How did the changes brought by industrialization shape Americans’s identities, beliefs, and culture?

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Industrialization and mass production in the United States made goods cheaper. Now, with interchangeable parts, one did not need to hire a worker who could assemble a whole product; rather, one could hire a worker who could snap a piece onto a product. This enabled the rise of urbanization in...

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Industrialization and mass production in the United States made goods cheaper. Now, with interchangeable parts, one did not need to hire a worker who could assemble a whole product; rather, one could hire a worker who could snap a piece onto a product. This enabled the rise of urbanization in the United States, as people wanted to live closer to the factories. It also meant that a small number of people now controlled a great deal of the wealth due to the work of lesser-paid people who were often viewed as expendable parts of the factory machine.

Industrialization also led Americans to focus more on infrastructure. Infrastructural improvements and trade protections were the two key planks of the Whig Party before the Civil War. Manufacturers sought to make their goods available all over the country. This would lead to mail-order catalogs and shipping goods via railroads. It also led to an American consumerism culture that saw labor and the environment as an inexhaustible supply of things to exploit.

Industrialization also led to culture changes. Workers began to fear other immigrant groups, as they would dilute the labor market which, at the time, had no minimum wage. Industrialists viewed workers as just another commodity to use until they were unable to work, at which time they could be replaced. Factory owners also sought out women and children to work in factories, as they could justify paying them less because these two groups weren't meant to be the primary breadwinner for a family. Industrialization gave women the option of working outside the home, and this would eventually lead to women agitating for more rights such as suffrage.

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Industrialization was a huge turning point for the US because it not only helped develop technology that improved the economy, but it also helped lead to further expansion of the West. It also led to the tensions that led up to the Civil War. Industrialization involved the development of new technology that helped improve the way work was done. For example, the cotton gin helped slaves go from being able to produce only one pound of clean cotton a day to fifty pounds of clean cotton a day, which greatly boosted the Southern economy. In the North, which didn't have as good a climate for things like cotton plantations, a manufacturing society developed. Factory systems were created where large amounts of workers would work at cotton mills, for example, to produce a large amount of material to be sold. That technology helped people to get rich by owning factories, producing large amounts of goods, and only paying their workers minimal amounts. It also helped improve expansion to the West, because it brought railroads (a much faster mode of transportation over rough terrain than the covered wagon) as well as the telegraph, which helped improve the communication system over large distances.

Mass production and westward expansion fueled Americans' belief that working hard could help them achieve their goals. New developments and innovations were extremely valued. Industrialization also contributed to the idea that to grow and conquer was the way to go, and westward expansion was part of that perceived growth process.

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