The story of the Industrial Revolution and of the industrial stage in England is in great part the story of the revolution and the stage in all countries that have gone through it. In studying the economic history of the United States for the same period, it is therefore unnecessary that we should enter again into all the details that go to make up the great movement. But as no two countries have the same racial and physical peculiarities, so no two countries are affected in precisely the same way by great industrial changes. The economic history of the United States is, in part, the history of the attempt to apply the principles of free competition and a minimum of State interference to a new country instead of to an old one, as was the case with the English experiment. This difference is so great as to have modified the result materially, and it will therefore be profitable to study more particularly these differences.

The principle of non-intervention was adopted in our own country even more fully than in England, where the State has never ceased to exercise a close supervision and control over religion. In some respects the results in the two countries have been parallel, in others, not. At first sight it may seem that American experience does not so sharply condemn the passive policy of government as does that of England, and the question may be asked whether our conclusion from the history of English industrialism was after all correct ? Which of the two countries has given the principle of unregulated competition the fairer test?

It will be remembered that the suffering which attended the Industrial Revolution in England was of two kinds and from two different sources. One was due to the rapidity and the magnitude of the industrial change, and was inherent in the change ; the other was due, not to the change, but to the manner in which the change was effected, and to the system under which the new industry was carried on. In other words, one was due to change, the other to unregulated competition. It is necessary to keep these two causes distinct, if we are to reach a just conclusion regarding the influence of unrestrained competition upon industrial life.

1. Comparative Difficulty of Transition.We have already seen how difficult was the transition from the old to the new order in England. In our own country, the difficulty was slight, or perhaps we might more properly say that there was no transition, since, when the Industrial Revolution began, there was in America almost no manufacturing at all. Our industries were scarcely started when the spinning-jenny, the power-loom, and the steam-engine were introduced, and so almost from the beginning the factory system seemed the natural one. Such change as there was from hand industries to power manufacture produced results similar to those witnessed in England ; but the change with us was so insignificant in extent as scarcely to attract public attention. Moreover, artisans who were thrown out of work had greater opportunities, and, on account of the less fixed conditions of life, were more ready, to get new employment in the growing industries of the time. Thus, the change which in England was a revolution was in America an evolution, a process of construction with little destruction, since there was little to destroy.

2. Comparative Difficulty in Operation of Competition. Under the system of unrestrained competition, the English workmen played a continually losing game ; such was not the case with their American cousins. Just as the littleness of our industries at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution mitigated the sufferings from the change, so the greatness of our territory mitigated the sufferings from the system of competition. The average American does not adequately realize the difference between Americans and Europeans in their readiness to move about from place to place. A comparison of census figures of our country with those of European countries shows that with them the proportion of persons living in town or county other than that of their birth is slight, while with us it is very great. Thus the census of 1880 disclosed the fact that only one-half of the native-born inhabitants of the country were living in the county of their birth, and this despite the fact that a large proportion of the total population is made up of children, who, of course, would generally be living in the county of birth. Similarly, the census of 1900 shows that nearly thirty-two per cent of the total population of the country are living | in states other than those of their birth, a proportion which has remained nearly constant for several decades. Throughout our history, up to*recent years, the American workman has always been able to secure cheap or even free land where he could earn an independent living. Under these two conditions of ready migration and easy access to independent proprietorship, it was impossible for the downward pressure of competition to work out such results in manufacturing industry as were inherent in the system itself, and such as must show themselves when no counteracting influence is opposed. Indeed, we may say that competition in America was regulated from the beginning, not by legislation, but by those great industrial forces and opportunities which we have just mentioned.

But this influence cannot be exerted forever. Our territorial resources, great as they are, have their limits, and it is usually agreed that the American " frontier " has now disappeared. Indeed, it is probable that we have already reached the parting of the ways, and that henceforth our reliance must be placed upon some other agency than the free bounty of nature. As free land has become less and less abundant, the wage-earners of the East have had forced upon them conditions of life which have kept down, although they have not absolutely lowered, their standard of life. Extremes of wealth and alienation of social classes have become so great as to arouse the apprehension of all thoughtful men. Labor riots that call for military interference testify to the fact that we have not escaped, that in the future we can hope less and less to escape, the friction that accompanies all unfraternal relations among men. We have been greatly blest in that we have escaped the worst results so long.

Concentration and Integration of Modern Industry. Thus far we have been considering the effects of competition chiefly upon the laborers, and in tracing these effects the history of England has been peculiarly instructive. When, however, we turn to the results of such competition in the case of employers, we find that our own country offers the most striking illustrations. Owing to the peculiar circumstances of our situation, the results of competition among employers have developed more rapidly here than abroad. Though repeated conflicts with their workmen have led to a certain feeling of common interest in the matter of labor, and even to frequent combinations for mutual defence against the demands of employees, yet on the other hand the principle of competition has made them almost Ishmaelites in their business relations with one another.

Those resources to which we have referred as mitigating the sufferings of employees have not in the same way been available to the employers. Tied down to their large investments of fixed capital, they have been compelled to stand and fight out to the end the war without quarter. In every such warfare the number of combatants tends to decrease. As old rivals are killed off, the successful acquire greater skill and greater power in the conflict. With the passage of time greater and greater equipment is required to give any hope of a successful struggle. There are industries in which no such concentration has taken place, but for a great and apparently growing number of industries our description holds true. Thus, in spite of the enormous growth of our industries and population, the number of competitors in many industries has of late shown noticeable decrease. We cite but one instance, and that not the most striking, from the twelfth census of the United States : " The present tendency toward large industries under one management is illustrated in the statistics of coke production in 1899. The total amount of coke produced has increased 96.2 per cent, and the value of all products" (including by--products) " has increased 115.7 per cent, while the number of active establishments reporting for 1899 was only 23, or 10.6 per cent more than the number reporting for 1889." This is typical of what is taking place in an increasing number of industries. Competition of small producers attained its maximum in the decade between 1870 and 1880, when it became familiarly known as " cutthroat" competition. But for the existence of free land, undeveloped resources, and the constant increase of inventions, widespread disaster must have resulted. Since that time the relative number of competitors has kept on decreasing, as our illustration shows, and many lines of industry have fallen into fewer and fewer hands. Many instances might be cited in which there has been not merely a relative but even an absolute decrease in the number of competitors.

Recently the movement toward large scale industry has taken on another phase. In addition to concentration or centralization of industry, we are now having a rapidly increasing integration of industry. Large business concerns are finding it profitable to carry on, under one management, several closely related industries. Thus there are many cases of integration where a manufacturing concern produces its own materials and its own machinery, and provides in part its own transportation facilities.

Monopolies. Centralization of industry may be incomplete or complete. When it is complete, we have an entire industry under the management of a single individual, partnership, or corporation. When such a state of things exists, or is so nearly approached that a single unified management can exercise control over the supply, and hence over the price, of the product, we have a monopoly. Incomplete centralization may not lessen competition at all; it may even increase the sharpness and bitterness of the competition. It simply gives business into the hands of those producers who are best able to continue it under the vigorous conditions which existing competition imposes upon the rivals.

We might naturally expect that where the tendency to centralization is strongest, as in the United States, the tendency to complete centralization, or monopoly, would also be strongest, and American experience would seem to justify the expectation. Thus two of the great problems now before the people of our country are those connected with the concentration and integration of industry, which leads to the so-called trusts, and with the complete centralization of an industry, which is monopoly. It is particularly in the class of so-called natural monopolies that the development has in recent times been most rapid and most startling. Natural monopolies are those that rest, not upon the will of society, but upon conditions inherent in the nature of the business itself. Such are all the monopolies of transportation and communication. The reason for the unusual development of these monopolies in recent days lies in the fact that the whole transportation system of the world has been developed within little more than fifty years.