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  • - [Instructor] So some historians have actually said

  • that The Market Revolution is more revolutionary

  • than The American Revolution.

  • Actually, this is a very classic AP-US-history question.

  • Which was more revolutionary:

  • The American Revolution or The Market Revolution?

  • But how could something actually be more revolutionary

  • than The American Revolution?

  • It's because The Market Revolution

  • was a confluence of inventions,

  • changes in the way that the American people did business,

  • and changes in the way that people got goods to market

  • that happened in this period from about 1790 to 1850.

  • So this is kind of a large period of history,

  • and I don't think it's really important for you

  • to have a laundry list of dates of exactly when

  • what thing was invented, but just kind of take in the idea

  • that in the first half or so of the early 19th Century

  • there were many new inventions in both factory work

  • and in transportation and communication,

  • and that how people did business changed a lot.

  • So I wanna take some time to look into

  • all three of these revolutions:

  • The Industrial Revolution,

  • The Revolution in Transportation and Communication,

  • and just the broader Market Revolution.

  • So I know this is a subset of itself, but I'll get to that.

  • And in this video I wanna start out by talking

  • about The Industrial Revolution.

  • OK, so what was The Industrial Revolution?

  • This was, broadly speaking,

  • a revolution in the kinds of machinery

  • that people used to make finished goods.

  • Now, if you think about the early republic

  • in the United States you often think

  • of kind of an agrarian society;

  • and that was how Thomas Jefferson,

  • the author of The Declaration of Independence,

  • really imagined the United States,

  • as a nation of small farmers.

  • But Thomas Jefferson didn't necessarily see

  • all of these revolutions in industry coming.

  • He couldn't anticipate that;

  • and so, in the 1790s, early 1800s,

  • a bunch of new inventions came to the United States

  • that completely revolutionized how things were made.

  • So in this time period the United States

  • kinda slowly begins its transformation

  • from being a nation of farmers

  • to a nation of people who worked for wages,

  • by the hour,

  • and then used the money that they made

  • from that hourly labor to buy the things that they need.

  • So how did this happen?

  • One event that historians often point to is the introduction

  • of the textile mill to the United States.

  • So this fellow here, his name is Samuel Slater,

  • and Samuel Slater was an Englishman

  • who worked in a textile mill.

  • And remember that the United Kingdom was

  • the world's capital of textile production in this time.

  • And they were so jealous of their position

  • as the world's leading textile producer

  • that they even made it illegal

  • to export the plans for a textile mill.

  • Samuel Slater decided that even if it was illegal

  • to export actual plans,

  • it wasn't necessarily illegal to export his brain,

  • so he decided to memorize

  • how these textile looms worked;

  • and this is powered by a water wheel.

  • And then he actually got in disguise,

  • put himself on a ship, and came to Rhode Island

  • to set up a textile mill.

  • In fact, people were so angry that he did this that

  • in his home town he's actually known as Slater the Traitor.

  • So what was new about this?

  • Well, I think the water-wheel aspect

  • is really one of the key innovations here.

  • So instead of being powered by humans

  • or perhaps being powered by animals,

  • now American machinery can be powered by an outside source:

  • so water or steam; and that means that these mills

  • and factories later are going to kinda congregate

  • around sources of power, like rivers for example.

  • So if you've ever wondered why so many American cities

  • are next to rivers, it's usually because

  • they needed them to power mills.

  • So starting in the 1790s,

  • and really into the early 19th Century,

  • there's this slow transformation toward factory labor.

  • And you can see in this image here that a lot

  • of the people actually laboring in these factories

  • were women because young men kind of had a pretty good path

  • forward in life at this time period.

  • They could be farmers, like their fathers;

  • maybe they could learn a trade.

  • But for young women there wasn't necessarily

  • a form of income outside the house,

  • and so a man named Charles Lowell

  • decided to set up a whole series

  • of textile mills in what will be called

  • Lowell, Massachusetts.

  • It's just outside of Boston.

  • And then he primarily employed young women

  • to work in these textile mills.

  • Think partly because young women

  • were associated with working with fabric;

  • women frequently did the spinning

  • and the sewing in the household;

  • but also because women you could probably pay

  • a little bit less than young men for the same kind of labor.

  • So this is kind of a very slow revolution

  • toward individual work.

  • Because as a nation of farmers,

  • most people would have worked in a family unit.

  • And even some of the very earliest factories

  • in the United States would hire family units.

  • It was known as the Rhode Island System.

  • By this time, by Lowell's mills,

  • he started hiring individual workers for individual wages.

  • And the working conditions were pretty brutal.

  • Most women at the Lowell mills worked

  • 12-hour days with no air conditioning,

  • remember, this is long before there's air conditioning,

  • for pretty low wages.

  • I'd say probably about three dollars a week.

  • But despite the pretty harsh conditions,

  • for many of them this was a really good opportunity

  • 'cause this was the first time in their lives

  • they'd ever had any chance to make money of their own,

  • to be away from their families.

  • It's kind of expected that if you were a young woman

  • in Massachusetts you wanted to go work in the Lowell mills.

  • You could go there for a few years of your life,

  • make a little bit of money,

  • and then go back to your hometown, meet someone,

  • get married, start a family of your own.

  • So if kinda makes work for women

  • outside the home respectable.

  • And textile production is going to continue

  • to ramp up in the United States.

  • In the late 1840s

  • a man named Elias Howe

  • invents a really excellent sewing machine.

  • He's not the first man ever to invent a sewing machine.

  • There were versions of them stretching back

  • to think even the 1750s,

  • but Howe's sewing machine brought together

  • a lot of different capacities that made it

  • kinda the best sewing machine.

  • And it will be even further refined by Isaac Singer,

  • who we associate today with the Singer Sewing Machine.

  • And so these massive textile mills

  • really become the backbone of New England commerce.

  • But, they never would have gotten started

  • without another invention, which was the cotton gin.

  • And the cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney in 1793.

  • And what's important about the cotton gin,

  • so here's the gin, and basically it's kind of a box

  • with some spikes on it that allows you to take

  • these balls of cotton and separate them from the seeds.

  • And separating cotton from the seeds

  • was an extremely labor-intensive process.

  • If you've never held a ball of cotton,

  • it's extremely sticky, so you kinda have to wade through

  • the little bits of cotton, pull out these seeds.

  • It takes forever.

  • And so an average day's work would not produce

  • all that much cotton that was ready for market.

  • Well, Whitney completely revolutionizes this

  • with the cotton gin.

  • These little spikes help separate

  • the cotton seeds from the cotton ball,

  • and revolutionizes how much cotton can be produced

  • by a single person in a single day.

  • Whitney's cotton gin made it possible for a single person

  • to process 50 pounds of cotton in a single day,

  • which is just an order of magnitude more

  • than they were able to do beforehand.

  • This is really interesting 'cause it had

  • kind of a massive human cost in the form

  • of really bolstering the institution of slavery

  • in the American South because when farming cotton

  • was so labor-intensive it really wasn't very profitable;

  • and so the institution of slavery was actually

  • starting to die out a little bit.

  • Before the 1790s people were saying:

  • "Eh, I don't know if it's actually worth it to keep slaves."

  • So if it weren't for the cotton gin,

  • the United States might actually have outlawed slavery

  • considerably earlier than it ended up doing in the 1860s.

  • So it's interesting to note that even though these

  • inventions really changed the fabric of American society,

  • allowed some people to earn money

  • who had never been able to earn money before,

  • it also meant that the institution of slavery

  • was really entrenched in the United States

  • and would only continue to expand until the 1860s.

  • So that's a little bit of a peak into

  • the human cost of The Industrial Revolution.

  • And we'll get more into what some of those costs were

  • and what some of the benefits were in the next video.

- [Instructor] So some historians have actually said

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B1 US cotton textile revolution gin sewing united

The Market Revolution

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    Amy.Lin posted on 2017/10/21
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