The rise of industrialization brought many changes to the American economy. Some of these were urbanization, due to immigration, new technologies, the rise of big business and an economic stimulation. In a broad definition, industry is any work that is undertaken for economic gain and that promotes employment. It can be applied to farming to manufacturing to tourism. It encompasses production at any scale, from the local to national. The modern day conception of what a factory is affects the interpretation of historical industrialization.
A factory is a workshop where something is made for profit. (Gilje, 83) Factories rely on machines, with people to run them to produce items for less than it would be if a craftsman made the goods. In early America, there were two types of factories, those that were powered by water for milling and textile factories. Industrialism had an evolutionary impact on these rural communities. Some people during that period feared the increased power of the mills and resisted efforts by the manufacturers to gain special treatment in building roads and controlling waterpower.
Yet they generally compromised to gain economic benefits in a declining agricultural economy. As people adjusted to industrialism, their resistance to the actions of the manufacturers was less frequent. Mill managers became more important in town politics. The factory owners, emphasis on monetary and materialistic values became widespread even among tradesmen and the declining corps of farmers. Progress isn’t always necessarily positive it is based on perceptions.
From a factory owner or a manager’s point of view, the advantages of combining materials, workers, machines, and power, all under one roof were obvious. The factories could produce more, both in product and productivity in a less amount of time and money and increase profits. From another point of view, many people saw the additional production and reduction in prices advancement. From another point of view, the disadvantages were although factory workers were given more independence than slaves, factory owners still looked down pon them. Cotton production resulted in the spread of slavery; textile production resulted in the beginnings of a class of factory workers who had limited prospects in the industrial world. In the South, slave owners looked down on slaves because of their race; in the North, factory owners looked down on operatives because of their economic background and because some were female. Many northern factory workers were no more liked their jobs than slaves liked theirs. They sometimes called themselves wage slaves.
Factory workers organized to resist unfair labor conditions more regularly than slaves did, no doubt because the consequences for their behavior were less severe than on southern plantations. But factory workers also engaged in day-to-day resistance by quitting their jobs and by working more slowly than they were supposed to. Many factory workers accepted industry, however, some factory workers also resisted through arson, absenteeism, stealing, sabotage, and slowdowns or just leaving their jobs. Thus factories, like plantations, were set up to increase profits for their owners.
However, factories increased profits not only through the organization of labor, but through the development and spread of technology. From the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, life improved. Many factory workers gained ground in their standard living despite how they were treated. Progress at the time may seem difficult, as often change does. It cannot be denied this period was the foundation for our modern world. Progress builds foundation for more progress. The U. S. experienced an urban revolution unparalleled in world history up to that point in time.
As factories, mines, and mills expanded throughout the U. S. and cities grew around them. The population exploded. The rise of big cities during the industrial period created a distinctive urban culture. People from different ethnic and religious backgrounds came into the cities and settled and also brought a widening of the gap between the poor and wealthy. Reference(s) Gilje, P. , ed. (2006). Wages of Independence: Capitalism in the Early American Republic. Lanham, MD: Rowman ; Littlefield Publishers, Inc.