Industry and Industrialization
Comparative HistoryWomen played an essential role in the dramatic transition from small‐scale production to factory manufacture that characterized the development of industrial capitalism. From the first Industrial Revolution in mid‐eighteenth‐century England to the gradual industrialization of France beginning in the 1840s, Germany in the 1860s, and Japan and Russia in the 1870s, and to Latin America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, women provided the cheap labor that transformed manufacturing and social life. The global processes that fueled industrial development, moreover, connected women who lived thousands of miles from one another. Slave women who cultivated cotton on the Southern plantations of the pre–Civil War United States produced the raw material that English working‐class women spun and wove into cloth in the first English factories. Today, women all over the world wear athletic shoes that women assemble in the factories and sweatshops of Southeast Asia.... ...
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