There are two main arguments that the author puts across in this reading. The first argument of the author is that the shortcomings that characterized the growth of urbanization and industrial capitalism in the United States were caused by its economic relationship with England. Secondly, the author argues that slave labor did not only contribute to the economic disparities between the North and the South, but was also one of the motivations behind the civil war.
The main evidence the authors use to support their argument
There are two main evidences that the author provides to support the first claim. First, according to the author, England exploited the United States economically during their colonial rule and continued to do so for many years after America got independence. The author explains that since the United States had no manufacturing industry, the raw material and food it produced were exported to England for processing before being brought back as expensive finished products. Also, the author suggests that England deliberately prevented growth of corporations in America to slow its industrial independence. Therefore, America did not have good banks and manufacturing companies until mid19th Century. Accordingly, the market pressure for farming equipment imported from England made self-sufficient farmers in America to adopt market-oriented farming, which later gave way to corporations.
The second evidence that author provides is the fact that slavery and industrial discrimination of workers in America was influenced by English industrial laws. Apparently, most of the laws enacted in the US after independence were borrowed from the constitution of England, which denied women rights like ownership of property and control of their income. Moreover, women had no right to vote or belong to industrial organizations. Due to lack of proper regulation, industrial capitalism in America perpetuated oppression of women and minority community workers.
For the second claim, the author explains that the Civil War began as a result of attempts to spread slavery from the South to the West. The farmers in the South who depended on slave labor had depleted the soil, so they needed new lands to transfer their plantations. The situation led to conflicts between them and the free farmers. Besides, the Southern farmers got them into problems with the Northern industrialists, who also opposed slavery.
Arguments and Evidence I Found Convincing/Unconvincing
I find the authors arguments on both revolution of industrial capitalism in America and the Civil War convincing. I agree with the evidence about exploitation because the British, like all other European nations, undermined the development of their colonies for their own benefit. Moreover, the main reason why European nations had colonies was to get cheap raw material and agricultural produce as well as ready market for their goods. I also found the evidence that relates industrial discrimination of women and minority communities convincing because of the example that the author provides. The author clearly and accurately describes the plight of the Chinese workers during the construction of the railroad, which a well-known historical fact. Similarly, the evidence that the author provides for the claim about Civil War is convincing because it is based on factual claims about the war.
Questions for Further Discussion
What was the legal status of women in early history in America?
Was the United States really independent from England after 1776?
How did social norms and laws perpetuate slavery?
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