Early American settlers lived as primitive people during the antebellum but the gradual development changed their history that altered its identity and became the leader in industrialization. This change that started in few states had transformed the whole country from a simple agrarian importer of manufactured goods to an industrial thrust. Goloboy stated that, “Interruptions in trade associated with the American Revolution encouraged industrialization” (p. xiii).
Primarily, before American people realized that they could possibly become as industrialized as its mother country, England, it went through some circumstances that caused developments in economy. First, American people steadily became acquainted with buying instead of producing their basic needs; this led to the increase of the demand for those needs. Second, along with the growing demand for goods they also discovered that goods could be produced more rapidly using the technology brought by the mother country.
Third, the separation of America from England after the Independence War in 1812 led to the withholding of goods from Europe, which triggered Americans to “build their own factories” (p. xiv). By this time, many farmers left farming and moved to west to engage in factory works. It is said that industrial revolution that started in the early 19th century had caused changes in the rural system of the country that transformed the whole society.
The rural system emerged while improvements in the political system took place that gave American people much opportunity to cope with changes. High standard of living continued to rise among communities while people enjoyed social, political, and economic progress as a result of American Revolution. Many jobs were opened to American women, education was improved and became compulsory to children, middle-class society also emerged, many leisure activities became part of their lifestyle, and most of all, and families achieved a better standard of living with all its comforts.
Crothers in his review of Meyer’s ‘Roots of Industrialization’ emphasized that agricultural sector had fueled the industrial development in many cities; and the supply and demand grew further, which caused increase in labor force and wages and capital investment (par. 2). Local market that emerged in a given city turned to urban place where most commercial services occurred. Cities like Boston became the center of major business transaction among those cities, which according to Crothers “social networks of capital” (Meyer, 70, cited in Crothers).
Basically, industrial revolution in America brought changes in the living condition of the people; primarily it transformed the rural system, which is the rise of urbanization. Urbanization came about due to the movement of more people to the cities where they got employment. Reformation follows as it brought both positive and negative impact in the life of American people. Some of the positive impact of urbanization is that it brought people many benefits like finding solution to economic and social problems.
For instance, education and health had improved; people finally understood the causes of many diseases and made considerable actions to that like setting of safety and health standards in homes, public places, buildings, water system, etc. Another benefit is improvement in people’s lives. Because of plenty work opportunities; they had the chances to enter the middle class. On the other hand, industrialization had weakened family life because parents who supposed to supervise the children stayed in the factory during the day; because of this, many children wandered in the streets and survived on their own.
At this point of rapid industrialization, cities became prone to many social and environmental problems. The growth in population caused the dilemma of housing, sanitation, and health; crime rate got high while more and more families suffered from diseases because of pollution and stressful work in the factories. Kuser stressed that “Cities became overcrowded and polluted” (p. 7). With the influence of Romanticism ideology, American suburbs improved in the mid-1800s as transit lines, railways and urban planning were incorporated in the development.
This transportation mode served as link among major cities of the United States. Conclusion Industrialization in American occurred unexpectedly perhaps, but it happened because people responded objectively to meet the demands of life. Besides, along the national independence they gained after a series of war against its mother country, agriculture grew further in many parts of the region, and manufacturing business in other region.
The industrialization with influence of Great Britain transformed the rural communities until each evolved as urban. Reference Crothers, G. A Review of David R. Meyer’s the Roots of American Industrialization. http://www. hbs. edu/bhr/archives/bookreviews/78/acrothers. pdf Goloboy, J. (2008). Industrial Revolution: People and Perspective. USA: ABC-CLIO. Kuser, J. (2000). Handbook of Urban and Community Forestry in the Northeast. USA: Springer.
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