America’s ideas and beliefs have been changing over centuries of mistakes and experiments. This is the way that we formed our own government, made the right choices in subsequent decisions, and how we exhibit what kind of country we are to the rest of the world. Our nation evolved more quickly following several inventions that may seem simple or obvious in retrospect. One of America’s biggest eras of change was in the early 1800s. Jobs were moving from farms to factories. Transportation was turning certain cities into hubs of industry. The dependence on slaves was increasing on the Southern plantations. During the early 1800s, new technology and industrial methods changed the way people in America made a living.
Key inventions that impacted American industry included factory production and Eli Whitney’s concept of interchangeable parts. These innovations led to mass production of manufactured items. Machine-made components, unlike parts that had been crafted individually, could replace each other in a product. Even unskilled workers could make these parts. Because of this, products became more plentiful, less expensive, and easier to repair. Cloth also became a mass-produced commodity. The thread-spinning water frame and the cloth-weaving power loom were invented at a time that people were giving up on farming the poor soil of the Northeast. In addition, steam engines and water mills increased production and decreased cost of the factories that employed townsfolk and financed cities. All of these beneficial results made manufacturing more lucrative than working on a farm.
The abundance of products being made during this era called for a more efficient method of distribution. American cities developed as centers for manufacture and trade. New roads and a system of canals were built to carry the products to distant markets. Steam engine locomotives also became an important means of transportation for goods and people. Industry and housing for its...
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