Episode 298: Lindsay Schakenbach Regele, Origins of American Manufacturing

Have you ever stopped to think about how the United States became a manufacturing nation? Have you ever wondered how the United States developed not just products, but the technologies, knowledge, and machinery necessary to manufacture or produce various products?

Lindsay Schakenbach Regele has.

Lindsay is an Associate Professor of History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and the author of Manufacturing Advantage: War, the State, and the Origins of American Industry, 1776-1848, and she joins us today to lead our exploration into the early American origins of industrialization.

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.

Episode Summary

Lindsay Schakenbach Regele is an Associate Professor of History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and the author of Manufacturing Advantage: War, the State, and the Origins of American Industry, 1776-1848.

During our investigation into the origins of industrialization in the early United States, Lindsay reveals why the young United States viewed manufacturing as an issue of national security and wanted to establish factories during the 1790s; Information about the investment of knowledge and capital required to start a factory in the early United States; And details about the United States’ earliest manufacturing industries: textiles and firearms.

What You’ll Discover

  • Manufacturing in the newly independent United States
  • The importance of domestic manufacturing
  • Why the United States wanted to establish factories
  • Knowledge and capital investment in early factories
  • Establishment of the armories at Springfield & Harpers Ferry
  • Eli Whitney
  • Inside an early American factory
  • Where the United States government built its first factories
  • The politics of government contracts in early America
  • Weapons manufacturing in the early republic
  • Contractors and early American factory work
  • Process of textile manufacturing
  • The cotton gin’s impact on textile manufacturing
  • Early American factory workers
  • Why we should look at textile manufacturing alongside firearms manufacturing

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Time Warp PlainTime Warp Question

In your opinion, what might have happened to the development of American textile and armaments industries had the United States government never become involved in it after the Revolution? How might the course of American manufacturing and United States history be different?

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