What effects did the factory system have on the American social structure?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As more people in the United States went to work in factories, the social structures that had bound Americans together became weaker.  America had been a more communal society with informal social structures.  With the coming of factories, it became a more rationalized society with more formal structures.

Before the factories, people worked out of their own homes.  They typically produced most of the things they needed and traded for the few things they did not produce.  They lived in places where everyone knew everyone else.  Society as a whole kept order through informal social pressures. 

With the rise of factories, all of this changed.  Work and home became separate places and ideas.  People no longer lived in small communities with a relatively few people who knew them.  Informal social pressures could not keep order among large groups of people who did not know one another well.  Society moved towards the more formalized, rationalized system based on laws and more commercialized (rather than personal) relationships in which we now live.

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