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Industry and The North 1790-1840. Chapter 12. Rural Life & the Family Labor System. The Springer Family. Yeomen existence Sold dairy products, wool, livestock Raised crops for family use and commercial sale Local bartering network and mutual obligation – little to no cash

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Rural life the family labor system
Rural Life & the Family Labor System

The Springer Family

  • Yeomen existence

  • Sold dairy products, wool, livestock

  • Raised crops for family use and commercial sale

  • Local bartering network and mutual obligation – little to no cash

  • Entire family worked together

  • Some in New England did another skill like shoemaking

Urban artisans and workers
Urban Artisans and Workers

Pre-Industrial Society

  • Learned trade through apprentice system

  • Worked up to journeyman and then master craftsman

  • Worked as a family with father as boss and owner

  • Women had responsibility for management of the household and as informal assistants

The social order
The Social Order

  • Everyone had their place and most did not challenge that

  • Market Revolution is going to change the social order

Accumulation of capital
Accumulation of Capital

Market Revolution

  • Rapid improvements in transportation, commercialization and industrialization

  • Merchants of Northern seaboard accumulated great wealth and invested in these new enterprises

  • Southern cotton produced by slaves bankrolled industrialization

The putting out system
The Putting-Out System

Shoemaking example but also occurred when making other goods.

Not uniform across the country – gradual change

  • Merchants “put out” raw goods to people’s homes

  • Journeyman cut leather and his wife & daughters sewed the uppers for shoes

  • Wages for piece-work replace bartering

  • Families bought more things instead of making them at home

British technology american industry
British Technology & American Industry

What Jefferson wanted to avoid

  • British industry started with textile mills

  • Deplorable conditions for the workers

Slater s mill
Slater’s Mill

British wanted to protect their technology and didn’t allow written plans so Slater had to memorize the entire factory works in his head while on a tour.

  • Brought plans for a cotton-spinning factory to America

  • Followed British custom of hiring women and children

The lowell mills
The Lowell Mills

Francis Cabot Lowell

Mill provide foundation for school schedule we still use today.

Girls ages 15 – 21 sent money home to farm family

  • Helped invent power loom

  • Built first integrated cotton mill near Boston in 1814

  • Drove out smaller competition and an entire town grew around his enterprise

  • Strict schedules run by bells

  • Farm girls lived in dorms and worked 6 days and attended church most of the day on Sunday

Family mills
Family Mills

Influx of immigrants will cause friction between early mill workers and the immigrants


  • Entire families worked in them and pooled their income

  • More common than mills like Lowell’s

  • Shift to a precise schedule a switch from farming

  • Shift from father being the boss to someone one else making decisions for them

American system of manufactures
American System of Manufactures

Eli Whitney and others developed this

  • Interchangeable parts – started with rifles

  • Standardization spreads to other things like sewing machines

  • Mass production

  • Wide-spread availability of goods changes American thinking about democracy and equality

Personal relationships
Personal Relationships

Could break task into smaller parts and have unskilled women and children do the work formerly done by artisans

  • Putting-out system destroys apprenticeship and artisan production

  • Personal relationships between master worker and workers was replaced by impersonal wage system

Mechanization women s work
Mechanization & Women’s Work

Had to work to pace of the machine

Not always safe

  • More women found work in mills or worked at paid tasks at home

  • Garment industry – women could sew ready-made clothing for piece rates

  • Women might work 15-18 hours a day because the pay was so low

Time work and leisure
Time, Work, and Leisure

Workers felt their interests were different from those of their employers and moved to new jobs

  • Used to long hours but not such a strict regimen

  • Absenteeism was common

  • Separate work and leisure – not all at home

  • More taverns and spectator sports develop

  • Only contact with owner was when paid – little loyalty

The cash economy
The Cash Economy

Women played a role in early labor protests since they were often working in the textile mills.

  • Decline of the barter system

  • Severed ties between families who had seen each other often and helped each other out

  • Impersonal relationships with factory owners led to strikes although most were unsuccessful

Wealth and class
Wealth and Class

Needed managers and clerks in factories

New jobs for those looking to advance in life

  • Upper class stayed about the same

  • Others could rise up the ladder

  • “Middling sorts” grew rapidly

  • Changed attitudes and emphasized sobriety, steadiness and separated from the working class

  • Religion also played a role

Religion and personal life
Religion and Personal Life

Evangelism became the religion of the new middle class

  • Second Great Awakening moved from frontier to market towns

  • Stressed salvation through personal faith

  • Charles G. Finney urged acceptance of self-discipline and individualism that religion brought

The new middle class family
The New Middle-Class Family

Men were seen as steady, industrious, responsible

Women were seen as nurturing, gentle, and moral

  • Wife concentrated on domestic tasks

  • Attitudes about male & female roles and qualities hardened

  • Popularity of housekeeping

  • Catherine Beecher – the Martha Stewart of her time

Family limitation
Family Limitation

Birth control, abstinence, abortion

  • Physicians urged that sexual impulses be controlled

  • Since women possessed superior morality it fell to them to be strong

  • Children who did not work in middle class families were an economic liability

  • Needed to limit family size

Middle class children
Middle-Class Children

Family all contributed to the success of the husband

  • Children prolonged their education and professional training

  • Mothers were responsible for teaching children self-discipline

  • Networked and read advice books and magazines


Good Old Days!!

  • Backlash against competitive nature that was developing

  • Yearning for a simpler time

  • Many novels written by women

  • Became more concerned with maintaining social codes

Transcendentalism self reliance
Transcendentalism & Self-Reliance

Walden Pond – so visited by Thoreau fans that at one point it had the highest urine content of any body of water in the U.S.

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Henry David Thoreau

    • Of course he could live simply because once a week he went home to mom for food and laundry

  • Emphasized individualism and communion with nature

  • Live simply, be self-sufficient