America’s Change in Industry and Technology in the Early 1800s sample essay

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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 workers were built around the ports and train stops. America’s expansion of transit helped cities develop as economic centers.

Once the factory system became the successful business model, city life became the norm. People started to work in the artificial environment dictated by their tasks. Most people no longer woke up to the sound of the rooster signaling them to milk the cow and collect the eggs. Instead, they worked set hours in a factory, earning a regular income. However, large factories and shipping companies needed more than just manual labor. They also employed foremen, supervisors, and watchmen to keep the business secure. As a result of this division of labor, people could work more efficiently.

Not every innovation was benign. Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin (short for engine), which prepared cotton faster and more efficiently than by manual means, made selling cotton to the textile factories in New England even more profitable, but at a cost. Unfortunately, the increased demand for cotton by Northern factories escalated the need for slaves in the South to pick and supply larger quantities of raw materials. A negative result of the invention of the cotton gin and its role in the Industrial Revolution was that in just twenty years, the slave population rose from 697,897 to 1.2 million. Slaves and their sympathizers were hurt and upset by this growing injustice.

From the start of the Industrial Revolution, new methods of production changed the jobs, income, and environment of the average American worker. Interchangeable parts, steam power, and the factory system increased production, decreased cost, and stimulated the growth of cities and transportation. America developed cities full of workers and transportation routes loaded with products. Manufacturing supported the Northern economy, while the South was still reliant on slave labor. Life in America changed greatly in the early 1800s with the country’s advancement from farming and simple trade to a modern, consumer-based economy.

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