Industrial Revolution: Changing Sources of Economic Growth
Industrial Revolution: Creation of Industrial America
The Event: Era during which the economies of Western countries began moving away from primarily agricultural bases to industrial and commercial bases
Date: Nineteenth century
Significance: The shift from economies based largely on subsistence agriculture to economies based on industry and trade created a vast number of unskilled and semiskilled jobs that helped to attract immigrants to the United States.
The demographic revolution that began in the Western world during the eighteenth century and accelerated during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries made it imperative to develop employment for the increasing numbers of people in the developing nations. During the long period that became known as the Industrial Revolution, large numbers of Europeans moved from rural areas into cities where jobs in new industries were to be found. Many of these people crossed the Atlantic Ocean looking for work and joined native-born Americans who were moving into cities.
Contemporary magazine illustration of the New York headquarters of I. M. Singer&Co. in 1857. Singer was a primary manufacturer of sewing machines, which played a major role in the Industrial Revolution and made possible the employment of many thousands of immigrants. (Library of Congress)
Nancy M. Gordon
See also: Coal industry; Economic consequences of immigration; Economic opportunities; European immigrants; European revolutions of 1848; Immigration waves; Iron and steel industry; Settlement patterns.