The Market Revolution, Industrialization, and New Technologies

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

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The Market Revolution had contrasting impacts on the North and South. In the North, it spurred infrastructure development, industrialization, and urbanization, creating jobs and attracting immigrants. Conversely, the South, bolstered by the invention of the cotton gin, focused on cotton production, which increased the demand for slavery and discouraged industrial growth. The South's lack of urbanization and industry dissuaded immigrants and limited job opportunities. These differing economic paths deepened regional disparities, paving the way for the Civil War.

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The Market Revolution led to the North focusing on infrastructure and industrialization. Before the Civil War, Northern manufacturers made textiles, firearms, and furniture to be shipped around the world. Cities provided new investment opportunities for European investors as well as ideal places for immigrants who were looking for jobs. Railroad and canal construction also created many jobs for immigrants as well as the means to move both people and goods from east to west and vice versa.

The Market Revolution affected the South differently. Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin made it possible for Southern planters to produce even more cotton. Worldwide demand for cotton also led to more acreage being devoted to this cash crop. The cost of a slave increased exponentially as a result, thus giving the planters in the South more economic and political power and also making it less likely that the practice would gradually be phased out. Southern planters did not invest in industry as they saw cotton production as their path to success. This led to fewer factory jobs in the South and stunted the growth of cities. While the South would have some major cities such as Atlanta, the number of major cities would be much smaller than that of the North. Immigrants did not rush to the South due to a shortage of opportunities to find work. The South also did not invest in infrastructure as this would mean giving up prime agricultural land that could be used to grow cotton.

During the Market Revolution the North and South became economically and culturally different. The US overall grew richer but the nation was on the path to civil war due to its economic and social differences connected to slavery.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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

The Market Revolution (1793–1909) occurred alongside the Industrial Revolution (1750–1914) in the United States. As the Industrial Revolution brought about massive changes in transportation (such as the creation of the steam engine, diesel engine, and railroads), communications (such as the creation of the telegraph), and industry (such as the creation of the cotton gin and sewing machine), the market economy began to transform as well, both in the North and South.

In the North, the expansion of cities occurred as working-class people moved to urban areas to search for employment in industrial factories and textile mills. In the South, the agricultural economy, particularly in the production of cotton for the creation of textiles, experienced a marked increase. This combination of an industrial boom in the North and agricultural boom in the South, coupled with massive improvements to transportation and communication systems, resulted in a shift from local and regional economies to a more centralized national economy.

Additionally, in the South (prior to the civil war), slavery expanded even more as plantation owners sought to increase their cotton production and become even more rich off the backs of enslaved people. In the North, abolitionist movements began to solidify, and political tensions began to grow between the two regions of the country.

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

The Market Revolution had a significant impact on the North. As more machinery was introduced to the United States, many changes occurred in the North. Northern farms became big business operations. Prior to the introduction of machinery, most northern farmers practiced subsistence farming.  After the introduction of machinery, these farmers began to produce many crops to be sold to people living throughout the region.

The introduction of new machines led to the growth of factories in the North. These factories produced a variety of products including clothes, tools, and furniture. Many of these products were sold to many people in the United States.

The Market Revolution also impacted the North because there were improvements in transportation. With the development of the steam engine, it was easier and quicker to ship products. River transportation improved as did travel by road. The building of the National Road, the Erie Canal, and the use of the steam engine in boats and trains helped get products and people from one place to another quicker than in the past.

The South was impacted by the Market Revolution. As the use of the cotton gin expanded, the South turned more and more to the growing of cotton. Cotton eventually became the leading export of the South. The growth of cotton plantations also led to an expansion of slavery in the South. The Southern economy relied more and more on the use of slaves. Thus, the invention of the cotton gin greatly impacted Southern life and the Southern economy.

The Market Revolution impacted both the North and the South.

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

The Market Revolution created new jobs with interchangeable parts.  This meant that goods could be mass produced cheaply enough that people could buy them.  There was also a Transportation Revolution that went with the Market Revolution—businesses had to obtain raw materials and ship finished products to market.  There were several factories in the North which employed new immigrants from Europe in making the goods that a growing American economy needed.  There were also more internal improvements, such as canals and railroads, in the North due to the abundance of labor to work on these projects.  

The South was affected by the Market Revolution as well.  Eli Whitney's cotton gin made cotton easier to produce and planters bought more land and slaves in order earn large fortunes.  The North, especially the Northeast, demanded Southern cotton and, before the Civil War, cotton was needed in textile mills in Britain and France as well.  The money earned from the export trade allowed rich Southerners to import some of the finest European goods, while most poor Southerners could not even own their own land as they were priced out by rich plantation owners.  

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

The Market Revolution truly transformed the economy of the North.  By contrast, its impact on the South was less pervasive.  It is said to have brought about the boom in cotton, but it did not fundamentally change the way the economy worked.

In the North, the Market Revolution brought about a decline in subsistence agriculture.  Instead of working on family farms that were self-sufficient (or nearly so) people started to work on farms that grew crops to sell.  Many people even left farms to work in the factories that were springing up around the North.  This created a situation where the North developed a diverse economy that was based on the market system where it had previously had an economy that depended on small practitioners of subsistence farming.

By contrast, the South’s economy was not so drastically changed.  The South’s economy had never been dominated by small subsistence farmers.  Its dominant power was the plantations.  The Market Revolution, in the form of Whitney’s cotton gin, did change the dominant crop in the South.  It also ensured that slavery would boom as cotton was able to spread across the South.  However, it did not create a diverse economy as in the North.  The South was dominated by plantations before the Market Revolution and continued to be dominated by plantations after the revolution.

The Market Revolution, therefore, helped the North become modernized and industrialized but did not do the same for the South.

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