Voices of freedom Journal Industrialization

Industrialization, ”the new economy” brought on a wave of new movements and activism in America. Labor movements, women’s rights activists, social, religious, and political reform are among the changes of the Market Society. Industrialization shaped Market Society expansion in many ways. Immigration, Nativism, Westward Expansion, the rise of Nativism,Transcendentalists Movement and The Second Great Awakening all taking place during the 1800-1840 Market Society growth.

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Market Society refers to farmers, large city growth, factory system, and immigration. Industrialization was the force that shaped Market Society. In the Northwest farming and commercial cities were booming. Westward expansion was due to land being cheap and plentiful which was especially appealing. The belief that freedom laid in the west was because of the availability of land and was ultimately important to economic independence. Here farmers sold livestock and were able to rapidly plow land with aid of the steel plow. While credit and the market was to the east. Cities like Cincinnati and Chicago would grow due to the population growth from immigration and high demand for jobs. Artisan workers were soon replaced by that of the factory worker usually female or immigrants.

The very first factory was established in 1790 based on an outwork system. Later large scale factories would be constructed focusing on cotton textiles. Lowell factory is known for their female factory workers. These women adopted the name “Lowell” girls. Lowell girls were young women of farm families who were offered meager wages for long hours of labor. Ultimately overworked and frustrated workers would expose the grueling conditions of working in the factory. In the words on one Lowell factory worker document 51 in Voices of Freedom, Eric Foner “Shall they be compelled to listen in silence to those who speak for gain, and are the mere echo of the will of the corporations? Shall the worthy laborer be silenced by wealth and power, and for fear of being deprived of the means of procuring his daily bread?”.

Written is 1845 this worker was upset and speaking out after being over worked, mistreated, and underpaid. This quote is telling not only of her personal feeling about being silenced by power but the mass feelings of injustice to the common worker by corporations at the time. I feel the audience this worker is trying to reach is not only fellow workers to gain backing in resistance of mistreatment but the corporations as well. She is standing up for her own integrity and encouraging others in her situation to the same. She is rightfully casting shame on those corporations for inflicting those conditions. It is during this time that women began to fight for equal rights of opportunity and happiness outside of the home.

Immigration caused labor demands to rise fueling the economic expansion. The approximately 4 million immigrants who migrated to America had a variety of motivating factors. Irish Potato Famine, European economic conditions, religion and politics are all some of the reasons immigrants were making the voyage to the America in such large numbers. Most immigrants during this time were German or Irish. Generally Germans came to America more skilled workers and the Irish were unprepared fleeing famine forcing them to fill low-wage laboring jobs. Eventually Nativism would rise in the 1840’s and 50’s. A racially fueled violent backlash in New York City and Philadelphia against immigrants, “Nativists” feared immigrants were the down fall of America.

Nativists blamed immigrants for crimes, corruptions, addictions, and poor wages. ‘Walks among the New york City Poor’, New York Times June 23,1853. Document 52. Voices of Freedom, Eric Foner. “Healthy, stout frames, and low, degraded faces with many stamps of inferiority”. Here the writer really captures the discriminatory American opinion of immigrants at this time. Nativism labeled these people as inferior and not capable of rising above the status that they arrive with. He is stating that immigrants are seen as inferior to everyone around them and in for a hard time as the reading goes on. I feel like the purpose of the article is to shed light on the high hopes of immigrants and minimal possibility in the new world. This was a very difficult time to be an immigrant.

During this time a group of New England intellectuals formed called The Transcendentalists. This group of men believed in the idea of The Free Individual. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a Transcendentalist who believed freedom obtained by the process of self realization transforming ones self according to their own liking. Voices of freedom, Eric Foner document 54. “The American Scholar 1837,” Ralph Waldo Emerson opens his powerful statement “In self-trust, all the virtues are comprehended”. Ralph Waldo Emerson addresses the nation and President directly. He is expressing here that self realization is the key success and freedom. This was the fundamental principle of Individualism the the Transcendentalist’s believed in. Henry David Thoreau also a Transcendentalist believed the market revolution worsened individual judgment and freedom was within the individual. The Second Great Awakening was more optimistic than the first and had similar philosophy of the Transcendentalists with the addition of a religious twist. The belief in self improvement through determination with the addition of Christianity. Christian denominations such as baptists and methodists began to branch off during this time.

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