The American Promise, Ch 11 Outline

The American Promise Value Edition, Combined Version (Volumes I & II): A History of the United States

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I. The Market Revolution A. Improvements in Transportation 1. Between 1815 and 1840, networks of roads, canals, steamboats, and railroads dramatically raised the speed and lowered the cost of travel. 2. Improved transportation moved goods and products into wider markets, people to new destinations, and facilitated the flow of political information through heavy traffic in newspapers, periodicals, books, and the U.S. mail. 3. Enhanced public transport was expensive and produced uneven economic benefits, so administrations from Jefferson to Monroe were reluctant to fund it with federal dollars, and instead relied on private enterprise. 4. The introduction of Robert Fulton's steamboat, the Clermont, in 1807 transformed water travel. 5. Steamboats were not without their disadvantages; boiler explosions led to terrible mass fatalities, and their wood-fired engines led to deforestation of the banks of main rivers and polluted the air. 6. Canals were another innovation of the transportation revolution, and New York and Pennsylvania led the way with state-sponsored canal enterprises. 7. In the 1830s, private railroad companies began to give canals stiff competition, and, although canals were used for freight for many more years, by the 1840s, the era of canal- building was over. 8. Railroads and other advances in transportation made possible enormous changes by unifying the country culturally and economically. B. Factories, Workingwomen, and Wage Labor 1. Transportation advances promoted a rapid expansion of manufacturing after 1815, creating a larger market for goods. 2. The first American factories, featuring mechanical spinning machines, targeted young women as employees; because of their limited employment options, the girls were willing to work for the low wages, which were better than those of a maid or seamstress. 3. In 1821, a group of Boston entrepreneurs founded the town of Lowell, Massachusetts, where all aspects of cloth production—combing, shrinking, spinning, weaving, and dyeing—were centralized. 4. By 1830, the eight mills in Lowell employed more than 5,000 young women, who lived in closely supervised company-owned boardinghouses. 5. Despite the discomforts of mill work, young women left rural farms and flocked to factory towns with the hope of earning money and gaining more autonomy. 6. Emboldened by their communal living arrangements and by their relative independence from the job as temporary employees, workers protested mill owners' efforts to speed up work and lower wages in the 1830s, but their easy replaceability undermined their bargaining power and, by the 1840s, owners began to shift to immigrant families for their labor source. 7. Other manufacturing enterprises of the 1820s and 1830s, such as shoemaking, employed women in ever larger numbers, mostly as shoebinders.
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8. When shoebinders' wages fell in the economically turbulent 1830s, some women organized resistance through church networks to protest, but their efforts to protest management's move were significantly hampered by their isolation.
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