A Classification of American Wealth
History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America - Sponsors

 Part 1 : Colonial and Mercantile America  Part 2 : America in the Gilded Age
 Part 3 : America in the Twentieth Century  Encyclopedia of American Wealth

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  Part I-Chapter 6 : Early industrialists  > Index  & Introduction  :   Previous  1 2  Next

   Early American Industrialists  

      Introduction of the textile mills in New England
Samuel Slater and Arkwright continuous spinning 
Francis Cabot Lowell and the power loom

Phelps Dodge & Co metal traders, mining magnates and industrialists 
The Phelps Dodge dynasty 1 : Anson Greene Phelps
The Phelps Dodge dynasty 2 : William Earl Dodge
      Phelps-Dodge (Family profile from the Encyclopedia of American Wealth)

Rise of Connecticut as the armory of the nation 

The Du Ponts of Wilmington Delaware 
(Family profile from the Encyclopedia of American Wealth)

Settled in a vast country with abundant natural resources, Americans soon developed a sense for industry which was characteristic of the 19th century. Unlike Europe where the craftsmen guilds long opposed progress in manufacturing, America was eager to use new technologies that would save labor, which was scarce. Thus the young nation, once freed from Colonial restrictions, progressed faster than its former mother country and eventually emerged as the foremost industrialized country in the World, just a century after its Independence.

England had given its American colonies a purely agricultural vocation, discouraging any form of industry that could once challenge the mother country's preeminence in the field. In the same way as commerce was regulated, industry was banished from the colonies, to ensure their dependence on the Empire and its prosperity. Despite these impediments, vital industries such as iron foundries were started by the leading families of the Colonies, as witnessed by the Philip Livingston's Ancram or the Morrises' Tinton Falls properties. Leading Southern aristocrats, like Councillor Robert Carter III of Nominy Hall and the Carrolls of Carrolton drew large profits from their Baltimore Iron Works. David Ross, Virginia's leading ironmaster, owned 100'000 acres and exploited his 450 slaves in several iron foundries, notably the Oxford Iron Works. All these developments would prove vital during the Independence War for the supply of much needed arms and fortifications.

Thus it was no surprise that when the bounds were lifted, the founding fathers of America favored industrial development as an act of emancipation from England. The Federalists, Alexander Hamilton, Peter Schuyler and George Cabot were among the mighty backers of industrialization, whereas the Southern planters were more concerned to maintain agriculture prosperous and secure markets for their crops. It would take another war with England though to set the stage for domestic industrialization also in the minds of the nation's leading merchants.

Years after the unsuccessful Beverly Cotton Manufactury of the Cabots and their associates, textile mills became a favorite investment of Boston shipping merchants. It took the memorized records of Samuel Slater, who had worked for Strutt and Arkwright, pioneer textile industrialists in England and the observations of Francis Cabot Lowell, scion of a Boston Brahmin family, to grow profitable textile works in New England. But during the war of 1812, when supplies of cheap textiles and apparel from England dried up, American merchants found in the textile mills a ready source of supply and a good investment opportunity. Textile manufacturing cities, shaped on the model of Lowell, grew everywhere in New England and leading merchants increased their already substantial fortunes. Lowells, Jacksons, Lawrences, Appletons and many more from Boston as well as the Browns from Providence Rhode Island and many other families grew their wealth through the New England textile mills.

Early industrialists  > Index  & Introduction  :   Previous  1 2  Next    

Patroons and Manor Lords

Planter  Aristocrats

Shipping Merchants

The Landlords of New YorkCity

Bankers I

Early American Industrialists


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