The first factories in the Western world weren’t in buildings housing machines powered by steam: they were out of doors, in the sugarcane fields of the West Indies, in the rice fields of the Carolinas, and in the tobacco fields of Virginia. Slavery was one kind of experiment, designed to save the cost of labor by turning human beings into machines. Another kind of experiment was the invention of machines powered by steam. These two experiments had a great deal in common. Both required a capital investment, and both depended on the regimentation of time. What separated them divided the American economy into two: an industrial North, and an agricultural South.
Jill Lepore, These Truths, 169.