In The Financial Founding Fathers:  The Men Who Made America Rich, while Philadelphia was the nation's premier commercial and financial center at the close of the American Revolution, Robert...

In The Financial Founding Fathers:  The Men Who Made America Rich, while Philadelphia was the nation's premier commercial and financial center at the close of the American Revolution, Robert Wright states that by the 1840s (as the "Market Revoltuion" was winding down) Philadelphia had been eclipsed by New York in terms of commercial and financial prominence. What are the reasons that Wright cites for this shift?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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The easy answer to your question is immigration and industrialization (and New York's better position with both), but I will expand on your question yet again in order to make the answer a bit more clear from the book The Financial Founding Fathers:  The Men Who Made America Rich.  (I have also included the title in your question which makes it easier to reference. Not providing the title may be the original reason for the delay in a quick answer because the topic of "Literature" does not tell eNotes educators quite enough about where to look.)

For the specific answer to your question, I found it hidden deep in an early chapter that I wasn't expecting!  It is the chapter about Alexander Hamilton and his influence on the financial markets of the United States (as he is considered one of "America's Financial Founding Fathers":

When Hamilton [was a leader in this country] agriculture was king in America. (Even ironworks, the largest manufacturing enterprises, were called "plantations" because much of their value stemmed from their forest-clearing activities.) The mainland colonies had no joint-stock banks, only a few small corporations (and their stock did not trade), and only tiny amounts of publicly traded debt.

In short, there was still more "agricultural" revolution in America than there was "industrial" revolution.  Original European settlers were still happy to work the land.  In the middle 1800s, suddenly industrialization became king.  With so many factories being built, immigrants (or at least low-wage earners) were needed to work those factories (often with poor conditions).

Which place, Philidelphia or New York, was more conducive to immigration.  The answer is the place where Ellis Island ended up being placed:  New York City.  Why?  The harbor was perfect for the influx of immigrants into this country.  In fact, way before Ellis Island was opened at the end of the 19th century, New York City was already a hub of sorts for welcoming the foreigner.  Further, due to the many cultural neighborhoods in New York City, immigrants could find people who would speak their language and help them start a life in a new country.

Keep in mind Philadelphia also had some other issues, such as a huge outbreak of disease (yellow fever) and also the switch of Philadelphia to Washington DC as the capital of the entire country.  There is even the idea that the original "Bank of North America" is still "the very same Bank of New York that still graces Wall Street"!

Finance was smiling on New York State, and New York City, in particular.
 
Finally, don't forget the original reason behind Philadelphia as the first capital of America.  It was central to all thirteen original colonies.  New York was not as central.  Even though this was perfect placement during the American Revolution, it was NOT perfect placement during the Industrial Revolution.  The first was about freedom, the second was about finance.
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