Manufacturing Revolution: The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry

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"While much has been written about the industrial revolution," writes Lawrence Peskin, "we rarely read about industrial revolutionaries." This absence, he explains, reflects the preoccupation of both classical and Marxist economics with impersonal forces rather than with individuals. In Manufacturing Revolution Peskin deviates from both dominant paradigms by closely examining the words and deeds of individual Americans who made things in their own shops, who met in small groups to promote industrialization, and who, on the local level, strove for economic independence.

In speeches, petitions, books, newspaper articles, club meetings, and coffee–house conversations, they fervently discussed the need for large-scale American manufacturing a half-century before the Boston Associates built their first factory. Peskin shows how these economic pioneers launched a discourse that continued for decades, linking industrialization to the cause of independence and guiding the new nation along the path of economic ambition. Based upon extensive research in both manuscript and printed sources from the period between 1760 and 1830, this book will be of interest to historians of the early republic and economic historians as well as to students of technology, business, and industry.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Revolutionary Era
9
Lurching toward Economic Independence
45
The Critical Period
61
Manufacturing Societies
93
Agricultural Societies
119
Toward Industrialization
133
Redefining Manufacturing
139
Promoting Manufacturing in the New Century
162
Political Parties and Manufactures
188
Harmony and Discord in the Era of Good Feelings
207
Epilogue
223
Essay on Sources
281
Index
287
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Lawrence A. Peskin is an associate professor of history at Morgan State University.