What Were The Causes And Effects Of Industrialization Essay

Teacher materials for the End of Unit Exam for 10.3 aligned to the NYS Global History and Geography Transition Exam

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Causes

Embargo Act of 1807

Of the many factors that led to the Industrial Revolution, two of the biggest and most significant were the Embargo Act of 1807 and the War of 1812. President Thomas Jefferson set the Embargo Act of 1807 during the Napoleonic Wars. During the Napoleonic Wars, Britain's navy had seized Americans and their cargo to help with their war. In the Chesapeake area, Britain's navy opened fire when they weren't allowed to search one of America's ships. At the time, America was neutral. Despite protests, Britain continued. Later on, they resorted to impressment, forcing American sailors into their army. Thomas Jefferson  issued the Embargo of 1807 as a general embargo, restricting trade with all foreign countries, particularly Britain and France. He had hoped that this embargo would devastate Britain and France's economies because they would not receive American goods anymore. He had hoped this would persuade them to respect America's neutrality and stop impressment. 

However, the embargo did exactly the opposite. Britain and France's economies continued without any problems. They were unaffected by the embargo. The United States, on the other hand, was devastated. Its economy suffered. There was high unemployment, bankruptcy, and loss of profits. Lack of trade with foreign countries limited their lives because they had to live without many foreign products. With no foreign goods, the people of the United States had to resort to other options -- producing their own goods. 

War of 1812

Many factors led to the War of 1812:
  • Troubles with Native Americans
  • War Hawks
  • British aid to Native Americans
  • Impressment
  • Foreign nations did not respect America

Native Americans continuously fought with the Americans because of American expansion. Shawnee warrior, Tecumseh, and his brother began to unite Native Americans in order to stop American expansion. The United States could have taken care of just the Native Americans; they were a relatively small threat. However, when Britain provided aid to the Native Americans by providing them guns and ammunition, this was too much for the Americans. At the same time, around 1811, War Hawks began to take a lead in Congress. They favored going to war with Britain because of Britain's lack of respect for America. They wanted British soldiers out of America. They wanted them to vacate their posts. They wanted them to stop providing aid to the Native Americans and to stop the impressment of American sailors. All of these factors angered Congress and the people of the United States. 

After the war, everyone began to realize that the United States needed to improve. It showed that they needed a better transportation system and economic independence. Before the war, America greatly relied on foreign countries. Its economy could not prosper without foreign goods. After the War of 1812 and the lack of foreign goods due to the Embargo of 1807, America needed to manufacture its own goods. It needed to be able to support itself. It needed economic independence. 


The Embargo Act of 1807 and the War of 1812 were the springboard for the Industrial Revolution. The Embargo Act of 1807 forced the United States to manufacture their own goods because they would not be able to trade for foreign goods. The War of 1812 revealed the necessity for a better transportation system, economic independence, and independent markets. After both of these events, Americans began to produce their own goods. They began to think of innovative, efficient ways to improve the economy. They began the Industrial Revolution. 

Effects

What effects did a revolution as big as this leave behind? How did it change the lives of the people living in the United States?

One of the most significant results of the Industrial Revolution was the emergence of the middle class. As goods became cheaper because of the cheaper and more efficient production of goods, people could buy more of the good. They could buy everything they needed, and would have some money left over. The middle class was made up of managers, clerks, accountants, retailers, and anyone with a decent job at the time. The middle class had enough money to spend on leisure goods, rather than only buying what they needed to live. 

As mentioned previously, production increased exponentially. More factories were built as efficient machines were invented. With machines that could mass-produce and a plethora of workers, factories could now produce much more than they could have before. 

Transportation and communication were drastically changed as well. Transporting goods, which used to take weeks, even months, now took days with steamboats, roads, canals, and railroads. Communication, which also took a long time to pass, could now be sent back and forth almost instantly. There was no time-lag anymore. Everything took place at a faster pace.

Lastly, as technology increased the efficiency of farming, farmers could now yield more crops than ever before. This led to a surplus in food. With more food, fewer people died of hunger. People in the United States began to live a little longer and population greatly increased as the number of deaths decreased. 


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