The Market Revolution, Industrialization, and New Technologies

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Name three positive and negative impacts the American Industrial Revolution had on the U.S.

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The Industrial Revolution was a boost for the United States and provided lots of opportunities for Americans to find work. I was just thinking about the "Technology Revolution", it has caused automation and the loss of jobs.

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In addition to the workload and demand for more workers came the demand and opportunity for women to work outside of the home in areas other than teaching and nursing.  Of course, along with all that opportunity came poor working conditions and the need for Unions who would help regulate such conditions which were rebelled against in America just as they were decades before in Europe by social critics like Dickens.

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Great list by brettd.  I'd like to add one more issue to the discussion.  The Industrial Revolution changed the concept of work in America on several levels.  First, as productivity advanced, so did the need for more workers and more work hours.  More people entered the workforce than ever before, actually causing a nationwide shift in polulation from the rural to the more urban areas, where the jobs were.  Working long hours (the abuses which were mentioned above and later alleviated to a large degree by unions) became the norm for non-agricultural workers and would set the precedent for the industrious work ethic of today's work force.  Second, as people had more money to spend and more products to buy, the roots of materialism were planted.  The kind of "live to work, work to live" attitude for which so much of the world berates us (and which the Transcendentalists denounced in favor of "simplicity) was born. 

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I think it is important to highlight the first negative that is mentioned in #2 - really, many would argue that the environmental crisis that we are facing today had its roots in the Industrial Revolution that spawned so much contamination, pollution and damage to the environment. Of course, this is something that we are seeing repeated across the globe as each country that could be described as "under-developed" went through their industrial revolution with the same damaging environmental effects.

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The Industrial Revolution was a long process of economic change in the United States, lasting well over a century. There are more advantages and disadvantages than are listed here, but let me choose a few of the more important ones in my opinion:

Positive:

1) Improved peoples' daily lives - by diversifying the number and quality of the kinds of products factories could turn out, ordinary Americans learned better, lived better and had more time on their hands as conveniences and efficiencies defined the Industrial Revolution

2) Transportation and technology - the expansion of business and factories expanded our transportation network out of necessity and brought us canals, highways and turnpikes. It better connected us together as a society. We also saw technological innovation like interchangeable parts (Eli Whitney) and the textile mill (Samuel Slater) which revolutionized how we lived.

3) Jobs - Factories in the major cities created hundreds of thousands of jobs, expanded the cities, attracted immigrants by the millions and forever changed the landscape of the country, especially in the Northeast.

Negatives:

1) Environmental damage - there were few if any rules regarding how resources could be removed and used. The air was horribly polluted from factories, as was the soil and rivers. It would take decades to recover from this damage.

2) Exploitation - while jobs were created, there were few if any rules about how much people could be paid, what training they would receive and whether they could be fired for any reason. The jobs were dangerous and if you died, no one really cared. Profit was God.

3) Political corruption - the amount of money generated by the Industrial Revolution created a class of super rich who could buy any politician or process. During most of the later Industrial Revolution, Washington DC politicians were hopelessly corrupt, and the people and democracy lost in the bargain.

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