Britain became the world's leading industrial power because of the Industrial Revolution. Its political and business
leaders wanted to maintain this advantage. For a long time, Britain tried to prevent the spread of industrial technology to
other countries. The British were particularly concerned that the new technologies not spread to the colonies in North America.
These colonies were excellent market for the cottons and other textiles produced in British factories. If the colonies
started to manufacture their own cloth, this important market would be lost; therefore, the British government did all that
it could to prevent skilled workers from taking plans for the new textile machinery to the American colonies.
How could they do this? An important way was to impose stiff penalties on people caught smuggling plans and blueprints
of the new machines out of the country. Laws were passed to prohibited skilled workers from emigrating to the American Colonies.
In the 1780s, workers who did try to emigrate lost their British citizenship and property. The Americans, on the other hand,
used recruiting agents to entice British workers to the colonies. The British countered byu passing a law that made such recruiting
an offence. A recruiting agent could be fined $500 and put in jail for 12 months for each worker who emigrated to the
colonies; however, theselaws were not effective in stopping the trickle of emigrants from Britain to the United States.