Industrial Revolution in The United States

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Industrial Revolution in the United States

As in Britain, the United States originally used water power to run its factories, with the consequence that industrialization was essentially limited to New England and the rest of the Northeastern United States, where fast-moving rivers were located. However, the raw materials (cotton) came from the Southern United States.    It was not until after the American Civil War in the 1860s that steam-powered manufacturing overtook water-powered manufacturing, allowing the industry to spread across the entire nation.

Samuel Slater (1768–1835) is popularly known as the founder of the American cotton industry. As a boy apprentice in Derbyshire, England, he learned of the new techniques in the textile industry and defied laws against the emigration of skilled workers by leaving for New York in 1789, hoping to make money with his knowledge. Slater started Slater’s mill at Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in 1793, and went on to own thirteen textile mills.

While on a trip to England in 1810, Newburyport, Massachusetts merchant Francis Cabot Lowell was allowed to tour the British textile factories, but not take notes. Realizing the War of 1812 had ruined his import business but that a market for domestic finished cloth was emerging in America, he memorized the design of textile machines, and on his return to the United States, he set up the Boston Manufacturing Company. Lowell and his partners built America’s first cotton-to-cloth textile mill at Waltham, Massachusetts. After his death in 1817, his associates built America’s first planned factory town, which they named after him. This enterprise was capitalized in a public stock offering, one of the first such uses of it in the United States. Lowell, Massachusetts, utilizing 5.6 miles of canals and ten thousand horsepower delivered by the Merrimack River, is considered the “Cradle of the American Industrial Revolution.’ The short-lived, utopia-like Lowell System was formed, as a direct response to the poor working conditions in Britain. However, by 1850, especially following the Irish Potato Famine, the system was replaced by poor immigrant labour.

Industrial Revolution in The United States, Industrial Revolution in The United States, Industrial Revolution in The United States
Industrial Revolution in The United States, Industrial Revolution in The United States, Industrial Revolution in The United States

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