The Economic Change

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Updated: May 01, 2019
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The Industrial Revolution was the economic change from agriculture products to machine manufactured products that began in England around the 1750s and ended in the 1870s. Britain then forced workers to stay in the country so that they didn’t let the U.S. know the industrial secrets of Britain; eventually, Samuel Slater, an English businessman, fled to the U.S. with knowledge of machinery and textile industry in hopes to get wealthy. This sparked the Industrial Revolution, which caused massive changes in economy and geography; thus, the U.S. Industrial Revolution began during the 1790s.
One of the most impacting inventions created during the Industrial Revolution was the mechanical reaper created by Cyrus Hall McCormick.

McCormick was born on 1809 in Virginia and died in Chicago in 1884. He had limited education, but helped his dad, Robert McCormick, with assorted processes to originate a mechanical reaper. Since Robert McCormick failed at inventing a mechanical reaper himself, Cyrus McCormick took on the challenge by using his father’s designs. In 1831, Cyrus McCormick invented a horse drawn mechanical reaper. One of McCormick’s incompatible problems was his competitor, Obed Hussey. Hussey patented a mechanical reaper that worked more successfully than McCormick’s. Unfortunately the Panic of 1837 left McCormick debt, so he turned to the solution of improving his harvesting machine.

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McCormick’s sales increased to an astonishing 50 machines per year and, he expanded his business in Chicago. McCormick then obtained rights to Hussey’s cutter invention and used it to upgrade his machine. McCormick disputed against Hussey in a battle of machines; in the end, McCormick won. The use of McCormick’s horse reaper added 55 million dollars annually to the country.
Political Impacts

Cyrus McCormick wasn’t the first person to create a mechanical reaper. As a matter of fact, McCormick battled Hussey for the mechanical reaper. The rights of those who invented new technology had to be protected. Hussey patented his mechanical reaper in 1833 while his famous rival, McCormick patented his version of a mechanical reaper in 1834. Since most people in the nation’s early days ignored patents, they stole inventions, reproduced them under their names, or refused to pay the inventor for the rights, and a number of inventors couldn’t afford a legal battle to prevent others from making money with their stolen inventions. In 1790, Congress passed the Patent Act, which granted patents for up to 14 years for inventions; however, this act was replaced with a much more detailed act in 1793. The new law required a detailed description of the item and had to explain why it was different from anything created before, and the act also stated that a part that would improve another inventor’s innovation could be patented.

Economic Influence

The mechanical reaper made the economy rise since slave traders made more
money and the extra produce manufactured by farmers exported world wide, making markets grow. The mechanical reaper lowered labor costs and exported more due to further grain production. Before the innovation, a farmer could harvest at most 3 acres of grain a day, and the reaper made it possible to do about 10 acres a day. The mechanical reaper increased food production and made harvesting easier, which proved to be a huge economic benefit in the agricultural world. During the 1850’s, the demand for labor increased as farmers began large scale farming, which caused a huge increase in the sale of mechanical reaper. However, during the Great Chicago Fire, he lost his factory. When McCormick died in 1884, his business was still growing and, his son became the first president in 1902 of the International Harvester Company.
Geography Ramifications
The mechanical reaper did however have negative impacts on the land. Pollution was a bad impact of the Industrial Revolution. Reaping is the cutting of crops for the sole reason of harvesting. The mechanical reaper developed near the rural Midwest while the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company’s factories resided in Chicago. Although by 1851, Cyrus Mccormick’s reaper was an international sensation.

Social Effects

Slaves were needed the most during the Industrial Revolution since industrialization prevailed. Slave labor continued to contribute to the Industrial Revolution until slavery was abolished in 1865 by the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Factory owners often took advantage children since children wouldn’t stand up to their bosses because of fear. Children could get tangled up in equipment or make them more vulnerable to disease. The Fair Labor Standards Act passed in 1938 made child labor illegal. Women were key players during the Industrial Revolution since the start. Women were the most vocal reformers who spoke out against the social ills of the Industrial Revolution. Among their causes was the unfair repetition of paying women less than men for equal work, which is something that we still face today in society.

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The Economic Change. (2019, May 01). Retrieved from