In the article “Why in America?” by Nathan Rosenberg, we figure out how manufacturing played a key role on America amid the nineteenth century. The United States had fundamentally acquired the European innovation and the rate of technological change had amplified soon after and there were three principles why the United States was considered the origin of the American system of manufactures as opposed to any other country in the world. The three reasons being the abundance of natural resources, population surge, and specialized machinery.
There was a larger measure of raw materials that had developmental affects on the American assembling ventures. The United States began to understand that there was overpowering measure of natural resources. A few assets being the wood, land and metal that was accessible. “The supply of available resources pushed American’s in a direction that helps to account for the country’s unique technological contributions” (Rosenberg 109). The excess in resources gave a comfort to investigate the potential outcomes of new technological innovations. The States’ rural abundance also helped spur the American system of manufacture in another way. This rural isolation meant that any equipment and machinery had to be reliable and easy to repair in the chance of a breakdown. For manufacturers to cater to this need, the designs for machinery had to adapt to simplicity and uniformity meaning simpler parts and components as opposed to the old system.
The population growth in the United States, has been prosperous as a result of the developing immigration and increasing birthrates. Workers that were coming into the United States, needed to discover better life and openings that would help them achievement in life. America experienced a period of quick development commodity classes. “Rapid population growth resulted in a very high rate of new household formation” (Rosenberg 107). An important factor in directing the American markets in this direction was the rapid population growth and so by relation a rapid rate of market growth. This meant that producers now had to provide and accommodate a larger mass thus resulting in consumerism. This would bring about increment in riches for the manufacturing industries. They trusted that higher population would result in more goods that would need to be produced which leads up to a better economic society. An example would be that food process were lower than before making it easier for the citizens. There were improvements in transportation by introducing the canal-building and the railroad construction. Overall, the environment was becoming an easier and better place for individuals because of all the causes that were occurring.
The last reason is that the American system of manufactures was the created by specialized machines. The United States was producing numerous products in the 19th century which resulted in the opening to new innovation. The specialized machines spared labour power which was useful for the American economy. Americans were still known as ones to borrow from the Europeans and would pry technologies for their purposes. “The woodworking machines is something the Americans have taken from the Europeans which they liked because it required less labour” (Rosenberg 105). At this point in time, technology in the States was predominately wood based so access to vast resources of wood opens up the possibilities to invent, innovate, and constantly churn out woodworking machinery for a large quantity of activities. Where human labour lacked, the Americans could replace with specialized woodworking machinery. The abundance of wood helped push not only the market, technological capabilities but also on a human level. In other parts of the world the farmlands production was being based on how much output could be produced per acre of land but with so much excess available in America, the question was how much land could be cultivated by a single worker. This of course once again leads back to producing machinery which can help these workers and so mechanical innovation takes over with the American system of manufacturing lending the design for production.
I personally believe this last point about America’s access to large quantities of land and resources was the most significant to the American system of manufacturing. To progress technologically, one needs the means for trial and error. The Americans for a long time were borrowers of European technology but their case was unique. They were different than Europeans in every way. As the author states on page 106, the American system of manufacturing was a part of the process of economic adaptation. The American needs were different than European needs and so the United States went through this economic evolution and with knowledge and experience of the older system, was able to adapt the markets into fulfilling their own unique needs. This obviously could not have happened if they had lacked land and resources to grow. It’s because of their access to lumber they were able to innovate a system for their own whereas the European system still stayed ignorant to standardization.