How would you have reacted to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in America?How would you have reacted to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in America?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This would have depended to a great degree on who I was.  There would have been people who reacted very positively to the changes and others who did not.

If I had been someone who was happy being my own boss and working when and how I wanted to, the Industrial Revolution would have made me very unhappy.  I would all of a sudden have been working for someone else, with them telling me when and how to work.  I might have gotten angry and tried to create a union or I might have gotten depressed.  Maybe I would have turned to one of the new religious movements that was arising.

If I were an educated person who got a pretty good job in one of the new companies, I would have felt good.  I would have felt that the US was becoming more economically powerful and that this would be a good thing for our country.

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree 100% with post #2 in that it would depend largely on who I was. But the larger point, I think, is that the Industrial Revolution (and the Market Revolution that preceded/accompanied it) limited many people's options rather than expanding them. If you didn't have the capital to invest in business, you had only one choice- to work for someone else. This doesn't sound bad to us today, but for a country with a long tradition of freehold farming and craftsmanship, it represented an enormous change.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
How I reacted would depend on what I was and what my class status was. If I was a poor farmer, I might very well give up my land and move to the city to work in a factory. If I was a businessman, I would try to find a need that could be filled with a mass produced good.