Rhode Island Economy
About half of Alabama
Early in its history, Rhode Island took
the lead in bringing the United States into the Industrial Revolution when
Samuel Slater built the first successful cotton mill in Pawtucket in 1793. The
importance of textile manufacturing to Rhode Island led to a greater need for
machinery to run the mills, launching a strong base-metal industry. Both Rhode
Islandís reputation for religious freedom and a strong business climate
attracted large numbers of immigrant workers to the busy mills in the area. By
the 1820s, manufacturing was the stateís prime industry, and Irish-Catholics
remain the largest ethnic community in the state today.
During the Civil War, Rhode Island textile mills supplied Union troops with
uniforms and blankets, and metal factories made guns, sabers and musket parts.
After the War, the manufacture of cotton, metals, and rubber thrived in Rhode
Island. However, by the 1920s, southern statesí strong competition for the
cotton industry led to the decline of textile manufacturing, and the state began
a transition to an economy dominated by service industries and tourism, due to
the miles of beaches and pleasant weather.
Rhode Island Economic Information from
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