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Manufacturing during the pre-Civil War - Essay Example

This essay discusses that manufacturing during the pre-Civil War era was dominated by self-employed, owner-operator producers like a series of locally-centered “island economies” which was almost self-sufficient. Goods were either hand-produced or traded from local artisans such as blacksmiths, millers, tanners or shoemakers. Owners controlled the pace and rhythm of work and were bound only by their own level of energy and by local custom. They also controlled the price of their products supported by local custom. However, with the advent of the government-sponsored railroad building, the island economies of small-town America were connected to the national marketplace. The national marketplace was a contrast to the island economies in many ways. Big industrial owners gained power over manufacturing. Machines replaced manual labor and goods produced by these industrialists were cheaper and more readily available. Resistance began to build up and produced labor unions to regain a portion of their lost power and control. The two major organizing models were “industrial unions” and “trade unions.” Trade unions were more exclusive of a certain group of types of workers while industrial unions disallowed discrimination. The American Federation of Labor was a trade union that avoided politics and focused narrowly and pragmatically on only three issues: higher wages, safer conditions and shorter hours. ...
Adopted at St. Louis, July 24, 1896).
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The researcher of this essay aims to pay special attention to Manufacturing during the pre-Civil War. The idea of this research also emerged from the author’s interest and fascination in how Americans sought to broaden its frontiers in the 19th century…
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