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"Manufacturing Ruin" argues that the most important moments in the history of the concept and consciousness of "American ruin" accompany volatile episodes of progress and decline in American manufacturing. This dissertation attends to the construction of "American ruin" in response to the rise of manufacturing in the early to mid-nineteenth century and the decline of industrial capitalism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Americans have manufactured picturesque ruins and spectacular episodes of ruination both to conceal and reveal and to "contain" and "harness" destructive forces inherent to capitalism. In some cases, ruins have been represented in ways that conceal processes of ruination inherent to their own destruction. In other instances, episodes of destruction demonstrate that in attending to particular processes of ruination, Americans have intentionally ignored others.