School Improvement in Maryland
Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 5.0 History

Topic C. Conflict between Ideas and Institutions

Indicator 3. Analyze the influence of industrialization and technological developments on society in the United States before 1877

Objective c. Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of early industrialization on the economy and society


Early industrialization had profound effects on the American economy and society, especially in the North, where the bulk of industrial development occurred. Advances in mechanization, such as the use of interchangeable parts and steam power, led to the rise of factories and the mass production of goods. Cities emerged around these new factories as people congregated in search of employment.

This early industrialization had notable benefits. Job opportunities increased and diversified, and incomes became steadier. New technologies and ways of organizing work resulted in increased labor efficiency and higher outputs. The increased availability of products led to in the reduction of prices, making it possible for more Americans to buy more material goods. As industrialization progressed, a distinction between manual workers and non-manual workers became evident. Non-manual wage earners such as factory mangers and shopkeepers became the basis for an emerging middle class.

But industrialization also brought significant societal costs. Although job opportunities increased, many laborers were exploited, working incredibly long hours for meager wages. New industrial cities were often overcrowded and unsanitary. Increasing mechanization meant the decline of artisans and pride in craftsmanship. Growing economic and social differences increased tensions between the industrializing North and the agricultural South.

In the South, agriculture was so profitable that few people were interested in investing in businesses and industrialization. Southern wealth was also so tied up in land and slaves that there was little capital available for investment in new technologies and industries.

Resources for Objective 5.C.3.c:
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