Is Rapid Industrial Development a blessing or a curse? By Racheal DeNeVe Hour 2

Samuel Slater was an American man that brought blue prints of British factories to the United States so that we could start providing for our selves. We needed to start providing for our selves because the War of 1812 had banned all trade between countries. As a result of Samuel doing that we started building factories and producing our own goods. The United States really grew from this and became more independent but there were also plenty of consequences as well. Rapid industrialization has been a curse for Americans because, working conditions worsened, slavery increased, and discrimination of women and immigrants increased in the workplace.

The aftermath of the triangle shirtwaist factory fire

Bad Working Conditions

The picture above is of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory after the fire. Factory conditions were awful around this time.(1911) One day a cutter was smoking a cigarette on the job in the Triangle shirtwaist factory and he dropped it into a bin of clothes and it caught fire. People were jumping from the windows of the building to avoid being burned alive. The working conditions worsened and that was a curse because lots of people died or were injured in the workplace since "all that mattered was profit." Lots of the jobs were dirty dangerous and stressful. As a result of the dangerous factories and bad working conditions there were many casualties that occurred. The reason is because factories made a lot of money and that's mostly what the owners of those factories cared about.

Cotton gin
"Petition of Eli Whitney requesting the renewal of his patent of the cotton gin."

Slavery Increased

Around 1830 the cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney. The cotton gin was a device that threaded the seeds out of the lumps of cotton. Normally this would be a slaves job to hand-pick all the seeds out of the cotton and it would take almost all day. But, with the cotton gin the slaves just had to crank a handle and it could do it in a fraction of the time. Unfortunately, this caused slavery to increase drastically. The South's economy now depended on cotton so the plantation owners wanted more slaves so they could produce more and more cotton. It was cheap labor and if it helped the plantation owners profit then they would continue to buy slaves.

Slaves picking cotton and taking the seeds out

Discrimination in the Workplace

As a result of rapid industrialization, there were more job opportunities and because there were more job opportunities more immigrants and women began to work. The Irish immigrants came to the United States because of a potato famine and heard that there were lots of jobs here. When they started arriving people would treat them as if they meant nothing, a replacement for a slave. Plantation owners and other managers of certain jobs would make them do the really dangerous work because they weren't worth as much as slaves. "One Southerner explained the use of Irish labor on the grounds that: “n-----s are worth too much to be risked here; if the Paddies (Irish) are knocked overboard . . . nobody loses anything.” Discrimination against women became very prominent as well. They were payed much less than men that were doing the same job, and it caused labor disputes.(Sec.2 No.1&2)

"Passengers arrived from foreign countries in New York 1838"

Works Cited

Full Citation: Act of June 10, 1963 (Equal Pay Act of 1963), Public Law 88-38, 77 STAT 56, "to prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers engaged in commerce or in the production ; 6/10/1963; General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11. [Online Version,, March 9, 2017]

Full Citation: Petition of Eli Whitney requesting the renewal of his patent on the cotton gin; 4/16/1812; Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, Record Group 233. [Online Version,, March 9, 2017]

Abstract of Passengers Arrived from Foreign Countries in the District of New York in the Fourth Quarter of 1838; 12/31/1838; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. [Online Version,, March 9, 2017]

David R. Roediger, Wages of Whiteness, 1991.

Slavery: slaves picking cotton. Image. Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 Feb. 2017. Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.

Cotton gin. Image. Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 Feb. 2017. Accessed 9 Mar. 2017

Full Citation: Photograph of the Building Interior after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire; 3/25/1911; Collection FDR-Photos: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Photographs. [Online Version,, March 9, 2017]

Full Citation: Mailbag Repair; 1907; Records of the Public Buildings Service, Record Group 121. [Online Version,, March 9, 2017]

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.