The market revolution
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The Market Revolution. 1820-1860. What are we talking about?. Major economic transformation Expansion of people producing for the market Changing WHAT they are producing and HOW they are producing Completely new mindset  REVOLUTIONARY!!. Factors Leading to the Market Revolution.

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The Market Revolution

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The Market Revolution


What are we talking about?

  • Major economic transformation

  • Expansion of people producing for the market

    • Changing WHAT they are producing and HOW they are producing

  • Completely new mindset  REVOLUTIONARY!!

Factors Leading to the Market Revolution

  • Specialization of Labor

  • Early Industrialization

  • Transportation & Communication Revolution

  • Westward Expansion

  • Rise of the Cotton Kingdom

  • Immigration & Migration

  • Government Support for Business

Specialization of Labor

  • What is “outwork”?

  • What is the “factory system”?

  • Lowell/Waltham Mills

Samuel Slater(“Father of the Factory System”)

The Lowell/Waltham System:First Dual-Purpose Textile Plant

Francis Cabot Lowell’s town - 1814

Lowell in 1850

Lowell Mill

Early Textile Mill Loom Floor

Early Textile Loom

Early Industrialization

  • Begins in England as early as 1780s

  • Really underway in US by 1790s, but doesn’t really start to grow until early 1800s




New EnglandTextileCenters:1830s

New England Dominance in Textiles

Starting for Lowell

Lowell Girls

What was their typical “profile?”

Lowell Boarding Houses

What was boardinghouse life like?

Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin, 1791

Actually invented by a slave!

Eli Whitney’s Gun Factory

Interchangeable Parts Rifle

Elias Howe & Isaac Singer

1840sSewing Machine

John Deere & the Steel Plow(1837)

Cyrus McCormick& the Mechanical Reaper: 1831

Transportation & Communication Revolution

Cumberland (National Road), 1811

Conestoga Covered Wagons

Conestoga Trail, 1820s

Erie Canal System

Erie Canal, 1820s

Begun in 1817; completed in 1825

Robert Fulton & the Steamboat

1807: The Clermont

Principal Canals in 1840

Inland Freight Rates

Clipper Ships


First automated flour mill

First prototype of the locomotive

The “Iron Horse” Wins! (1830)

1830  13 miles of track built by Baltimore & Ohio RRBy 1850  9000 mi. of RR track [1860  31,000 mi.]


  • Immigrant laborbuilt the No. RRs.

  • Slave laborbuilt the So. RRs.

Samuel F. B. Morse

1840 – Telegraph

Cyrus Field & the Transatlantic Cable, 1858

Westward Expansion

  • Doors opened by removal of Indians & new transportation, communication

  • Streams of migration

    • From lower south

    • From upper south

    • From New England

  • Opens up access to new resources

  • Cheap land huge pull factors for immigrants

Rise of the Cotton Kingdom

  • Contributing factors:

    • Industrial demand for cotton (1st in UK, then in US)

    • Opening of Deep South to new settlement

  • Some consequences:

    • Further pushes regional economic specialization

    • Revitalizes slavery

    • Growth of domestic slave trade

Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin, 1791

Actually invented by a slave!

Immigration & Migration


1840s – Irish

1850s -- German

  • Pull factors

    • Relatively cheap land

    • Access to jobs

    • Quicker long-distance travel

    • Political freedoms

  • Push factors

    • Political unrest

    • Famine

    • Lack of economic opportunity

Internal Migration

Gradual shift from countryside to cities

People in cities moved more frequently

National Origin of Immigrants:1820 - 1860

Why now?

Government Support for Business

  • Gov’t NOT actively involved in economy

  • Laissez-faire policies mostly

  • BUT

    • Development of private corporations

    • Severely limited gov’t investment in business

    • State gov’ts active in improving transportation infrastructure

    • Support competition & private property (court cases)

    • Criminalize strikes (supportive of employers)

    • Protective tariffs in 1816, 1824, 1828

Creating a Business-Friendly Climate

Supreme Court Rulings:*Fletcher v. Peck (1810)*Dartmouth v. Woodward (1819)*McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)*Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)*Charles Rivers Bridge v. Warren Bridge (1835)

General Incorporation Law  passed in New York, 1848.

Laissez faire  BUT, govt. did much to assist capitalism!

Outcomes of these Changes

  • Rapid Economic Growth

  • Periods of Boom & Bust

  • Urbanization/Growth of Cities

  • Changes in Labor

  • Beginnings of Organized Labor

  • Rise of Nativism

  • Commercialization of farming in NW

  • Social/Cultural Responses

Rapid Economic Growth

Regional Specialization

EAST Industrial

SOUTH Cotton & Slavery

WEST The Nation’s “Breadbasket”

Periods of Boom & Bust

Boom/Bust Cycles: 1790-1860

The blue line shows, for comparison, the price of a year’s tuition at Harvard College. In 1790 it was $24, but by 1860 had risen to $104.

Urbanization/Growth of Cities

American Population Centers in 1820

American Population Centers in 1860

Changes in Labor

  • Decline in artisan tradition

  • Workers have less autonomy over their labor

  • Subdivision of tasks

  • More supervision

  • Sharpening of line between work time & leisure time

  • Shift from labor’s “price” to labor’s “wage”

    • Some aversion to wage labor

    • Women at Lowell (replaced eventually by cheaper immigrant labor)

Beginnings of Organized Labor

The Early Union Movement

Workingman’s Party (1829)* Founded by Robert Dale Owen and others in New York City.

Early unions were usually local, social, and weak.

Commonwealth v. Hunt(1842).

Worker political parties were ineffective until the post-Civil War period.

Rise of Nativism

  • Part of ongoing story of anxiety over new groups of immigrants

  • Some fears of immigrants as “subversives”

    • Against democratic ideas

  • Anti-immigrant riots & political campaigns

Irish Immigrant Girls at Lowell

American View of the Irish Immigrant

Know-Nothing Party:

“The Supreme Order of the Star-Spangled Banner”

Commercialization of Farming in NW

  • Beginning to think more about the market

  • More crop specialization

  • Pushed by growth of

    • Eastern markets

    • Transportation networks

    • Availability of credit

    • Improved farm machinery (esp. after 1840s)

Social/Cultural Responses

Changes in Social Structure

Changing Occupation Distributions:1820 - 1860

Distribution of Wealth

  • During the American Revolution,45% of all wealth in the top 10% ofthe population.

  • 1845 Boston  top 4% owned over 65% of the wealth.

  • 1860 Philadelphia  top 1% owned over 50% of the wealth.

  • The gap between rich and poor was widening!

Polarization of Wealth in the 20c

The “American Dream”

  • They all regarded material advance as the natural fruit of American republicanism & proof of the country’s virtue and promise.

A German visitor in the 1840s, Friedrich List, observed:

Anything new is quickly introduced here, including all of the latest inventions. There is no clinging to old ways. The moment an American hears the word “invention,” he pricks up his ears.

Who are the Beneficiaries?

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