash into nearby waterways. There were no safeguards in place to ensure the safety of water sources before today. As a result, laws and regulations were put in place to safeguard the public.
Third, factory workers’ circumstances deteriorated because of the rise of the American Industrial Revolution. It became the norm to work long hours for little or no pay with few or no breaks. There was a big problem with child labor. Many manufacturing workers who gave birth to the labor movement in the United States did so because of health problems.
Causes of the American Industrial Revolution
- Natural Resources.
Timber, coal, water, iron, copper, silver, and gold were some of the United States’ natural resources. A wide range of products for the market was manufactured using these natural resources.
In the United States, railroad networks helped coal and steel industries flourish. They accelerated the delivery of commodities to market, promoting a cycle of mass production, consumption, and industrial specialization.
- Abundant Labor Supply.
As a result of railroad development, many immigrants came to the United States, providing a ready supply of labor for expanding companies. According to Charles R. Morris in his book The Dawn of Innovation, the first wave of immigrants to the United States was youthful, hardworking people who weren’t afraid to take risks.
- Laisse-Fair Politics.
The absence of government control allowed firms to thrive and develop quickly. Without government involvement, business owners enjoyed complete control over their firms. Even though this was excellent for business, it resulted in various environmental and labor issues.
Significant Eras of the American Industrial Revolution
- The Colonial Era: Interchangeable Parts, Cotton Gin and Electricity.
It wasn’t until the middle of the 18th century that a colonial inventor significantly impacted the developing nation. Eli Whitney created the cotton gin in 1794, which greatly accelerated the process of separating cotton seeds from fiber. During American Industrial Revolution, Cotton production in the South was boosted, and raw cotton was shipped north to be utilized in the production of textiles. By integrating the weaving and spinning operations into a single plant, Francis C. Lowell improved the efficiency of textile production. As a result, the New England textile industry grew rapidly.
In 1798, Whitney came up with the concept of muskets that could be assembled from various interchangeable parts. The assembly process would be substantially faster if all of the standard pieces were created by machine. American industry and the American Industrial Revolution relied heavily on this. Benjamin Franklin’s experiments with electricity led him to develop the lightning rod during this period. Electric motors started thanks to the work of British scientist Michael Faraday, who was working on a similar project at the same time.
- Transportation and Expansion (1800-1820).
Following the country’s independence, the new U.S. rapidly expanded westward. America’s rapid growth westward in the 1800s could not have happened without the country’s extensive river and lake system. During this period, the Erie Canal helped New York’s economy and established the city as a major trade hub for goods coming from the Atlantic Ocean. Steamboats provided dependable access to the Midwest’s big river and lake towns, allowing them to flourish. The country’s roads were also beginning to connect different sections. 1811’s Cumberland Road was the nation’s first national highway, which later became part of the Interstate system.
- The Rising of the Middle Class in the American Industrial Revolution(1820-1850).
During this era in the American Industrial Revolution, with the expansion of urban centers along key waterways in the West, the industry flourished along with it. Freight trains began to sprout along the Erie Canal and other industrial areas beginning in the mid-1820s. In 1830, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad passenger service was first introduced. Additionally, in 1844, the telegraph was invented, making it possible for news and information to be disseminated instantly. A telegraph connection was inevitable as the rail system expanded, and relay offices were established in railway stations along significant routes.
Middle-class populations began to rise in industrialization progress. Early industrialization led to the first time that many Americans had disposable cash and some free time. As a result, new industrial and domestic machines were created. Elias Howe invented the sewing machine in 1846, ushering in a new era in the history of apparel manufacturing. Manufacturers would be able to produce more with less waste, while homemakers would be able to make more clothing with less effort.
- Impact of the Civil War Era in the American Industrial Revolution.
The importance of railways to the growth of commerce in the United States was at its peak around the beginning of the Civil War. Railroads connected major Midwestern cities to the Atlantic coast, and the region’s industrial development was bolstered. People and products began to travel by rail in large numbers when Promontory, Utah, became the terminus of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 and the standardization of rail gauges in the 1880s.
Other technologies in the American Industrial Revolution were also affected by the Civil War. Photographers like Matthew Brady captured the battle with the advent of horse-drawn mobile darkrooms and semi-portable cameras when photography was first established in about 1830. Engravings of these photos were published in newspapers of all sizes, allowing the country’s news to circulate quickly across great distances. Using anesthetics and developing novel methods for treating trauma ushered in a new era in medical advancement.
- Telephones, electricity, steel, and labor (1870-1890).
In the post-Civil War era, the electrical network would revolutionize the nation even more quickly than the railways had done in the American Industrial Revolution. Thomas Edison invented the first functional incandescent light bulb in 1879, building on work principally done by a British inventor. As soon as he made his invention, he began supporting the creation of a citywide electrical grid in New York City. On the other hand, Edison depended on the short-distance transmission of energy via direct current (D.C.). In the American Industrial Revolution, a commercial adversary of Edison’s, George Westinghouse pioneered alternating-current (A.C.) transmission transformer technology and built a competing electrical network.
Often, the same poles used to support the new electricity lines were also used to support telephone lines. In 1876, the same year the United States celebrated its 100th birthday, several pioneers debuted their gadgets, including Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. New industries brought people from the country to the city thanks to these improvements. As the American Industrial Revolution advanced, the first skyscraper was built in Chicago in 1885 after metallurgists developed alloys that made steel (another 19th-century discovery) even more durable.
Unions like the American Federation of Labor (AFL), created in 1886 in the American Industrial Revolution, would play an important role in shaping labor relations in the early 20th century.
- Mass Transit, Assembly Line and the Radio (1890 and beyond)
George Westinghouse will eventually surpass Thomas Edison thanks to advancements made possible by Nikola Tesla. Until the early 1890s, A.C. was the primary mode of transmitting electricity. First in metropolitan areas and subsequently in less-populated areas, industrial standardization enabled the fast development of electrical networks. During the American Industrial Revolution, people could operate in the dark because of the lightbulbs powered by these electrical wires. For the whole of the twentieth century, it was also used to power heavy and light machinery in the nation’s factories.
Using the assembly line as a production technique, Henry Ford revolutionized American industry and paved the way for another breakthrough: Karl Benz’s 1885 invention of the car. In 1897, the first subway in the United States opened in Boston, with electric streetcars rising above the ground. In 1895, the radio was invented, bringing mass communication to a new level. Significant changes in how the country communicates would result, allowing it to continue expanding and growing.
Immigration and the American Industrial Revolution from 1880 to 1920.
After decades of agricultural civilization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the United States transitioned to an industrial economy with its core in big urban areas. Many people in the United States grew up in tiny towns and rural areas connected only by horse-drawn carts before the American industrial revolution. Many rural villages were essentially self-sufficient in food, clothes, and many other needs of daily life because of their isolation and the high expenses of overland transit. Consumers in urban and rural areas saw a consumer revolution in the early 20th century, as the supply and decreased costs of manufactured products made them more accessible. Even a few decades earlier, there was no national network of rail lines or roadways to convey many of these products. One-fifth of northern farms had cars and telephones by 1920.
Manufacturing and immigrant populations were mostly concentrated in industrial centers in the Northeast and Midwest throughout the industrial revolution. Many prominent cities, including New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, San Francisco, Milwaukee, and Detroit, had more than three-quarters of their residents be immigrants and their children in 1900. There is a causal link between immigration and industrialization in American history, regionally and chronologically. It is necessary to speculate on how the American industrialization process may have unfolded without an immigrant labor force.