Whythe trend of adoption technology in various sectors contributedtowards the definition of the United States as the mostindustrialized country with an economy that is independent of foreigncontrol.
Theestablishment of the United States is a process that took many yearsof struggles, wars and revolutions. Although the United States hadgained independence in the 1770s, its transition to an industrialstate occurred in the late eighteenth century and early part of thenineteenth century and this clearly defined its development path(Slater 1). The industrial revolution was characterized by the shiftfrom the use of horse and man power to operate machines to moreeffective sources of power. Initial stages of the industrialrevolution focused on the processing of agricultural produce, whichpaved way for the establishment of more sophisticated manufacturingplants. This paper will analyze the trend of adoption of technologyin various sectors (including industrialization, cotton and cloth,production of interchangeable parts, a shift from agriculture totowns and cities, and communication) and its contribution towards thedefinition of the United States. The industrial revolution definedthe United States by establishing the basis of the economic andtechnological development that the country prides in to date.
Althoughthe industrial revolution in some parts of the world, especially inBritain started in the mid-eighteenth century, the United Stateslagged behind due to lack of sufficient labor and other resources forexpensive investments. The first phase of the industrial revolutionin the United States began in the 1790s and continued to 1830s(Slater 1). The onset of the industrial revolution in the UnitedStates has been attributed to an investor named Samuel Slater, whoborrowed industrial techniques from Britain and opened the first millin the United States in 1790 (Pursel 3). The common trend during theUnited State industrial revolution was a shift from overreliance onhome and hand production to extensive use of heavy machines infactory settings. The first phase of the revolution applied weavingand spinning technology as well as the use of water to drivemachines, which motivated investors to come up with more effectivetechnologies, including the use of steam. In essence the trendcharacterized by the shift towards the use of technology inproduction and minimized human labor changes the U.S. society andcreated the foundation for one of the most industrialized countriesin the world.
Thekey sectors that grew during the first phase of the industrialrevolution
Althoughthe United States had started the process of industrializing thecountry in the late eighteenth century, they actual impetus forentering into a serious phase of industrialization occurred in theearly nineteenth century. These include the passage and enactment ofthe Embargo Act in the year 1807 and the subsequent War of 1812between the United States and Britain (Snyder 2). The Act prohibitedthe export of goods from the United States and import of goods fromother countries. The act targeted Britain, which was the mainimporter of raw materials from the United States and export offinished products to the United States. This was the major cause ofthe War of 1812 between the two countries. Preventing the import andexport of goods meant that the United States had to be independentand this would only be achieved by investing heavily in the localmanufacturing sector. This resulted in the declaration of thesovereignty of the United States by making it clear that its economywas free from the control of foreign countries, including Britain.
Thedevelopment of cotton and cloth at the domestic level
Priorto the onset of the industrial revolution, Americans importantfinished products from Britain and exported unprocessed cotton inexchange. In 1794, the first cotton gin was established by EliWhitney, which marked the beginning of the revolution of the textileindustry of the United States Eli (Whitney Museum 1). The gin wasdesigned to speed up the process of separating the cotton fiber fromseeds. The invention of gin was followed by the integration ofspinning and weaving, which in turn facilitated the development of acomprehensive textile industry that could produce clothing within thecountry. This was the first phase of transferring technology fromBritain to the United States. The capacity of the United States toprocess domestic cotton coupled with the presence of larger cottonplantations provided an opportunity for the United States to satisfydomestic market and export the value added cotton. The United Stateswas by then ready to apply vertical integration in the cotton sectorby growing, processing, and market cotton products.
Theincrease in demand for domestically produced commodities created theneed for a larger number of more efficient machines. This resulted inproduction of interchangeable machine parts, which were made with theobjective of enhancing mass production. This was accomplished throughthe production of standardized machine parts that were easy toassemble and replace in case the machine broke down (Mifflin 378).This idea was first, applied in the cotton factories before beingreplicated in other sectors. For example, the Whitney’s idea ofproducing interchangeable parts was adopted by the government of theUnited States and used in production of guns (Mifflin 378).Eventually, the United States acquired the capacity to produce itsown machines and use them to process and manufacture goods fordomestic consumption and export. This allowed the United States toacquire its economic independence and competitiveness in theinternational market, which the country enjoys up to-date.
Adoptionof technology in the transport sector
Therevolution of the transport sector began with the construction ofinterstate roads, which was done with the objective of enhancing thedomestic market through interstate connection. The first road calledthe Cumberland Road was constructed in 1811 and later became part ofthe 40 interstate roads (Burg 1). Being the first national road,Cumberland Road connected the east and the west parts of the UnitedStates, thus enhancing the process of industrial revolution. This wasfollowed by improvement in the water transport sector, which wasaccomplished by the development of a steamboat. The steamboat waspowered by a steam engine and enhanced efficiency and the speed ofwater transport in the United States. Water canals (such as ErieCanal) were constructed to join interior cities (such as New York)with the international waters. This made the interior cities tradingcenters, which resulted in rapid growth of the national economy. Thetranscontinental railroads, water canals, and the national roadsfacilitated the movement of people and raw materials, which fasttrack the process of industrial development. The foundations laid inthe early part of the nineteenth century created the basis forsubsequent application of sophisticated technology in the transportsector. This has made the United States one of the countries with themost efficient transport sector in the world.
Applicationof technology in the agriculture sector
Theperiod between the late eighteenth and the early part of thenineteenth century was characterized by the tremendous increase inagricultural productivity as a result of rapid adoption of technologyin firming. Although farmers had started applying simple machines(such as the seed drilling machines and iron ploughs) in agriculturebefore the year 1763, the most effective machines were discoveredbetween 1763 and 1848. The discovery of threshing machine in 1784 byAndrew Meikle displaced the human force used in the threshing processbecause these machines took approximately a quarter of the totalhuman labor in the agricultural sector (Clark286). Advancements in the metalwork and machine tools sector duringthe industrial revolution also facilitated the development of moreefficient machines (including binders, reapers, and combineharvesters), which displaced more workers from farms. Displacement ofpeople from farms coupled with the development of larger scalefactories resulted in the mass movement of people from the rural tourban areas in search for jobs. This resulted in rapid growth ofcities and mass production of goods in the factories. In essence, theapplication of technology in the agriculture sector enhancedefficiency of the economy of the United States, which paved way forthe emergence of a giant economy that is recognized globally to-date.
Advancementin communication networks
Theincrease in the size of the United States and its population createdthe need for improved communication networks that would enhancecommunication. The discovery of telegraph in 1844 by F. B. Morsefilled the gap in the communication sector, by making it possible forpeople to communicate without the need for physical meetings (U.S.History1). Morse was the first person to send a telegraph message fromBaltimore all the way to Washington, DC. The successful installationof telegraphic lines that connected different states made asignificant breakthrough the communication sector, which attractedmore researchers. The electromagnetic telegraph technology wasreceived positively by private companies that bough patent andconstructed inter-city telegraphic lines, which made the UnitedStates emerge as the first country to discover and install aneffective communication network in the world. Being the first countrywith an established communication network, the United States was in abetter position to achieve economic efficiency ahead of other playersin the international market. This resulted in the recognition of theUnited States as the major contributor of technological discoveriesthat have changed the world (U.S.History1).
Trendsin the adoption of technology in various sectors resulted in a cleardefinition of the United States as a country with an economy that isindependent of foreign control. The process of adopting andimplementing technology in various sectors began in the first phaseof the industrial revolution. This trend was characterized by a movefrom overreliance on human labor to the use of machines. Although theindustrial revolution had started in Europe, the United Statesmanaged to catch up and surpass the technological advancements madein Europe. Some of the pressures that forced the United States toapply technology include the need for mass production for localmarket and export and the need to produce locally after cuttingbusiness links with Britain. Although the initial stages ofindustrial revolution increased the rate of unemployment, it gave theUnited States a better position to stand out as the mostindustrialized country in the world.
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