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What were the most important impacts of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S.?i am...

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nicknack | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 12, 2009 at 12:30 PM via web

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What were the most important impacts of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S.?

i am writing a research paper and i want to know what information i should look for. My topic is the Impact of the Industrial Revolution. Thank You

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 12, 2009 at 12:52 PM (Answer #2)

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I guess the first thing to ask is what period you are talking about.  We generally talk about the Industrial Revolution starting in Britain in the 1700s.  But we don't usually talk about an industrial boom in the US until the 1840s or so and the major industrialization of the US doesn't occur until after the Civil War.

If you're talking about the 1830s-1840s, look for information on:

  • Transcendentalism
  • The Second Great Awakening
  • The reforms of the 1840s

All of these are seen as reactions to the social changes brought by industrialization.

If you're talking about the later period, look for

  • Labor unions -- Knights of Labor, AFL, IWW
  • Robber barons and conspicuous consumption

For this period, the emphasis is on the bad conditions caused by industrialization (and the unions that fought it) and on the lives of the people who got rich from industrialization.

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted December 12, 2009 at 2:20 PM (Answer #3)

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The Industrial Revolution sparked a great many changes in America.  The development of machinery led to a need for workers to operate the machinery.  Work went from being rural and agrarian to include a greater need for urban workers in factories.  The need for more workers led to urbanization as people moved from farms and outside communities in order to live near the factories.  Cities developed with large populations.

 Immigration laws  increased quotas of immigrants allowed into America as people were needed to work in the factories.  The face of the labor force included men, women, and children. 

Incidents of juvenile delinquency rose as more and more people moved into the cities.  This occurred because the children whose parents worked in factories had no supervision, were often poor, and were in the streets.  Increased incidents of child mortality became attributed to deaths caused by car accidents.

It also led to the creation of persons of great wealth and a new layer of social stratification, middle class.  In addition, many new inventions came about. 

The Industrial Revolution was a gift and a curse because along with cities and factories came the first environmental pollution.  Working conditions were poor which led to protests and riots. The face of the American Worker and lifestyle changed forever.

The modes of transportation increased.  This enabled products and people to be moved from one area to another.  Electricity had become more usable and was now found in homes.  New educational fields developed as engineers were needed to create, build, repair, and maintain machinery.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 12, 2009 at 2:42 PM (Answer #4)

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The previous answer are pretty full, but let me underline a different perspective that deals in the area of thoughts, which has profound ramifications for the next hundred years. There was a burgeoning idea that through technology and industrial development, that the world would become a better place. There would be greater wealth and prosperity for all people, who were willing to work. In short, we see the birth of the American Dream. There was a utopian vision of the future. This would continue until WWI and it would be shattered again in WWII.

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted December 12, 2009 at 3:47 PM (Answer #5)

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Although the Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain, the US was soon to follow their lead.  You might explore what "cottage industries" were, and how the factory system altered how and where people produced things -- with interesting social and political implications.  You might also look at how heavy industries evolved in the US and why they did.   Much of the initial industrialization started in the Middle and Northeast Colonies; as it developed, you might explore how that began to widen the gap between different regions of the country, and what the implications were of that divergence.

 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 12, 2009 at 5:17 PM (Answer #6)

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I think that examining Howard Zinn's work on the topic might be quite useful.  He offers up a very interesting and very Marxist view of America during the Industrial Revolution.  The analysis of rich and poor disparities and differences in American experience could be of critical importance in examining the most important impacts of the Industrial Revolution.  In analyzing the growth, development, and maturation of America, I think that the establishment and entrenchment of rich versus poor gaps could be of vital importance in assessing the overall impact of the Industrial Revolution.  The idea of "Robber Barons and Rebels" guides Zinn's study and is worth exploring.

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ddupas | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted December 12, 2009 at 9:35 PM (Answer #7)

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The other posts to your question should give you plenty of ideas.  One topic not mentioned, one which I particularly enjoy teaching to my students, is the way in which the Industrial Revolution and its negative consequences - child labor, labor abuses, the exploitation of labor by the robber barons, the rise of cities & urban problems, etc. -- led to the Progressive movement and efforts to right those wrongs.  It's very inspiring when you read about the efforts of Mother Jones and Jane Addams to name a couple.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted December 16, 2009 at 8:03 PM (Answer #8)

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Another aspect you might look at are who were some of the people of the Industrial Revolution and what was their contribution. People like Eli Whitney, James Watt, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Alexander Bell , and Karl Benz just to name a few.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted December 16, 2009 at 9:58 PM (Answer #9)

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Industrial revolution had far reaching effect on the USA and the rest of the world in terms of not just the nature of technology, industry and economy, but also in all aspects of the way people lived. One useful way of collecting and organizing information for research paper on impact of Industrial Revolution is to organize it under suitable aspect of change. I am giving below a list of areas under which effect of industrial revolution can be studied.

  1. Production technology
  2. Product technology
  3. Forms and size of business organization.
  4. Condition of different sectors of economy such as industrial, agricultural and service.
  5. Nature of business and trade
  6. Employment practices
  7. Management practices
  8. Impact on old class structure of society and development of new ones.
  9. Income levels and standards of living of people
  10. Cultural changes
  11. Urbanization and immigration
  12. Influence on politics and international trade.
  13. Religion

The above list is not complete. More topics can be added to it as your research for the paper proceeds.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 20, 2011 at 8:14 AM (Answer #10)

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To me, the most important impact of the Industrial Revolution was the consumer economy. Life became about working for wages, spending money, and buying things. That had a huge impact on the world we live in today, from our values to our lifestyles.

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