History of the United States
Society and Civilization

What were some social defects of Cyrus McCormick's invention the wheat reaper?



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The social aspects of the McCormick wheat reaper were on an overall basis a plus for society. Before the US Civil War, the native Virginian had moved his mechanical reaper factory to Chicago.Taking advantage of the greater proximity to wheat and the skilled labor along with the technology to build his machines, business was booming for him during the war. He could not produce his reaper fast enough as farmers from the Midwest bought his machines.

There was actually a shortage of skilled labor to build the wheat reapers. This hastened the improvements of skilled labor and caused their wages to rise.

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As with many practical inventions, the demand for manual labor was greatly reduced and the working class was displaced, the value of the laborer decreased, and the nation was changed from the Jeffersonian Dream to an urban and industrialed nation.