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the present time our differences in wealth and education have something of the same effect in making different classes. The man who is manager, or even the clerk who works in the office, is not in quite the same class with the man who works with his hands, although it may be the latter is earning a higher wage. The girl who works in a store is likely to look down upon the girl who does domestic work. In the frontier conditions of early life in America such differences of occupation were small. Practically the whole people were farmers. All men and all women worked with their hands. The young woman who went to another family to help with the work was not regarded as necessarily inferior in social standing to the family whom she helped. The man who could fell his tree in the most workmanlike fashion or plow the straightest furrow, who was the best shot with his rifle or wisest in the lore of the forest, was respected by his fellows without regard to ancestry. Pews in the meeting-house, to be sure, were allotted to men in the order of their importance in the community, but this was not firmly fixed, and in any case the men all met together within the same meetinghouse. Town meetings and the various gatherings for “raising ” houses and barns, harvesting crops, and other occasions of coöperation tended toward democracy. Those who remained in the cities on the coast clung to the Old World distinctions far more than those who pushed on in successive migrations into the wilder

The frontier has been a continual school of democracy in American life.


America in colonial days and for the first years after The the Revolutionary War was a nation of farms. But Industrial about the time of the Revolution by which the United Revolution

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 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

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