Americans transformed themselves from British subjects into republican citizens in the years following the American Revolution. This process included abandoning or altering old institutions that did not match new assumptions and beliefs. State churches gradually lost their favored status, stimulating an intense period of religious exploration and experimentation.
Farming remained the primary occupation and lifestyle for most Americans in this period, but new technologies and an expanding economy transformed traditional agrarian patterns and customs. The Industrial Revolution enabled even ordinary people to purchase factory-made textiles and other mass-produced goods they could not obtain before. Among the most far-reaching effects of the Industrial Revolution was the social and economic newcomer it produced. Factory workers were not farmers, nor were they tradesmen or artisans. They often lived in factory housing. They structured their days around a clock and a factory bell rather than ancient agricultural rhythms.
George Washington, from "Illustrated American Biography," 1853
See the Digital Collection for further information.