Samuel Slater is a mostly unrecognized figure from America’s early history. He came from England to bring plans to duplicate the textile machinery used over there to set up cotton mills in America. At that time raw materials that were produced in North America had to be sent overseas to be processed, then shipped again back here for Americans to use.
Worries that machines would take over men’s jobs arise. The episode doesn’t go there, but England wanted to corner the market on the textile industry, and didn’t like the idea of losing ground. For decades to come though, cloth made in England was considered a finer material than that produced anywhere in the world. In the episode, the claim is that Americans preferred foreign cotton, and refused to buy the product of Slater’s machines. To counter this, more cotton was produced in an effort to drive the cost down.
Will it work? Hard work from a hard headed, but decent man proves to win the hearts of the locals. The audio cuts off here, but in the part missing, we can guess that this incident also signifies the launch of the industrial revolution in America.