The industrialization of the U.S. began essentially with a textile mill.
Between 1860 and 1900, America underwent a radical change in its structure, transforming from a nation of humble farmers to a powerful industrial center, exploiting successfully its land, resources, time, and people to bring life to the economy. This was achieved through the invention of new items, heightened immigration, and laws that made commerce easier – which, combined, led to a radical change in the way industry was operated in the U.S.
Firstly, many innovations were made by Americans at this time - the cotton gin, steam-powered and electric transportation and appliances – as well as more efficient machines and processes for putting these together (such as the Bessemer process and the stratification of oil for kerosene).These allowed industry to advance further: steel availability caused railroads to be built, which in turn transported people, supplies, and industry to the West, especially after the invention of the Pullman car. Electric light allowed people to work after dark, getting more done. New machines were costly, but did not require salaries and were not as error-prone as human labor, increasing production while decreasing costs. This led to increased competition between factories, and consequential improvement.
During this period, there came a second influx of people into America , both because of mounting political tensions in Europe and because of the lure of land and freedom in the U.S. This led mainly to a superfluity of labor in factories, since there were so many immigrants, again reducing labor costs and allowing factories to be staffed. Factories could choose from more workers than needed and so take only the best. Also, they received more income because there were more consumers to buy the products. More immigrants would come when industry grew, making the movement self-propagating.
Finally, adventitious legislation was passed, allowing large businesses to prosper. This was endorsed by Republicans, who were in power during eight of the ten presidential terms between 1861 and 1901. It is hardly surprising that industry flourished when the party tried to lower business taxes, discourage import while encouraging export, continue the immigration flow, to justify improvements that would require industry, and to build a railroad to the Pacific.
The turn-of-the-century business boom in the U.S. occurred essentially because people came to the country, invented new products and machines for making them efficiently, and set others to work making them. This led to the arrival of more people, more labor, a rise in power for the businesses, and the ability to make it easier for themselves to succeed. The opportune convergence of the three – innovation, immigration, and legislation – allowed America to flourish in its industrial revolution.
However, as was the case in most other industrial nations, social programs lagged far behind industrial advances. In America , this period is often referred to as the “Gilded Age” because, though overall output and profit were massively increased, most workers were subject to wage slavery and the unhealthy and inhumane conditions of shoddy tenements. This led to the rise of unionism in America , which resulted in violent strikes and even military retaliation as the pro-business, often corrupt government tried to impede the unions' interference with competition. While the token Sherman Antitrust Act was passed in order to combat monopolies and make the market fairer, it was often used against unions, rendering them powerless until the eventual acceptance of their legitimacy by presidents such as Franklin Roosevelt. The frustration that many people felt against their government was exemplified by Eugene B.Debs' run for presidency on the socialist platform – while he did not win, he was the nation's most successful third-party candidate.
Industry in America also led to cultural reaction in the form of the Transcendentalist movement, which encouraged a retreat from the busy industrial world in order to seek truth and beauty through an innate connection with God and nature.
Until the Civil War, this was largely contained in the northeastern United States , where cities were established, while the southern states had a mainly agricultural economy, which received manufactured goods from the North. This was one of the North's main advantages during the Civil War; towards the end and after the Reconstruction period, the South industrialized at a faster pace than the North but was unable to reach the same production levels.
In Canada , industrial revolution is often quantified as a Canal Age that took place in the late nineteenth century. During this time, export goods such as timber, produce, amd furs could be shipped more easily. This encouraged the prosperous growth of export trade and eventually the rise of modern manufacture in the early twentieth century. Canadian producers were able to sell their goods to local manufacturers, though the nation maintains close economic ties with Europe .
Mosk, Carl. " Japan , Industrialization and Economic Growth". EH.Net Encyclopedia, edited by Robert Whaples. January 19, 2004 . < http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/mosk.japan.final >
Nash, Gary B. The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society. Pearson Education: 2004.
Interview with Professor Peter Howitt, 4. 25. 06