The Market Revolution, Industrialization, and New Technologies

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How did the Market Revolution impact U.S. society, politics, and economy from 1800-1860?

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The Market Revolution had many impacts on the United States between 1800-1860. One impact was with the economy. During this time, there were many changes in the economy of the United States. More machines were used to make products. This allowed the North to increase the number of industries that they had. Newer forms of transportation were used as the steam engine made it easier to travel by river and by train. New roads were built, as were new canals. The North became more industrialized during this time period.

In the South, the invention of the cotton gin impacted the growing of cotton. Cotton could be grown and harvested more easily. Therefore, farming became even more important in the South. This was especially true with the growing of cotton, which became a leading export of the South by 1860.

The Market Revolution had social impacts also. When cotton growing expanded in the South, the South needed more slaves to work in the fields. As a result, slavery became more important in the South. In the North, more workers began to work in factories. These workers often worked in unsafe conditions and worked long hours for low pay. The Market Revolution also contributed to a desire for expansion. As the country expanded, the Native Americans were hurt by this expansion. White Americans wanted to expand to the lands where the Native American lived. Many white Americans believed the Native Americans were holding back the progress of the country. Many Native Americans were forced to relocate to areas west of the Mississippi River.

The Market Revolution impacted politics. The South wanted to see policies developed that allowed for the expansion of slavery and for the protection of the institution of slavery. The North didn’t want to see slavery spread to the new areas that the United States was gaining as the country expanded. There were many debates and policies revolving around the issue of slavery. The Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act were examples of attempts to deal with the spread of slavery. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates also dealt with this issue. Ultimately, the failure to resolve the slavery issue led to the start of the Civil War.

The Market Revolution had a huge impact on the United States between 1800-1860.

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During the Market Revolution, which followed the War of 1812, the country embarked on a plan to improve its infrastructure, mainly in the North. As a result, the North developed canals, roads, and railroads that helped increase its process of industrialization. These improvements in transportation allowed products to be shipped to market more quickly and efficiently. The North became a center of manufacturing, while what was then the Northwest (today's Midwest) became the center of food production. The South remained largely agricultural and increasingly turned to the profitable production of cotton, particularly after the invention of the cotton gin in the 1790s.

As a result of the economic connections between the North and Midwest, these areas became more connected in political and social senses. The North was largely Federalist and later supported the Whig party. The South, on the other hand, was largely left out of commercial connections with other sections of the country, except for shipping cotton to the North. The South became the domain of the Democratic-Republican Party, which later became the Democratic Party. The consequence was increasing sectionalism based on economic, social, and political differences between parts of the country in the antebellum era. 

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The Market Revolution fundamentally altered American politics and society. The advent of mass production and the factory system permanently altered the traditional master-apprentice relationship, and squeezed many traditional craftsmen out of business by breaking up the tasks in production of many manufactured goods. This created an enormous class of wage laborers in cities, especially in the North, where the move to manufacturing was the most advanced. These workers toiled in a far more discipined environment than ever before.

Along with a class of wage laborers, a new class of capitalists, people who invested in manufacturing and other ventures emerged. These middle-class city dwellers attempted a number of reform movements aimed at curbing what they saw as the immorality of the urban working class. Their efforts were encouraged by religious reformers that emerged in the Second Great Awakening. Many people, aghast at the rapidity of these changes, retreated into utopian communities which dotted the countryside in the North.

In the South, the Market Revolution was characterized by rapid expansion of the cotton economy, which of course entailed rapid territorial expansion into lands formerly held by Native Americans and Mexico. The impact of the expansion of slavery on the nation by midcentury is well-known, but it also should be noted that it involved the rise of a massive internal slave trade by which slaves were sold from plantations in the Upper South, especially Virginia, into new lands in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. 

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