THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IN AMERICA

1

THEINDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IN AMERICA

TheIndustrial Revolution refers to the transition from production ofhandicraft goods to the machine-aided mass production of final goods.It occurred in two phases in the period from 1790 to 1914. Therevolution promoted growth in the volume and diversity of the endproducts that businesses in America manufactured. The first phasecentered on the inventions of water powered machines and latertransitioned to steam power, while the second phase witnessed thedevelopment of innovations in electricity, petrol engine, andincreased employment of cheap steel. Moreover, the standards ofliving of Americans improved, and there also was a great populationshift from the rural to the cities as many Americans looked to workin the factories.

TheIndustrial Revolution in America is discussed, shading light to theinventions it brought, its importance to the economy and the people.

The First Phaseof the Industrial Revolution (1790-1860)

TheAmerican Industrial Revolution started in 1790 after theRevolutionary War at a time when the British Industrial Revolutionwas already taking place. Samuel Slater, an immigrant, built a cottonmill that used water power based on a model of machinery that theBritish had invented. Certainly, this was the birth of the Americanindustrial revolution. His business grew rapidly, and the designspread throughout America as it intensified the speed of spinningcotton thread into yarn [ CITATION Cha12 l 1033 ]. Despite thisbeing very critical in the birth of American industrial revolution,other factors that also played a significant role included outworksystem and factory system. The outwork system is whereby manyindividual homes undertook the minor parts of a large-scaleproduction process. On the other hand, factory system is wherebyvital processes of production took place at a central location. Themost prominent example of the factory system was in Lowell,Massachusetts. Besides, these mills also the revolution alsopioneered the women employment (Jeff Horn, 2010).

Atthis time while iron took the place of wood as the primary materialin construction, structures and various products, steam also startedreplacing water in energy production. Despite the steam engine beingan England development, several Americans like Oliver Evans advancedit. American inventors realized that they had to revamp Britishlocomotives to suit different and challenging landscapes (Kenneth,2014). Then most importantly, the railroad transport that used steampower business became a leading employer. With its booming success,the trains triggered another industry iron and steel manufacturing.The industry underwent a transition from blacksmith shops to ironmills, and into the large production of iron and steel products [ CITATION DRW14 l 1033 ].

As theiron industry developed, the invention of new processes of refiningthe iron was also experienced. Important to note is that there was aready market for this metal with the federal arsenal, which producedmilitary weapons. Another ready market for iron was the railroadbusinesses. In these national armories, John Hall invented thepioneer system for fabrication of truly identical parts. Thisinvention spearheaded a crucial event in the American IndustrialRevolution as his uniformity system was achieved by division oflabor, and the workers using sophisticated machines were able tocreate a consistent product [ CITATION Jef10 l 1033 ]. Manyfactories took up this method in manufacturing their products. Atthis point, America had overcome labor scarcity and used mechanicalpower to develop a new manufacturing system.

The second phase of the American industrial revolution (1860-1914)

Havingjust concluded the civil war, America entered into the second phaseof the industrial revolution with an enormous amount of naturalresources from new territories they had just acquired. Immigrantsfrom Europe grew the supply of labor and migrating African Americansalso created a large market for goods. Additionally, investmentcapital was also increasingly available. The fundamental inventionsin this stage were the internal combustion engine, electrical power,and advanced chemicals such as pharmaceuticals [ CITATION DRW14 l 1033 ].Since steam power had replaced water power, in this phase, theelectric power started taking the place of steam power (III, 2014).Businesses could transport and distribute their products acrossAmerica due to the systematic and developed railroad carrier. Thisimprovement changed the nature of economic activity in America sinceeconomies were no longer localized owing to the ability of goods tobe transported long distances. Moreover, there were efficientcommunication systems [ CITATION Cha12 l 1033 ].

Newwealth opportunities opened up, for the time and money that was usedto move heavy commodities reduced dramatically. The federalgovernment also immensely participated in this expansion in theindustrial sector as it shielded the American market from foreigninvasion and competition by imposing high tariffs (Kenneth, 2014). By1913, the United States of America was the largest producer ofindustrial output in the world. The living standards improveddrastically and the purchasing power of money also increased. In thisphase, a great population shifted from farms to cities.

Benefits of the Industrial Revolution

The locomotion of people was made easier and possible in theindustrial revolution since better, and efficient ways oftransportation were invented. These included the steam poweredrailroads. Fundamental government laws were since enacted due to theIndustrial Revolution conditions that legislated on child labor andbasic safety of workers [ CITATION Cha12 l 1033 ]. With betterhealthcare, there was a rise in the life expectancy of Americans inthe nineteenth century because diseases like cholera becamecontrollable.

References

III, K. E. (2014). The Encyclopedia of the Industrial Revolution in World History, Volume 3. Chicago: Rowman &amp Littlefield Publishers.

Jeff Horn, L. N. (2010). Reconceptualizing the Industrial Revolution. Chicago: MIT Press.

Morris, C. R. (2012). The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution. New York: PublicAffairs.

Woolf, D. (2014). A Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing, Volume 2. New York: Routledge.