By Maddie Dorrell
One of the first factories in the United States was Slater Mill, a textile mill which was founded in 1793 by Samuel Slater. While using a waterwheel for power, he was able to power his mill to make fabric. This was the beginning of the American Industrial Revolution. More and more factories and mills sprung up after this one. These factories provided jobs for Americans, but most of these factories provided poor conditions including long hours, low wages, dangerous conditions, and some allowed for child labor when in need for small fingers. Down south, some work was done by slaves who were never paid for their duties, nor did a lot of them have many rights either. Many were treated like property, and lived their lives over in the hot sun picking cotton or serving their owners in the house. Over the years, slavery had been increasing from 700,000 slaves in the year 1790 until there were approximately 1,600,000 slaves in the year 1820. Both slave-based agriculture and wage-based industrialization were controversial arguments in which both the North and South United States were egocentric and believed one’s beliefs about forms of labor were superior to the other.
In addition, there were indeed arguable squabbles over slave-labor or wage-labor within politics. The Missouri Compromise was a very important policy that had influenced slavery over wage-labor within a state. Due to the fact that a northern state, Maine, was annexed into the United States as a slave-free state during this time, Missouri joined the country as a pro-slavery state. This made the United States have an equal amount of pro-slavery states and anti-slavery states. In the Southern states, an estimated twenty-five percent of Southerners owned slaves, but still, most Southern people were pro-slavery. This can be explained due to the fact that eight out of ten holders of both national and state office who represented Southern states owned slaves. These people who owned slaves earned their profit through their workers and even if they had believed slavery was morally wrong, most favored their profits over abolition. Slavery rebellions were feared in the United States, especially in places like South Carolina where there was a higher population of African-Americans compared to white Americans. These rebellions led to laws against educating slaves. When slaves had rebelled or were thought to be plotting a rebellion, all African- Americans involved, free or enslaved, were tried. Because they were not allowed to defend themselves in court, all were executed.
Furthermore, there was much social controversy between the pro-slavery South and the wage-based industry of the North and the West. They had many arguments on why it was acceptable to own slaves. One of these reasons includes not being able to imagine Virginia or South Carolina without slavery. With the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney, the production of cotton increased from an estimated one pound a day to sixty pounds a day. Cotton required two hundred frostless days to grow, and this left planting to be located in the Deep South. Because all labor was done by slaves, this was quite profitable for the slave owners, who did not have to pay them. Workers in the factories up North were paid, and the profits were not as high as they possibly could have been if the workers would have been slaves. In the Mudsill Argument, Fitzhugh tried to defend southern slavery because the Northern “free-laborers” did not truly live in freedom at all. He also insisted that industrial workers lived an enslaved life with low wages, long hours while in dangerous conditions sometimes involving child labor. Fitzhugh believed that slaves had it better than the factory workers because they were given food and shelter, and even grew a relationship with the slave-owner. In 1800, Theodore Weld, Sarah, and Angelina Grimke claimed that every man knows that