What were the major factors that shaped the way in which labor and employment developed in America in the Colonial and Revolutionary eras?

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larrygates's profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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During the Colonial and Revolutionary eras, the Industrial Revolution had not yet come to the United States, so the factory system was not yet implemented. During the Washington Administration, Alexander Hamilton, as Secretary of the Treasury had proposed that the government subsidize and support manufacturing in the U.S. His ideas did not gain widespread support. Among those who opposed him were Thomas Jefferson, who dreamed of an agrarian society comprised of yeoman farmers.

For that reason, labor in the Southern colonies, which were primarily agricultural, was primarily comprised of indentured servants during the early years and later slaves. Hired hands were relatively few, as most people yearned to own their own property and farm it. Slavery was not unheard of in the North, but it was not as prevalent as in the South. Some labor there was performed by slaves; some small amount by hired hands; but most was performed in cottage industry settings where weavers, smiths, etc. worked in shops near or attached to their homes. Additional labor needed was often furnished by the worker's family.

etotheeyepi's profile pic

etotheeyepi | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Is this about the colonies which became the United States.  I don't know much about this, but I know that wages tended to be higher in the colonies than in Britain.  Adam Smith mentions that in The Wealth of Nations. That suggests that a shortage of labor shaped the way in which labor and employment developed in the colonial and revolutionary eras.

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