Hamilton: On Manufactures- Questions

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1. Hamilton argued for manufacturing on the ground that it would attract immigrants and employ women and children. What does this prediction tell us about the availability and condition of labor in the early America and about the attitudes of American leaders toward the work force? One of Hamilton’s key points in his passage On Manufactures pertains to the division of labor. He declares that a successful economy needs to focus on industry rather than agriculture, and that for this purpose there must be a strict division of labor so as to increase the speed and efficacy of America’s economy. Hamilton argues that an effective worker with “greater skill and dexterity naturally resulting from a constant undivided application to a single object” should not be “interrupted of the impulse which the mind of the workman acquires from being engaged in a particular operation”. By believing in this practical division of labor, Hamilton is opening up the work force to a much broader group. Physical dexterity being the lowest possible qualification, and Hamilton incentive for making use of this simple ability, opens up the workforce to women, children, and immigrants. Hamilton’s theories on the American economy were commonly respected and accepted as valid. American leaders recognized that expanding the workforce was the fastest way to get the economy up and running. Especially the incorporation of immigrant workers was a leap towards industrial efficiency. Hamilton foresees they “would probably flock from Europe to the United States to pursue their own trades or professions, if they were once made sensible of the advantages they would enjoy”. Immigrants were optimistic; after all, they had chosen to attempt an American adventure and wanted to live the American dream. Furthermore, Hamilton believed that introducing teenagers to the workforce at an earlier age would motivate
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