In the s, female mill operatives in Lowell formed the Lowell Factory Girls Association to organize strike activities in the face of wage cuts and, later, established the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association to protest the twelve-hour workday. They distributed legislative petitions, formed labor organizations, contributed essays and articles to pro-labor newspapers, and protested through turn-outs or strikes. Even though strikes were rarely successful and workers usually were forced to accept reduced wages and increased hours, work stoppages as a form of labor protest represented the beginnings of the labor movement in the United States.
In the antebellum era—that is, in the years before the Civil War—American planters in the South continued to grow Chesapeake tobacco and Carolina rice as they had in the colonial era. In , Eli Whitney revolutionized the production of cotton when he invented the cotton gin, a device that separated the seeds from raw cotton. Suddenly, a process that was extraordinarily labor-intensive when done by hand could be completed quickly and easily. American plantation owners, who were searching for a successful staple crop to compete on the world market, found it in cotton.
A cotton gin on display at the Eli Whitney Museum : The invention of the cotton gin revolutionized the textile industry in the early nineteenth century and transformed the economy of the South. As a commodity, cotton had the advantage of being easily stored and transported. A demand for it already existed in the industrial textile mills in Great Britain, and in time, a steady stream of slave-grown American cotton would also supply northern textile mills. Southern cotton, picked and processed by American slaves, helped fuel the nineteenth-century Industrial Revolution in both the United States and Great Britain.
New Orleans, Louisiana, and Galveston, Texas, were shipping points that derived substantial economic benefit from cotton raised throughout the South. Additionally, the development of large-scale mills and metal machine tools dramatically increased textile production in northern mill towns in the early s.
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Though cotton was primarily grown for export to Europe, this textile boom in New England created an important domestic market for southern cotton producers. Due to its profound effect on American slavery, the growth of the cotton industry is frequently cited as one of the causes of the American Civil War. The number of slaves rose in concert with the increase in cotton production, increasing from approximately , in to roughly 3. A congressional ban on the importation of slaves from Africa in only increased the demand for domestic slaves on cotton plantations, hindering the work of abolitionists who sought to end slavery.
Slave market in Atlanta, Georgia, : This image depicts the site of a slave market in Atlanta in The cotton industry in the South was fully dependent on the institution of slavery. The United States experienced a communication revolution in in the early s, during which the penny press and the electrical telegraph emerged. Advances in forms of communications greatly expanded in the United States during the early s. The penny press and the electrical telegraph were among the innovations that emerged during this communications revolution.
In the early s, newspapers were largely meant for the elite. They generally took two forms: mercantile sheets intended for the business community, which contained ship schedules, wholesale product prices, advertisements, and some foreign news; and political newspapers, which were controlled by political parties or their editors as a means of sharing their views with elite stakeholders. Journalists reported the party line and editorialized in favor of party positions.
Mass production of inexpensive newspapers became possible due to the shift from handcrafted printing to steam-powered printing. Penny papers—specifically targeting the working class urban population—quickly became widespread. The cheap sensationalized news sources covered crime, tragedy, adventure, and gossip, and these newspapers easily shifted allegiance on political issues. The changes made during the Penny Press era set the standards for all future newspapers, and those standards are still implemented today.
In , Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail developed an electrical telegraph capable of transmitting text messages over long distances using wire. Together, they developed the Morse code signaling alphabet system. In , the U. Improved communication systems fostered the development of business, economics, and politics by allowing for dissemination of news at a speed previously unknown.
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Learning Objectives Summarize the key technological, political, and geographic factors that contributed to the Market Revolution in the United States. Key Takeaways Key Points The Market Revolution was characterized by a shift away from local or regional markets to national markets. Large-scale domestic manufacturing, concentrated in the North, decreased dependence on foreign imports and resulted in an increase in wage labor.
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The rapid development and westward expansion during the Market Revolution resulted in land speculation which caused economic boom and bust. Key Terms wage labor : The socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an employer, in which the worker sells his labor under a formal or informal employment contract. American System : A set of manufacturing methods that evolved in the nineteenth century, characterized by a system for making interchangeable parts and a high degree of mechanization that results in a more efficient use of labor compared to hand methods.
Eli Whitney : An American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin. Transportation: Roads, Canals, and Railroads In the nineteenth century, the construction of roads, rails, and canals dramatically improved national mobility. Learning Objectives Describe the revolution in transportation in the nineteenth century and its contribution to economic growth.
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Key Takeaways Key Points During the first quarter of the nineteenth century, the federal government, state governments, and private investors directed significant resources to the transportation sector. The National Road, or Cumberland Road, was the first highway built by the federal government. The development of the Erie Canal, extending from New York State to the Great Lakes, cut the costs of freight transport by 95 percent and contributed greatly to the wealth and stature of New York City.
Though canals offered tremendous advantages over land shipment, they could not compete with the efficiency and flexibility of the railroad.
With improved methods of transportation came the concept of Manifest Destiny; land developers, railroad magnates, and other investors capitalized on westward settlement into American Indian land. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad : One of the oldest rail lines in the United States and the first common carrier rail line. National Road : The first major improved highway in the United States to be built by the federal government.
Factories, Working Women, and Wage Labor Industrialization in the United States was marked by a growth in factories and an implementation of wage labor, as well as by an increase in the number of working women and deskilled workers. Learning Objectives Describe the early years of industrialization in the American Northeast. Key Takeaways Key Points Beginning with the textile industry, wage labor began to replace family labor and apprenticeship as the dominant form of labor in the United States. Young women were the primary labor force in the textile industry, though children often were employed in mills, too.
Census Bureau has projected that non-Hispanic whites will make up less than 50 percent of the population by , a change that almost certainly will recast American race relations and the role and status of white Americans, who have long been a comfortable majority.
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This is a conversation already exploding across the country as some white Americans, in online forums and protests over the removal of Confederate monuments, react anxiously and angrily to a sense that their way of life is under threat. Those are the stories that grab headlines and trigger social media showdowns.
For decades, examining race in America meant focusing on the advancement and struggles of people of color. Under this framework, being white was simply the default. In a period bookended by the presidential elections of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, the question of what it means to be white in America has increasingly taken center stage. On several fronts, there is growing evidence that race is no longer a spectator sport for white Americans: The growth of whiteness studies courses on college campuses.
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Battles over immigration and affirmative action. The debate over the history and symbols of the Confederacy. The protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August likely will be remembered as a moment when hate groups, wearing polo shirts and khakis, stepped out of the shadows. But matters of race are complicated, and academics and researchers who closely chart the fractious history of race relations in this country note that the Charlottesville demonstrations—though widely pilloried—also punctuate an issue that animates everything from politics to job prospects and even the world of professional sports: the fear of displacement in an era of rapid change.
Just over 10 years ago, Hazleton was thrust into the national spotlight when the mayor, now U. It set steep penalties for those who hire or rent to undocumented immigrants. It was accompanied by an ordinance that sought to make English the official language of Hazleton.
The laws were introduced amid rising cultural tension in the community, which was seeing an influx of Latinos, many moving from New York and New Jersey. Federal courts ruled the ordinance was preempted by U. But the episode still reverberates, says Jamie Longazel, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City who grew up in Hazleton and has done extensive research on the demographic changes in his hometown. The city reasserted its identity as white. His research found repeated themes. Did that many people really witness a Latino family at the grocery store using food stamps to buy seafood and steak, or did the stories spiral forward on their own weight, embraced and repeated as personal observation?
And why did so few people in his research reference the new residents who were paying taxes, going to church twice a week, buying sedans on Airport Road, and opening businesses that percolate all up and down North Wyoming Street? Hazleton now looks, sounds, smells, and feels transformed. Over and over you hear longtime residents say they feel like strangers on their home turf.
Yale, the coffee shop owner, has watched most of her classmates from Bishop Hafey High School leave Hazleton, mainly for better job prospects. She opted to stay and opened her gourmet coffee shop, called the Abbey, with its gleaming red espresso machine and its home-style meals. Yale pulled out of Funfest years ago. The irony is evident to Yale. Her grandfather came to Hazleton from Italy in the early s and became an insurance agent and Americanized his name from Yuele to Yale.
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