Chapter 9: Economic Transformation, 1820-1860
Section 1: The American Industrial Revolution
How did American textile manufactures compete with British manufactures? How successful were they?
American textile manufactures were at an advantage compared to British manufactures, and they were very successful. America persuaded Britain to prohibit the export of textile machinery and the emigration of mechanics. Yet, still many British mechanics migrated over to the United States because they were lured by the higher wages. In competing the British mills, America had the advantage of an abundance of natural resources. America’s farmers were able to produce large amounts of cotton and wool, and they had fast flowing rivers that provided good transportation. But the British undersold their American competitors, having cheap transportation and low wages they were able to import raw cotton from America, manufacturing it into clothing, and re selling it in America. The U.S. government assisted this problem by placing a tariff on imported cotton and wool cloth. Overall the U.S. started to have more effective systems then European nations and became richer and subsequently a global power. In what ways did the emerging industrial economy conflict with artisan republicanism? How did wage laborers respond to the new economy?
The Industrial Revolution was dramatically changing the lives of Americans, but it also changed the nature of work and workers lives. From early to the mid 19th century, many American craft workers embraced artisan republicanism. The men wanted to assert their independent status, so they rejected the traditional terms of master and servant and instead used boss. Additionally, outwork and factory systems led to a decrease in the standard of living, and loss of social equality, independence as a craft worker, working class identity, and the ability to control labor conditions. Wageworkers responded to the new economy by forming unions to protect...
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