Bread and Roses Strike. Massachusetts National Guard troops surround strikers in Lawrence, Massachusetts , New England was key to the industrial revolution in the United States. Technological developments and achievements from the Manufactory led to the development of more advanced cotton mills, including Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Recruiters were hired by mill agents to bring young women and children from the countryside to work in the factories. Between and , thousands of farm girls moved from rural areas where there was no paid employment to work in the nearby mills, such as the famous Lowell Mill Girls.
As the textile industry grew, immigration also grew. By the s, immigrants began working in the mills, especially Irish and French Canadians. By , the region accounted for well over a quarter of all manufacturing value in the country and over a third of its industrial workforce. So too did anti-slavery politicians who wanted to limit the growth of slavery, such as John Quincy Adams , Charles Sumner , and John P. When the anti-slavery Republican Party was formed in the s, all of New England, including areas that had previously been strongholds for both the Whig and the Democratic Parties, became strongly Republican.
New England remained solidly Republican until Catholics began to mobilize behind the Democrats, especially in , and up until the Republican party realigned its politics in a shift known as the Southern strategy. This led to the end of "Yankee Republicanism" and began New England's relatively swift transition into a consistently Democratic stronghold.
The immigrants filled the ranks of factory workers, craftsmen and unskilled laborers. The Irish assumed a larger and larger role in the Democratic Party in the cities and statewide, while the rural areas remained Republican.
Yankees left the farms, which never were highly productive; many headed west, while others became professionals and businessmen in the New England cities. The Great Depression in the United States of the s hit the region hard, with high unemployment in the industrial cities.
The Democrats appealed to factory workers and especially Catholics, pulling them into the New Deal coalition and making the once-Republican region into one that was closely divided. However the enormous spending on munitions, ships, electronics, and uniforms during World War II caused a burst of prosperity in every sector. Fall foliage in the town of Stowe, Vermont The region lost most of its factories starting with the loss of textiles in the s and getting worse after The factory economy practically disappeared.
Like urban centers in the Rust Belt , once-bustling New England communities fell into economic decay following the flight of the region's industrial base. The textile mills one by one went out of business from the s to the s. For example, the Crompton Company, after years in business, went bankrupt in , costing the jobs of 2, workers in five states.
The major reasons were cheap imports, the strong dollar, declining exports, and a failure to diversify. Alexander King House in Suffield, Connecticut What remains is very high technology manufacturing, such as jet engines, nuclear submarines, pharmaceuticals, robotics, scientific instruments, and medical devices. MIT the Massachusetts Institute of Technology invented the format for university-industry relations in high tech fields, and spawned many software and hardware firms, some of which grew rapidly.
In , New England had two of the ten poorest cities by percentage living below the poverty line in the U.