How did the forces of the market revolution heighten the tension between freedom and slavery?

2 Answers

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The market revolution demanded and promoted both freedom and slavery, bringing them into greater tension.

On the one hand, the market revolution promoted freedom.  It gave people the opportunity to break away from traditional ways and find new ways of making money and living life.  It also needed freedom because it needed people who could move around to find work and who had the mental freedom to devise new businesses and ways of doing business.

At the same time, it demanded more slavery.  One thing that it did was to create higher demand for clothing.  This demand was filled in large part through cotton from the South.  This created more of a demand for slaves.

thetall's profile pic

thetall | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

The market revolution created much tension as explained by Pohnpei, because different events were pulling the state of affairs in different directions. The North and Europe had abolished slavery and were actively pressurizing the South to do the same. This eventually worked to stop the slave trade but not slavery itself, especially in the South. There was increasing need for products such as cotton by the industries in the North from the plantations in the South. Ironically, while the Northerners were against slavery, they did fuel its survival because of their increasing demands on the South, who relied mostly on slaves to work in the plantations. Slaves, on the other hand, fought their way to the North in pursuit of the highly available industrial jobs, and those that succeeded supported those left in the South in the fight against slavery. These different forces brought about the tension between slavery and freedom during the market revolution period.