Midnight Ride, Industrial Dawn
Paul Revere and the Growth of American Enterprise
Paul Revere's ride to warn the colonial militia of the British march on Lexington and Concord is a legendary contribution to the American Revolution. Midnight Ride, Industrial Dawn reveals another side of this American hero's life, that of a transformational entrepreneur instrumental in the industrial revolution.
Robert Martello combines a biographical examination of Revere with a probing study of the new nation’s business and technological climate. A silversmith prior to the Revolution and heralded for his patriotism during the war, Revere aspired to higher social status within the fledgling United States. To that end, he shifted away from artisan silversmithing toward larger, more involved manufacturing ventures such as ironworking, bronze casting, and copper sheet rolling. Drawing extensively on the Revere Family Papers, Martello explores Revere’s vibrant career successes and failures, social networks, business practices, and the groundbreaking metallurgical technologies he developed and employed. Revere’s commercial ventures epitomized what Martello terms proto-industrialization, a transitional state between craft work and mass manufacture that characterizes the broader, fast-changing landscape of the American economy. Martello uses Revere as a lens to view the social, economic, and technological milieu of early America while demonstrating Revere’s pivotal role in both the American Revolution and the rise of industrial America.
Original and well told, this account argues that the greatest patriotic contribution of America's Midnight Rider was his work in helping the nation develop from a craft to an industrial economy.