The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution

The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution

Charles R. Morris

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 1610393570

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In the first few decades of the nineteenth century, America went from being a largely rural economy, with little internal transportation infrastructure, to a fledgling industrial powerhouse––setting the stage for the vast fortunes that would be made in the golden age of American capitalism. In The Dawn of Innovation, Charles R. Morris vividly brings to life a time when three stupendous American innovations––universal male suffrage, the shift of political power from elites to the middle classes, and a broad commitment to mechanized mass-production––gave rise to the world’s first democratic, middle-class, mass-consumption society, a shining beacon to nations and peoples ever since. Behind that ideal were the machines, the men, and the trading and transportation networks that created a new, world-class economic power.

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William Henry Harrison took a large force of Ohio and Kentucky volunteers in pursuit. Proctor fought an orderly retreat, but Tecumseh attempted to make a stand at the Thames River, where he was shot in the heart and reportedly skinned by Harrison’s frontiersmen. With him died the idea of a northwestern Indian alliance. Perry’s courage was widely celebrated. He embarked on a national tour of parades and speaking engagements, and his victory became a fabled episode in elementary school textbooks.

and golf courses, in keeping with the aspirations of the country’s nouveau riche. Hastily extended urban water systems leak away about a fifth of the supply. To make matters much worse, Chinese industry is notoriously polluting, so large portions of the available water supply is becoming unusable—a quarter of it is so polluted that it is unsuitable even for industrial purposes. Official Chinese forecasts suggest that the country’s available water will be at the World Bank’s “scarcity” level

1792–1793 “perfecting” a working model of his gin, as he told his father, it is hard to explain why he didn’t simply ship it to Jefferson’s office. And if the saw gin had been Whitney’s first choice all along, as he claimed, it’s even harder to explain why he struggled to make the wire-toothed solution when he was under time pressure to deliver a model and even later, through the first several years of the business. The wire-toothed cylinder was a simple component but a fussy manufacturing

interesting travelogue, it is much blander than Trollope or Dickens and lacks the insight of a Tocqueville. CHAPTER SIX 1 Robert A. Margo, “The Labor Force in the Nineteenth Century,” in Engerman and Gallman, eds., The Long Nineteenth Century, 213. 2 Robert A. Gallman, “Growth and Change in the Long Nineteenth Century,” in Engerman and Gallman, eds., The Long Nineteenth Century, 52 (Table 1.15). 3 Stuart M. Blumin, The Emergence of the Middle Class: Social Experience in the American City

continued to operate at a constant speed, and would make a comparable adjustment as the failed looms were brought back on line. Corliss marketed his machine in the early days by offering customers an option of a fixed price or a sum geared to actual fuel savings. Customers who chose the contingent price always paid much more. Fuel savings were even higher than raw fuel consumption data suggest, because the intrinsic regularity of the operation allowed the use of lower-quality coals. Textile mill

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