Industry and Commerce in the Early 19th Century

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In the 19th century, America had a basic economy and small industry. It was also a new country, with few customs and traditions. It had not had time to acquire any, because it was still so new. America has grown a lot since then, and a lot of the steps we have taken to get to today's bustling economy and immense industry took place in the nineteenth century. Commerce and industry contributed to America's nineteenth century identity because it provided the framework for a larger economy in the future, helped drive western expansion and growth of cities, made an improved transportation system necessary, and forced many new inventions onto the market

In the early 1800's, seaboard ports were the largest centers of commerce. These were small towns, with basic transportation systems. Most of the goods exported were either simple products or seafood from the nearby ocean. Many farms surrounded the seaboard ports. The growing conditions were not too favorable, as the fields were muddy most of the time. Seaboard ports were an essential part of the local trade.

In 1820 we had at least one half million separate family economies trading with several thousand local economies. On small family farms, family members spent the majority of there time working to produce for there families own use. Each family farm was like its own economy, with free time and the stock of produce shared, jobs assigned to each family member, and chores expected. On farms with slaves or larger plantations, planters established routines and enforced them with rewards and punishments. Today's more unified economy is much better than the separate economies of the nineteenth century.

The local industry exchanged flour, lumber, bricks, furniture, wagons, coffins, shoes, and ironware, all of which were produced at small mills and shops. All materials were produced locally; even the iron was smelted in town. In addition to craftsmen, jobs were available as lawyers, bankers,...
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