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Chapter 10 - America’s Economic Revolution

 1)The Changing American Population

a)The American Population, 1820-1840

i)Population dramatically increased, began to concentrate in industrial centers of Northeast and Northwest, provided labor force for factory system

ii)Growth b/c of improvements in public health (decrease in number and intensity of epidemics), high birth rate, lower infant mortality rates

iii)Immigration did not contribute greatly until 1830s b/c of Eur wars & US economic problems. Immigrant boom caused by lower transport costs, increased US economic opportunity + less econ opportunity in some Eur areas

iv)Immigrant + internal migration led to growth of cities b/c agriculture in New England less profitable (some moved West also). By 1810 NY largest city

b)Immigration and Urban Growth, 1840-1860

i)By 1860 26% of free state populations lived in towns or cities

ii)Booming agricultural economy of west led small villages and trading posts to become cities. Benefited from Mississippi R, centers of Midwest trade

iii)By 1860 American population greater than that of GB and approaching France and Germany. Urban growth from flow of ppl from Northeast farms (competition from Eur farms + Western farms) & influx of immigrants abroad

iv)Majority of immigrants from Ireland and Germany. German industrial revolution had caused poverty, & b/c of collapse of liberal 1848 revolution. In Ireland unpopular English rule & “potato famine” of 1845-1849 

v)Most Irish settled in eastern cities + became unskilled laborers (had little $, many were young women- domestic/factory work in cities). Most Germans moved to Northwest, farming or business in towns (many were single men)

c)Rise of Nativism

i)Some native-born Americans saw opportunity in immigration. Industrialists & employers wanted cheap labor, land speculators and politicians hoped would populate west + increase demand for goods, increase influence

ii)Some (Nativists) hostile to foreigners and immigration. Some racist, some argued newcomers socially unfit and did not have sufficient standards of civilization, workers feared low immigrant wages would steal their jobs, Protestants feared Irish Catholics & Rome, many upset b/c voted Democratic

iii)Tension and prejudice led to secret societies to combat “alien menace”, Native American Association 1837, 1845 Native American Party, peak in 1850s with combination in Supreme Order of the Star-Spangled Banner. Wanted to ban Catholics form office, restrict naturalization, force literacy tests for voting

iv)Secret order known as Know-Nothings turned to party politics, after 1852 election formed American Party, success in 1854 East elections, declined after

2)Transportation, Communications, and Technology

a)The Canal Age

i)1790-1820s “turnpike era”, but roads not adequate for nation’s growing needs

ii)Traffic on large rivers such as Miss. and Ohio had been mainly flat barges that could not travel upstream, by 1820s steamboats and riverboats carried western and southern crops quickly, from New Orleans ocean ships to Eastern ports

iii)Farmers and merchants unhappy b/c more direct route could lower transport costs and product costs. By 1820s economic advantages of canals had generated boom in expanding water routes to West. Too expensive for private companies, states of Northeast constructed them

iv)NY’s Erie Canal began July 4, 1817 to connect Hudson R and Lake Erie. Opened 1825, tolls repaid construction costs, gave NY access to Great Lakes, Chicago, growing Western markets. NY now competed with New Orleans  

v)Water transport system expanded when Ohio + Indiana connected Lake Erie & Ohio R. Increased white settlement, but primacy of NY power + hinterland control alarmed other Atlantic cities. Most attempts limited successes or failed

b)The Early Railroads

i)Railroads played secondary role in 1820s/30s, but laid groundword for mid-century surge. Emerged form technological (tracks, steam-powered locomotive) and entrepreneurial innovations

ii)In 1830s no real rial system, most lines simply connected water routes and not links to other rail systems. Some states and corporations also limited their ability to compete effectively against canals

c)The Triumph of the Rails

i)After 1840 rail gradually supplanted canals. 1850’s trackage tripled. Most comprehensive and efficient system in northeast, but no region untouched

ii)Trend toward consolidation of short lines into longer lines (“trunk lines”), connected Northeast w/ Northwest, from these other railroads traveled into interior of nation. Main Northwest hub was Chicago

iii)Lessened dependence of West on Miss. R, weakening N + S economic cnxn

iv)Capital to finance railroads came from private investors, abroad, and local governments. Fed govt gave public land grants to railroads, states for RRs

d)Innovations in Communications

i)Magnetic telegraph lines along tracks aided train routing, but also allowed instant communication btwn cities, linked N and NW at exclusion of S

ii)1844 Samuel Morse first transmitted. Low cost of construction made it ideal solution to long-distance communication. By 1860 Western Union Telegraph company had been founded linking most independent telegraph lines

iii)In journalism Richard Hoe’s 1846 steam cylinder rotary press allowed rapid and cheap newspapers, telegraph increased news speed. 1846 Associated Press formed to promote cooperate wire transmission

iv)NY’s major papers Horace Greeley’s Tribune, James Bennett’s Herald, Henry Raymond’s Times. In 1840s/50s journalism fed sectional discord, most major magazines and newspapers located in North. New awareness of differences

3)Commerce and Industry

a)The Expansion of Business, 1820-1840

i)Business grew b/c population, transportation revolution, and new practices

ii)Retain distribution became more efficient w/ specialty stores in cities

iii) Individual + small merchant capitalist companies dominated, but some larger businesses gave way to corporations- combined resources of large number of shareholders. Grew 1830s b/c states passed easy incorporation laws. Limited liability meant stockholder risked only value of investment if corp failed

iv)Great demand for capital led businesses to rely on credit, but gold and silver standards of govt led to too little $, led private banks to issue less stable notes

v)Bank failures frequent, insecure deposits. Credit difficulty limited growth

b)The Emergence of the Factory

i)Before War of 1812 most manufacturing occurred in private households in small workshops. Technology and demand led to factories- began in New England textile industry, large water-driven machines increased production

ii)1820s factory system in shoe industry, by 1830s spread throughout Northeast. By 1860 value of manufactured goods roughly equal to agricultural goods. Largest manufacturers located in the Northeast, large amt of ppl employed

c)Advances in Technology

i)Developed industries relatively immature, fine items came from England. But by 1840s rapid machine technology advances, sophisticated textile industry 

ii)Manufacture of machine tools (tools used to make machinery) improved by govt supported research for military (at Springfield Armory, MA)- turret lathe and universal milling machine in early 19th century. Later precision grinder

iii)Better machine tools allowed for wide use of interchangeable parts, new uses

iv)Industrialization aided by new energy sources: coal replacing wood + water in factories. Allowed mills to be located away from streams, easier expansion 

v)Technological advances due to American inventors, increasing number of patents. Included Howe-Singer sewing machine, Goodyear vulcanized rubber

d)Innovations in Corporate Organization

i)Merchant capitalists still prominent 1840s, their clippers were fastest sailing ships afloat at time. By mid-century merchant capitalism declining b/c British competition stealing export trade, greater profits found in manufacturing than trade. Industry grew in NE b/c this merchant class could finance factories

ii)By 1840s corporations spreading rapidly, especially in textile industry. Ownership moving form families and individuals to many shareholders

4)Men and Women At Work

a)Recruiting A Native Work Force

i)In factory system’s early years recruiting labor difficult b/c of farms and small cities. New farmlands in Midwest + new farm machinery and techniques increased food production, decreased need for labor. Transport allowed importation of food from other regions—ppl in New Eng left for factories

ii)Some recruitment brought whole families form farm to the mill w/ parents and children, but Lowell/Waltham system enlisted young women 

iii)Labor conditions relatively good in early years of system, better than Eur. Lowell system used young, unmarried women but had good housing + food

iv)Even well-treated workers found transition from life on farm to in factory difficult- regimented env’t, repetitive tasks. Women had little other choice b/c barred from manual labor, unthinkable to travel in search of opportunity

v)Competitive textile market of 1830s/40s manufactures had difficulty maintaining high standards + conditions, wages fell. Union of Factory Girls Association struck twice, but both failed. Eventually immigrants filled jobs

b)The Immigrant Work Force

i)Increasing supply of immigrant workers after 1840 boom for manufacturers- large and inexpensive labor source. Little leverage with employers, lack of skills and native prejudice led to low, intermittent wages—great poverty

ii)Irish workers predominated 1840s textile industry, arrival led to deteriorating working conditions. Less social pressure on owners to maintain decent env’t, piece rates instead of daily wages to speed production

iii)Factories becoming large, noisy, unsanitary, dangerous places to work, hours long, wages declining. Still however, condition better than England and Eur

c)The Factory System and the Artisan Trade

i)Factory system displaced skilled artisans- had been embodiment of republican independent worker. Unable to compete w/ factory-made goods for fraction of artisan’s prices. Early 19th century began to form organizations and first labor unions to protect position. 1820s/30s trade unions developed in cities

ii)Interconnected economies of cities made national unions or federations of local unions logical. 1834 National Trade’s Union

iii)Labor leaders struggled w/ hostile laws and courts, common law made worker combination as illegal conspiracy. Panic of 1837 also weakened movement

d)Fighting for Control

i)Workers at all levels in industrial economy tried to improve position by making 10-hour workday or restricting child labor. Laws changed little

ii)1842 MA Supreme Court ruled in Commonwealth v Hunt that unions were legal and strikes lawful, other states gradually agreed. Unions still largely ineffective 1840s/50s

iii)Artisans + skilled workers unions more successful 1850s, but their unions more like preindustrial guilds that restricted admission to skilled trades

iv)Working class of 1840s/50s had only modest power- limited by numerous immigrant laborers who could replace strikers, ethnic division led to worker disunity. Industrial capitalists had great economic, political and social power

5)Patterns of Industrial Society

a)The Rich and the Poor

i)Commercial +industrial growth raised average income of Americans, but wealth distributed unequally – for slaves, Indians, landless farmers, many unskilled workers little change. Small % of families owned majority of wealth

ii)There had always been wealthy classes from beginning but extent and character was changing. Newly wealthy merchants & industrialists settled in cities- found new ways to display wealth in mansions, social clubs, clothing…

iii)Large population of destitute ppl in growing urban areas- little resources, often homeless. Included recent immigrants, widows, orphans, ppl w/ mental illness. Free blacks=only menial jobs, little pay, no vote, no public schools 

b)Social Mobility

i)Class conflict quelled b/c working standards declined but living standard improving, opportunity for social mobility for workers captured imagination

ii)Geographic mobility more extensive than Eur, Western lands “safety valve” for discontent. Also travel form city to city to search for new opportunity

iii)Opportunity to participate in politics expanded, ballot tied ppl to community

c)Middle-Class Life

i)Fastest growing group in America middle class. Economic development offered opportunity to own and work for businesses, land no longer=wealth

ii)Middle class life most influential cultural form of urban America, good neighborhoods, women stayed in home to care for children, cast-iron stoves used to cook, diets improved w/ new access to meats, grains, dairy

d)The Changing Family

i)Movement of families from farms to cities where jobs, not land, most important.  Patriarchal system of inherited farm land disappeared

ii)Work moved out of home and into shop, mill, factory. Family as principal economic unit gave way to individual wage earners. Even farms became commercialized b/c larger lands required more labor than just family

iii)Changing family role led to decline in birth rate by mid-19th century. Deliberate effort to limit family size result of future planning. Secular, rational

e)Women and the “Cult of Domesticity”

i)Growing distinction btwn workplace and home led to distinction in societal roles of men + women. Women had long been denied legal + political rights, little access to business, less access to education at high levels

ii)Middle class husband seen as wage earner, wife to engage in domestic activities- “guardians of domestic virtues”, central role to nurture young

iii)“Separate sphere” female culture emerged. Women seen as having special qualities difft than men-custodians of morality and shape home to be refuge from competitive marketplace. Provide religious, moral instruction to kids

iv)By 1840s few genteel women considered working, seen as “lower class”, owners rarely hired women anyway b/c of “cult”. But Working-class women couldn’t afford to stay home, many went into domestic service 

f)Leisure Activities

i)Leisure time scarce for all but wealthy, vacations rare, Sunday often only day of rest + Church. Reading expanded, new newspapers, magazines, books for affluent. Theaters, minstrel shows, public sporting events increasingly popular

ii)Circus amazed ppl (PT Barnum), lectures also very popular

6)The Agricultural North

a)Northeastern Agriculture

i)After 1840 decline and transformation- farmers couldn’t compete with new rich soil of Northwest. Rural population declined. Some farmers moved west for new farms, others moved to mill towns and became laborers. Others turned to providing eastern urban centers vegetables, fruit, profitable dairy products

b)The Old Northwest

i)Some industry (more than in South), industrial growth, before Civil War- much served agriculture or relied on agricultural products

ii)Lands from urban centers primarily agricultural, owned by workers. Rising world farm prices gave incentive for commercial agriculture: growing single crop for market, international market for American food

iii)Growth of factories + cities increased demand for farm goods. Northwest farmers sold most goods to ppl in Northeast + dependent on their purchasing power, Eastern industry found market for products in prosperous West

iv)To expand production Western expansion into prairie regions during 1840s/50s, new farm techniques and inventions used- John Deere’s steel plow

v)Automatic reaper by Cyrus McCormick + thresher revolutionized grain production

vi)NW democracy based on defense of economic freedom and rights of property

c)Rural Life

i)Religion powerful force drawing farm communities together. Also joined together to share tasks difficult for single family (such as barn raising)

ii)Rural life not always isolated, but less contact w/ popular culture and public social life than in towns and cities. Cherished farm life autonomy


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