December 28, 2012
American Industrial Revolution
For centuries before the Civil War, people had lived their daily lives in basically the same way. The typical family lived on a farm and raised most of the food they needed on their own land. They wove their own cloth, sewed their own clothes, and made their own furniture. They didn't need much money because they traded with neighbors for most things they needed but did not make themselves. All of that changed in the second half of the eighteenth century with the Industrial Revolution. While the Industrial Revolution did not involve soldiers or battles, it was a real revolution nonetheless. Once the Industrial Revolution occurred, the world would never be the same. The Age of Machines changed the way people thought about work, money, and just about everything else in their lives.
The Industrial Revolution began when people started inventing machines that completed jobs faster than humans could. “A nation is only as strong as its output. The American economy would benefit from the harmony of interests created between interdependent agricultural” (Manufacturing Revolution: The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry, Page 15). In factories, a division of labor; breaking down a job into a series of smaller tasks, each performed over and over again by one person. This replaced the age-old way of working in which one skilled worker made a product from beginning to end. With the new methods, products could be produced more quickly and more cheaply, and factory owners made greater profits. New technologies also benefitted business owners to reduce labor and the hours in the movement of materials from one point to the other. This occurred by using the new technology of railroads and machinery.
Business owners used the railroads to transport their finished product and to ship the raw materials around the country more efficiently. “In 1830, a mere twenty-three miles...