In 1857, Waltham, Massachusetts jumped from the First to the Second Industrial Revolution by becoming the global home of the mass-produced pocketwatch, capitalizing on the railroad industry and then the American Civil War.
How some of the most powerful, wealthy political players in antebellum Massachusetts went from controlling state politics completely to hopelessly funding the Constitutional Union Party in 1860. [Continued from parts Iand II]
As an early group of 19th century Boston investors became even richer with less effort, via textile production, and as society became more alienated, they turned from charity to philanthropy to protect their power (and to have something to do). [Continued from part I.]
In the 1810s, a close-knit group of rich investors based in Boston decided to adopt and adapt emerging industrial capitalism, via the textile industry, in a way that would preserve and grow their existing wealth and power. The Waltham-Lowell System was born.
To prepare for a series on early industrial Massachusetts we’re unlocking this episode from Patreon: Bill and Rachel examine what an 1842 Massachusetts court decision can tell us about the process of industrialization and the emergence of labor unions and what parallels we can draw for modern gig workers.