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States came into existence as an independent nation another great change was in progress which was so important that it, too, is called a revolution the Industrial Revolution. This was in some ways favorable to the progress of liberty, union, and democracy; at the same time, however, it brought new obstacles and occasioned new struggles. The Civil War in the United States of 1861-65 and the great World War of 1914 grew in large part out of the new forces which the Industrial Revolution introduced into human life. To understand the problems of American life we must see briefly what the Industrial Revolution was and how it has affected us.
The Industrial Revolution had a great many different aspects. Some of the changes came gradually, some more suddenly. Some had to do with the way in which things were made; others had to do with the way in which business was carried on. Some aspects came directly from new inventions that gave men new power over nature; others came from the new kinds of organization and coöperation and the new classes in society that were formed by the revolution.
As regards the revolution in the way of making things, or manufacture, we may notice five points.
(1) First it was a change from tools to machines. Up to this time men had made many tools. The needle, the ax, the saw, the hammer, the knife, are tools. But there were few machines. A sewing machine when compared with a needle is a good illustration of the difference. With the needle the sewer can draw the thread rapidly through the cloth, but every individual stitch is done as a distinct movement which requires direction by the thought of the one who uses the tool. The sewing machine drives the needle up and down in
From tools to machines
precisely the same way so that there is no need of making any new adjustment for each stitch. There is nothing then to prevent it from being driven in an automatic or, as we sometimes say, mechanical way as fast as we can make it go. The process of making cloth was the first for which new machines were invented. The three main parts of this process were carding the wool to make the fibers all lie in the same direction, spinning or twisting the fibers into a strong thread, and finally weaving the threads into cloth. Inventions of weaving, spinning, and carding machines were made very nearly at the same time.
(2) These machines were heavy and hard to drive From by human strength. Water power had long been used man.power
to steam for such work as grinding grain, but water power is not to be had everywhere. Fortunately the great invention of the steam engine had been made and about this same time was brought so far toward perfection that it could be used for driving the new machines. Here, then, were two great kinds of discoveries-machinery and steam power—that could be combined. They multiplied tremendously the ability of man to make cloth. Later on they were extended to all kinds of manufactures. Soon they were applied to ships, which thus became steamboats, and to railways. Both of these latter uses were extremely important in America, for the steamboats made trade with Europe far more convenient and rapid, while the railways opened up the great Middle West and Far West and made it possible for the settlers there to sell their grain and cattle and thus to benefit both the Old World and themselves.
(3) The Industrial Revolution was a change from home work to factory work. For the most part, weav
From home to factory
ing and other industries were carried on in homes, and when machines which required water or steam power were invented it was necessary to place these in factories. The workers must leave home for their day's work. In a factory town or city today the great multitude of men and a very large number of women are at home only for the night with a little space at the beginning and end of the day. This has had very important effects upon health and upon family and social life. At first factories were very likely to be poorly ventilated and not any too well lighted. In many cases dust and poisonous gases endangered health. In recent years these conditions have been improved so that the factory is now, except for its noise, a more healthful place for work than home would be. On the other hand, this change from home to factory has made a new problem in regard to children. They can no longer learn from their parents the various crafts and trades. This has thrown a new burden upon the school.
(4) A further aspect of the Industrial Revolution is the division of labor. Under the old system of hand work a shoemaker made a whole shoe. Now the making of the shoe is divided between something over eighty men. The housewife usually knew how to do all processes of making cloth from carding and dyeing on through spinning and weaving, and even cutting and making garments. This work today is divided among a great many, each of whom does some very small part. Each one becomes very expert and rapid in his part of the work but no one knows as much about a whole process as the old-time craftsman. On the other hand, the new system is far more efficient in turning out a great quantity of goods.
Division of labor
(5) Finally it has brought men and women together to work in groups. In some factories thousands of men work in making steel or cloth or preparing food. Bringing Great numbers of them who do the same kind of work workers thus come to know each other. They are very likely together to organize in unions. From having the same work and wages and living in the same kind of houses and in the same neighborhood they come to sympathize with each other and thus can coöperate much more readily than could the workers who worked in scattered homes. We thus have the basis for a new class.
The five points which we have just stated concern Capitalism especially the changes in the way of making and transporting articles which the Industrial Revolution brought about. Side by side with these changes another great change was going on in the method of managing and financing business. The system under which business is now carried on is called Capitalism. It involves a new power in the world which is in many ways greater than the older political power which we have studied in the bands of warriors and the state. It is a power based upon wealth. Like the power of the king and the band of warriors, it is largely the result of union. But in this case, instead of a union of soldiers, it is a union of men and money, of buildings and machines. The leaders have sometimes been called “ captains of industry.” The great problems of the present time have, many of them, come from the conflict between this new power of united wealth and the older political power which we call the state or the nation. While we cannot pretend to make any thorough study of this new power we can see how it has
What is capital?
arisen, what its usefulness is, and what are some of the dangers that go along with this power.
Capital is as old as tools. When a savage took some of his time to make a stock of arrow heads he was accumulating capital: he was putting work and time not directly into food but into tools by which to get a larger supply of food than he could get without them. Taming a horse or an ox to do work was accumulating capital. Getting an education is sometimes spoken of as accumulating capital, for the education will help one to earn a larger income than he could earn if he did not take time to study. In the Middle Ages and down to the time of the Industrial Revolution, the weaver who had a loom had so much capital. The farmer who owned cattle, horses, tools, had this much capital. But to build a large factory and stock it with machinery, and to buy the wool or cotton needed would evidently call for more capital than was required before the invention of the machine. It did not need very much capital in the old days for a man to start a stage route and carry passengers, but to build a railroad and equip it required a large expenditure which must be met before the railroad could be useful. After the factory is once built or the railroad is ready, it is, of course, enormously more efficient, but the construction of it demands that much more time and work be put into tools or machinery. Practically all the iron that is mined is made into machines and tools and represents, therefore, capital, by which we may get a better living. We get some idea of how our capital is increasing if we see how fast the amount of iron used is increasing. In 1800 the world produced 825,000 tons; in 1870, 11,900,000 tons; in 1905, 53,700,000 tons; in 1911, 134,150,000 tons. There are perhaps between three