One of the defining moments in American history is the industrial revolution, a term used to refer to a period in early 19th century whereby production shifted from hand and home based to machine and factory based. The period was characterized by introduction of changes in agriculture, manufacturing as well as transportation.
The first industrial revolution though occurred in United Kingdom in the late 18th century. The industrial revolution (also called the second industrial revolution) led to two classes in the American society, the owners of the factories or the means of production and those working for wages or the laborers (Sellers 14).
The industrial revolution led to three significant developments: The transport network was significantly expanded, electricity was harnessed and expanded and the industrial processes were accelerated. The development of electricity and railroads contributed to more efficient production of goods and material.
The industrial revolution, considered an economic revolution, shifted America from a more agricultural society to one which industry and manufacturing took center stage. Towns and cities also witnessed growth due to the increase of rural urban migration. (Greenberg 57)
The industrial revolution gave rise to another form of change referred to as the market revolution. The economy became more money based and more banks began to open. Entrepreneurship began to grow with people gaining more access to bank loans.
The market revolution led to rapid increase in city populations. Due to overpopulation in the eastern cities, more and more people moved west leading to a stage known as western expansion. The rapid growth of cities and population growth resulted to division of classes with the upper and lower classes becoming more separate.
The northern territories in the 1840s experienced economic boom, more jobs and money for people, increased opportunity and access to a wide variety of goods and services. Some of the long term effects of market revolution include industrial and capitalism – an economic system where production is controlled by large private corporations and by individuals motivated by profits. (Sellers 18)
Steps to abolish slavery in southern America gained momentum In early 19th century with the rise of abolitionist movements. Slavery was labeled as a social evil by many after the American revolution of the 18th century. Northern states embarked on passing emancipation acts geared towards recognizing blacks as free men and abolishing slavery.
The abolitionist movement grew in number and in strength throughout America with strong opposition coming from the south where the white population greatly profited from forced labor. Most abolitionists preferred to use the legal means to end slavery but a few used armed forces. The banning of slavery in the Northern states did not automatically lead to them being freed but it set ground for gradual emancipation.
The sale of slaves within the state was also banned. More than ninety percent of slaves were to be found in the southern states. After emancipation in the north, the United States experienced large migration of African American slaves from the southern states to the northern territories.
In 1808, the American congress banned further importation of slaves and later the American Colonization Society started shipping willing blacks back to Africa. The rising tensions between the antislavery movement and the slavery supporters in the south were a major factor in causing the American civil war (Sellers 20).
The American nation was founded on the principle that all men are born free and equal. Slavery was an inhumane practice and I am opposed to it. I would therefore have been active in the abolitionist movements that followed legal means.
Sellers, Charles. The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, New York: Oxford U. Press, 1991 p 12-55
Greenberg, D. ‘Reassessing the power patterns of the industrial revolution: an Anglo American comparison’ American Historical Association: 2000 45-88