How did the Market Revolution impact the North and the South differently?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Broadly speaking, in the North, the Market Revolution led to increased urbanization and economic integration. A major part of both of these trends was industrialization, of which the textile industry was the most prominent example. The market revolution also saw rapid growth of infrastructure in the North, including state and federally-subsidized roads, canals, and eventually railroads. Additionally, the Market Revolution, as well as other external forces (especially famine in Ireland) led to massive immigration during the 1830 and especially the 1840s.

In the South, the Market Revolution, particularly in the deep South, was characterized by the expansion of cotton agriculture, famously facilitated by the invention of the cotton gin. Far from the idyllic plantations romanticized in historical memory, hunger for new lands to cultivate cotton led to rampant speculation and aggressive land-grabs in the fertile black belts of western Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi (and later Texas.) This not only led to the deportation of Southeastern Indians, but created a insatiable demand for slave labor. Because the foreign slave trade was banned, southern planters turned to the border South, particularly Virginia, where there was a labor surplus. This led to one of the other defining characteristics of the Market Revolution, namely the internal slave trade. Thousands of slaves were taken in coffles to the Deep South, where they labored on the new plantations.

On the other hand, the rise of Jacksonian democracy, with its emphasis on extending the franchise to all white men, was also a legacy of the Market Revolution in the South as well as the North. And the Market Revolution also led to increased economic integration of the North and South, as well as the West. This took place even as the regions began to experience sectional tensions over the expansion of slavery and other issues related to slavery.

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Market Revolution in the United States saw the reemergence of mercantilism with the nation seeking to increase its reserves of gold and silver. Capitalism took precedence due to increased industrialization and improvements in transport and communication, which enhanced modern trade.

Northern cities took advantage of the Industrial Revolution and improved infrastructure to accelerate their manufacturing economy. On the other hand, Southern cities were opposed to the changes and influences of supply and demand and continued to place their emphasis on agriculture. The North and South were pulling towards different directions, which brought their inherent differences to the fore.

The Market Revolution increased the need for labor in the plantations, leading to an increasing need for slaves. The North had banned slavery and was pushing the South to do the same. However, the more the North needed raw materials for manufacturing, the more the South needed more labor to satisfy the needs of the North.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The market revolution of the early nineteenth century resulted in furthering the industrialization of the North while causing increased reliance on agriculture in the South. The market revolution was the result of a campaign to improve the country's transportation infrastructure after the War of 1812. As a result, canals and railroads expanded, mainly linking the northeast with the midwest.

The North became the site of factories that turned southern cotton into textiles, while the Midwest developed into the "bread basket" of the country, supplying the northeast with grains, meat, and other products. The South, on the other hand, became increasingly reliant on cotton production, particularly after the invention of the cotton gin in 1794, which facilitated the process of removing seeds from cotton plants. The market revolution, then, resulted in increased economic differentiation between the North and South in the years before the Civil War.