Week 3 Notes
The Industrial Revolution in the United States
British mercantilism kept the U.S. as a colony which delayed economic development.
Great Britain prohibited the sale of manufacturing equipment and emigration of skilled labor to U.S.
Adam Smith influenced writing of the U.S. Constitution and economic system.
Commonwealth vs. Hunt 1842
American System of Manufactures
Largest industry at the time was textile.
Even though the textile industry was the largest business, factories were still small.
“Photo” on the left depicts an early textile mill.
Samuel Slater – “Rhode Island System”
First to use steam-driven power looms
Relied on sole proprietorship or partnership form of ownership initially.
Relied on family for labor – with growth had to hire professional managers.
Vertically integrated operations forward and backward.
Francis Lowell – “Waltham System”
Used water-power looms.
Hired non-family supervisors & managers with corporate model.
Used integrated spinning and weaving to manufacture goods in large quantities.
Relied on adult female labor.
Praised by Charles Dickens for better treatment of employees.
Mill – present day reconstruction
Depiction of Mill
Worker combinations (unions) were no longer illegal unless their intent was criminal.
Seeking a closed shop and striking were no longer illegal.
Only applied to Massachusetts but discouraged prosecution of worker organizations elsewhere.
Manufacture by interchangeable parts was not new – previously confined to making muskets and revolvers.
The Springfield (MA) Armory was an early factory prototype.