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

Asked on by worcester

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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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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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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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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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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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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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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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:


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.


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.

Here's a short video that gives an overview of the effects of the Industrial Revolution:


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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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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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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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On the positive side, the American Revolution overthrew the British rule and made the colonies a country. As a country, they could set their own destiny. They also avoided the taxation with no representation. On the negative side, it's kind of like moving out of your parents' house. You're happy to be independent, but not sure how to do everything on your own. That means we needed to write a constitution, find a way for the states to get along, and defend ourselves from attack.
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zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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  • The Industrial Revolution changed the ways by how the world produced its goods.
  • It changed our societies from a mainly agricultural society to one that in which industry and manufacturing was in control. 
  • The Industrial Revolution was a time of dramatic change, from hand tools and handmade items, to products which were msass produced by machines.


  • Pollution increased, working conditions were harmful, and with the employed of women and young children, making them work long and hard hours.
  •  From the time of its start, the factories and industry has increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by two-folds.
  • Many people were driven to the cities to look for work, in turn the ended living in the cities that could not support them.
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Chantelm | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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The Industrial Revolution 

- Affected the economy 

-brought more jobs

- new technology 

on the other hand

- there were poor living conditions

- the workers were worked to death

- women and children had to work

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Positive things that the Industrial Revolution brought was a greater economic benefit for the country to be operating at such efficiencies, and it created new technological changes and improvements in the ares of commercialization, mechanization, and the assembly line. One of the unfortunate disadvantages was that it created hardships for women and children to be working long hours in factories for such little pay.

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macd5301 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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The American Industrial Revolution can directly be attributed to the technological improvements during this time period.  With the invention of interchangeable parts by Eli Whitney, factories were now able to produce more products and sell them at cheaper prices giving American people access to products they hadn’t had before.  The disadvantage to this was that the development of factories and interchangeable parts lead to the destruction of the craftsman who worked from home and in some cases the quality of products that were sold.  During this time period the need for employees also increased giving the large amounts of Scottish and Irish immigrants coming to the United States during this time period employment.  The disadvantage to this was that so many immigrants were coming to the United States during this time period given the availability of work that cities became overcrowded and were not ready to handle the increase in population.  Another advantage of the American Industrial Revolution was that it increased wealth and opportunity in the United States.  The disadvantage within this increase in wealth was that often times the wealth was not evenly distributed throughout the United States.  Many factory owners prospered during this time while many immigrants were forced to work in dangerous working conditions for very little pay.

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