This paper focuses on the growth of the industry in the U.S. in the first part of the 19th century on the example of the Lowell city. A close look on the data indicates that Lowell developed around the waterpower, which was available from the Merrimack River. Evidently, the workers built the first canal in 1796, and it was the first steps to the changes of the agricultural face of the city. Researches show that manufacturing began to take root through the entire country at about this time. Thus, the Embargo and the War of 1812 greatly stimulated local manufacturing, which disrupted normal commerce and soon forced the local population to change their opinion about goods consumption and supply more of their needs, especially food and cloth. Evidently, after the War of 1812, various British goods again became easily available in the U.S., and some small manufacturers left the business. On the other hand, others decided to make greater use of contemporary power machinery and expanded their operations. Therefore, in 1822, Francis Cabot Lowell built some mills in Lowell in partnership with Patrick Tracy Jackson (Malone, 2009). Obviously, the community acquired its name after Jackson’s partner. History shows that in 1826, the community grew bigger, and achieved the status of a town. Later, in 1830, Jackson obtained a special charter for a railroad to connect their town with Boston. Finally, Lowell became a city in 1836. Undoubtedly, the main reason for such a quick growth was the industrial revolution, which gave the community many possibilities for development and economic flourishing.
The data yielded by this study provides convincing evidence that the success of the Lowell industry seriously changed the face of the local community and in some aspects the entire nation. Thus, in 1822, Boston merchants began their campaign to transform a riverbank below the big thirty-foot falls of the provincial Merrimack River into the textile-manufacturing establishment, which could be the greatest in the country. These capitalists constantly improved the Merrimack canal, constructed specific machine shops, and built housing for various mill executives, operatives, and supervisors. Finally, the cotton mills of Lowell, Massachusetts began to employ the first female industrial labor force in the U.S. It was the first significant change, which seriously influenced the lives of the local community.
Obviously, the mills filled with girls from smaller communities who had good country morals and tried to stay away from the unpleasant and violent urban conditions. According to the data from the business documents, eighty-five percent of Lowell’s labor force consisted of single religious women between the ages of sixteen and thirty. However, the conditions of working soon changed due to the principles of industrial development, and women walked off their jobs to protest because the owners of the business made thirteen percent wage reduction. Although the strike failed, the women gained a sense of pride for their actions. It was one of the first serious women strikes in the history of the nation. Undoubtedly, it changed the gender roles in the Lowell.
It is important to highlight that women begin leaving Lowell mills after multiple battles between workers labors unions and factory masters. As a result, Irish immigrants replaced them (Weible, 2001). Evidently, as more and more Irish immigrant arrived in Lowell, crowded slums began to replace the once beautiful and accurately kept company-owned boardinghouses. Thus, Lowell mills started losing their honesty and morals and along with that constantly left the good and religious workers. It was the second change in the life of the community, because the cultural life started to degrade. The industrial and capitalistic principles did not pay much attention to religion, when there was a threat for profit.
On the other hand, wages and free housing in Lowell were excellent prospects for many farmers who lost their profits, so they tried to participate in the life of the community. As a result, land in Lowell changed dramatically, and it was the third serious change in the community. Obviously, what was once like the rural communities of the American East quickly changed as mills and housing transformed it from a small community to a seriously crowded industrial city. Undoubtedly, as these changes took place, the landscape of the city changed dramatically. People and buildings filled the streets, and the scenic area started to look like a slum. Later, as industry continued to swallow this area, people made various efforts to beautify the lands, but the hand of the industrial revolution continued to make its changes to the landscape. Furthermore, the land prices grew bigger, and now only rich people could afford housing.
Finally, all of these factors attributed to one of the most influential social and economic changes of the Industrial Revolution. Evidently, fast changes in manufacturing and trading influenced on widening of the gap between the poor and the rich citizens of the Lowell (More, 2002). Obviously, through a new market enterprise, those, who were in charge, continuously took huge advantage of the less fortunate. Therefore, poor continued to lose their capital. Undoubtedly, this widening of the social gap was beneficial to the highest of classes leaving the majority of the citizens to despair and strive to survive.
Taking everything into account, it is possible to conclude, that the industrial revolution seriously influenced the American life. The nation faced the new capitalistic ethics, which soon became the primary ideology of the national development.
Malone, Patrick. (2009).Waterpower in Lowell: Engineering and Industry in Nineteenth-Century America. Johns Hopkins University Press. 272.
More, Charles. (2002).Understanding the Industrial Revolution.Routledge Publishing. 208.
Weible, Robert. (1991).The Continuing Revolution: A History of Lowell.Lowell Historical Society. 430.