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Development of New Lands by Americans in the First Half of the 19th Century

The first half of the 19th century was marked by the intense development of industry and production. In turn, this process prompted more and more Americans to move to towns, the population of which was growing rapidly. The increase in production in factories required a large number of workers, which negatively affected working conditions. The document Complaint of a Lowell factory worker emphasizes that factory owners often forced employees to work for “twelve and thirteen hours per day” (Forner, 2017, p. 166). This situation certainly caused dissatisfaction among the workers, who viewed themselves under such conditions as slaves. The economy of the period of the industrial revolution was built on the labor of factory workers who were exploited for maximum profit.

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People were especially dissatisfied with the ostentatious piety and religiosity of the owners, which is also emphasized in the document. The author of the complaint notes that the owners care more about the abstract good, while they “care nothing for the bodies and intellects of those within their own precincts” (Forner, 2017, p. 167). This situation could not fail to lead workers to the highest degree of dissatisfaction with their situation, which ultimately led to a series of strikes. The extensive exploitation of workers, whose only income was labor in the factory, in the first half of the 19th century became an industrial form of slavery.

The explosive growth of manufacturing and cities pushed the Americans to develop new lands and advance to the West as well. This process required many to become pioneers who leave the comfortable conditions of the city in search of opportunities. The document A woman in the westward movement describes the experience of a woman who is part of a group moving from New York to Michigan. The author notes that the journey was difficult for her because of the wilderness in which the pioneers had to make it. Especially noteworthy are the additional challenges and fears the move presented for women.

First of all, this activity required women to perform new and unusual functions. Harriet L. Noble notes that for a “woman quite out of “her legitimate sphere” in turning mason” (Forner, 2017, p. 173). However, the development of new lands required them the same participate in the construction of housing and the provision of living conditions as men. The new features were in addition to the pre-existing concerns that were familiar to American women. The document notes that during the trip and overnight, Harriet, in contrast to male pioneers, could not sleep and watched the camp. Additionally, she was concerned about the children since they met a “determined to swap babies” (Forner, 2017, p. 173). Thus, the advancement of Americans in the West, in search of new economic opportunities, entrusted women with new responsibilities for the development of settlements in addition to the tasks already at hand. This process also forced them to abandon the comfortable conditions of cities and move to less populated areas that could provide both new agricultural and industrial prospects.

Reference

Forner, E. (ed.). (2017). Voices of Freedom: A documentary history (Vol. 1). W. W. Norton & Company.

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StudyCorgi. "Development of New Lands by Americans in the First Half of the 19th Century." October 30, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/development-of-new-lands-by-americans-in-the-first-half-of-the-19th-century/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Development of New Lands by Americans in the First Half of the 19th Century." October 30, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/development-of-new-lands-by-americans-in-the-first-half-of-the-19th-century/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Development of New Lands by Americans in the First Half of the 19th Century'. 30 October.

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