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Lecture 7

HIS272 Lecture 7 - October 23, 2013

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Erin Black

October 23, 2013 ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION IN ANTEBELLUM AMERICA (c.1820-1860) (Oct. 23) I. The Transportation Revolution - Roads and Canals (see Map 9.2 in Enduring Vision) • Steam power did wonders in opening up the Mississippi • Canals did wonder in moving goods west with passengers going both ways • Erie Canal finished in 1825: 264 miles of collecting block connecting Albany to NYC (Entire NW territory of US) • By 1830 cost of shipping less than 1/10 of cost for overland shipping • Canals become more important for shipping everywhere in US  Shipping by water cheaper • Real breakthrough in helping build economic state comes with railroad - The Railroad (see map 11.1 in Enduring Vision) • First railroad starting to build in 1820s • By 1829, there are 13 miles of tracks • By 1840s, there are 3,000 miles of railroad track • Railroads become cheapest form of shipping b/c of competition with canals • Railroads can connect to more than any other forms of shipping II. The Rise of Manufacturing - Cotton is one of the most important textiles (shipped out even to Europe) - Increase in number of banks that are popping out - Technological innovation October 23, 2013 • Invention of interchangeable part (Eli Whitney)  Contribute to manufacturing  Invents something that makes possible cotton industry in the south • Opens door to mass production - Industry in the North (See Map 9.5 in Enduring Vision) • Sheer extent of growth in manufacturing • Presence of manufacturing mills in countryside, which are spreading into US’ interior • Prior to 1812 era, most mills that existed were owned, operated and often built by locals  Important in terms of helping build local communities  What changes after this era is the development of larger mill complexes, which does not focus on local, but regional or broader areas  As a result, they attract other business and once these mills start to come up, towns become major towns  In terms of local politics, male owner were able to sway candidates o These people become fairly powerful members in community • Textile mills were most common in the north • First mill in Lowell was founded in 1821 by a group of entrepreneurs from Boston who decided to establish a textile mill that would focus on all types of production in one mill. • By 1830, 8 mills  Most employees between 16-23 years old  3,000 employees • By 1836, 20 mills • Rise of manufacturing possible b/c of transportation revolution and impact of it is how it affects labor in the both October 23, 2013 III. Transformation of Northern Labor - Women in the workforce (for a time) • Women did unskilled labor • Most men in trade worked skilled labor • Intro of mechanization allows for work to be done by unskilled labor and therefore, for much less cost • To attract young ladies, the mill owners had to ensure that work environment was good and nurtured morality, industry and intelligence and that women’s good moral character would be maintained and not threatened • These were somewhat of a social experiment in that they were luring women in, but also maintaining female purity • Prohibit swearing, drinking, poor manners, card playing, breaking the Sabbath, unsupervised courtship between young men and women, etc.  Workers were fined if they disobeyed  Workers also lived in dorms headed by older women who made sure they were obeying rules and acting properly • A lot of these females return to country to marry • Therefore, millwork is not intended to be permanent. • Expectation is that women get married and leave • Economic success of places like Lowell, brought unraveling of this process, particularly when textile market increases in 1830s  Economic competition increases  Prices and profits started to fall b/c of more competition and more things can be produced than can be sold  Companies adopted cost-cutting measure, which mostly fell on workers. o While expecting workers to increase output • Upsets these young women and in 1834 in Lowell, 1800 women walked off job to protest and launching the first strike in American history October 23, 2013 • By 1840s, they decided to go further and take more action with petition demanding more  Lowell Female Labor Reform Association o 1844 founded o Women moving into another realm previously thought to be closed to them - Beginnings of Labor Agitation • Start to refer themselves as workers as “wage slaves”  Comparing themselves to slaves • First bids for campaign is unsuccessful, but it reveals issues in class and gender in the north • Repeated reference to Declaration of Independence and other American ideals to articulate oppression of workers • Ultimately, native born American women stop working in the mills  Immigrants (especially Irish) arrive in 1830s-1850s and take over for cheaper labor • As more immigrants arrived, the cleanly work environments and living areas turn into slums and result in further class divides  Workers are viewed as commodities who serve to be bought and sold • Trend of shift from household economy to market economy - From Household Economy to Market (Manufacturing) Economy • Transition doesn’t take place all at one time  Changes take place in different times, places, industries  Parts where manufacturing is starting to take hold • Household economy describes most of American economy in revolution and upwards  1770-1810s  Based on clear division of labor in which there is a master craftsman who has 5-6 people working under him to learn his skill • Transition process  Craftsman trains other people to make what he does and they do it
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