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The Start Of America's Industrial Revolution

2272 words - 9 pages

The Industrial Revolution did not start simultaneously around the world, but began in the most highly civilized and educated country in Western Europe – England. An empire like Great Britain was able to prevent the flow of new technology and experienced technicians to its colonies even while new machinery, like the spinning shuttle and the spinning jenny, was being used to develop textile manufacturing at home in England. The British Parliament was able to control its territories through laws and other restrictions. However, Britain’s futile attempts to block the development of new technologies in the American colonies led directly to the rise of the textile industry and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the United States. From the first Navigation Act in 1651 to the “Intolerable Acts” and Trade Acts, the British Parliament attempted to dominate the world’s textile industry by passing increasingly strict taxes and acts designed to prevent the establishment of textile manufacturing in the American colonies. Concurrently, American textile companies began to offer rewards and bounties to mill workers who would emigrate from England bringing their knowledge of textile technology (World of Invention). At the same time, English-born, textile mill-trained, Samuel Slater illegally emigrated to the new country of America with secrets and memories of English textile technology. Within a year, Slater had established the first spinning mill in America, thus beginning the American Industrial Revolution.
In order to continue controlling the economy of its colonies in America, the British Parliament passed acts and levied taxes against the colonists from the first Navigation Act as early as 1651. The British passed this series of acts in 1651, 1660, 1663, and 1673 in order to regulate colonial trade among all of its colonies (Omi). The Navigation Acts forbade the American colonies to manufacture any finished goods, and these acts defined anyone living within the British colonies as an English subject. The purpose of the Navigation Acts was duel: to protect British shipping against competition from the Dutch, as well as from other powerful foreign countries, and to grant a British monopoly on colonial produce, such as tobacco and sugar, to the English merchants. Under these acts, the American colonists were limited to buying only British goods and could only import and export goods in English ships rather than in their own vessels (Balik). In addition to the Navigation Acts, the British also passed the Trade Acts, which were to ensure that the entire British Empire was prosperous and that the trade of the various colonies was complimentary to each other and to Britain. The British Parliament enacted additional acts that became known as the “Intolerable Acts.” Colonists resisted the passage of the Stamp Act and Townshend Acts, which ultimately resulted in the ever famous Boston Tea Party and an organized colonial boycott of British goods. However,...

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