Thursday, February 14, 2019

THE OTHER BORDER: Episode 3 -- Women: The U.S.'s First Industrial Workers

Women were the U.S.’s first industrial working class in the nation's leading 19th c. industry: textiles. In 1810, there was no class of industrial workers to speak of in the U.S. A permanent industrial working class existed in Britain and Europe but not in the U.S. before textile manufacturing in New England became the first bona fide, corporate-run manufacturing industry.

The first generation of workers, mainly young women from the farmsteads of rural New England, were offered a measure of financial and intellectual independence in the mill towns. Starting in the 1840s, an increasing number of immigrants began to displace the young women in the mills. Conditions in the mill towns declined markedly, as U.S.-born labor gave way to immigrants, mainly from Northwestern Europe, who became the second large labor pool for textile manufacturing. After the Civil War, a third wave will bring the Canadiens into the industry.   

Episode 2
Industrialization in New England

Episode 1
The Most Important, Forgotten U.S. Immigration Story

Thursday, February 7, 2019

THE OTHER BORDER: Episode 2 -- Industrialization in New England

I am continuing my series of videos on "the other border" with a brief presentation on the development of the textile industry in New England. Textiles employed the largest contingent of Franco-American workers. People with at least one French-Canadian-born parent comprised 44% of the region's numerous textile workers by 1900.

This six-minute video gives an overview of how textile manufacturing developed in New England. It discusses the sources of capital of the merchants who founded the industry, and how early success in Waltham and Lowell, Massachusetts led to the growth of the U.S.'s largest 19th century industry.