The Machine in America: A Social History of Technology

Front Cover
JHU Press, 2007 - History - 398 pages

From the medieval farm implements used by the first colonists to the invisible links of the Internet, the history of technology in America is a history of society as well. Arguing that "the tools and processes we use are a part of our lives, not simply instruments of our purpose," historian Carroll Pursell analyzes technology's impact on the lives of women and men, on their work, politics, and social relationships -- and how, in turn, people influence technological development.

Pursell shows how both the idea of progress and the mechanical means to harness the forces of nature developed and changed as they were brought from the Old World to the New. He describes the ways in which American industrial and agricultural technology began to take on a distinctive shape as it adapted and extended the technical base of the industrial revolution. He discusses the innovation of an American system of manufactures and the mechanization of agriculture; new systems of mining, lumbering, and farming, which helped conquer and define the West; and the technologies that shaped the rise of cities.

In the second edition of The Machine in America, Pursell brings this classic history up to date with a revised chapter on war technology and new discussions on information technology, globalization, and the environment.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Tools Brought Over
9
Importing the Industrial Revolution
35
Improving Transportation
65
The Expansion of American Manufactures
87
The Mechanization of Farming
109
Creating an Urban Environment
131
Westward the Course of Industry
155
Export Exploitation and Empire
179
The Coming of Science and Systems
203
Wars and the American Century
273
Challenge and Change in
297
GLOBALIZATION
309
Notes
357
Further Reading
371
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Carroll Pursell is professor emeritus of history at Case Western Reserve University and an adjunct professor of modern history at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. He is a former president of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) and the International Committee for the History of Technology (ICOHTEC).

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