The Market Revolution

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American History I
The Market Revolution
During the late 1700’s, the United States was no longer a possession of Britain, instead it was a market for industrial goods and the world’s major source for tobacco, cotton, and other agricultural products. A labor revolution started to occur in the United States throughout the early 1800’s. There was a shift from an agricultural economy to an industrial market system. After the War of 1812, the domestic marketplace changed due to the strong pressure of social and economic forces. Major innovations in transportation allowed the movement of information, people, and merchandise. Textile mills and factories became an important base for jobs, especially for women. There was also widespread economic growth during this time period (Roark, 260). The market revolution brought about economic growth through new modes of transportation, an abundance of natural resources, factory production, and banking and legal practices. Transportation was a large factor in the market revolution. During the years of 1815 and 1840, there were many forms of improved transportation. Roads, steamboats, canals, and railroads lowered the cost and shortened the time of travel. By making these improvements, products could be shipped into other areas for profit (Roark, 260). Steamboats set off a huge industry and by 1830, more than 700 steamboats were in operating up and down the Ohio and Mississippi River (Roark, 261). Steamboats also had some flaws, due to the fact of deforesting the paths along the rivers. Wood was needed to refuel the power to the boat. The carbon emissions from the steamboats polluted the air (Roark, 261). The building of roads was a major connecting point for states. There were some arguments of who would pay for these new roads. Federal money was not allowed for state roads unless the road was a connector road between states. This made it very hard for the individual states to come up with the money. Usually private investors took care of this issue (Roark, 260). Canals were another way for an increase in transportation. They would connect cities, such as the Erie Canal, which covered the area between Albany and Buffalo and connecting New York City to the area of the Great Lakes (Roark, 261). Railroads also came into the picture with the first railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio in 1829 (Roark, 262). There was an abundance of natural resources during this time period. The forests provided the wood needed to heat the rising growth of the factories and to supply paper for the increase of books and newspapers. The transportation growth provided people with a way tp receive literature in distant areas. Sawmills had to use the waterwheel for power. The steamboats pummeled a pathway through the rivers, but also deforested the land in their pathway. This brought about America’s first issue with air pollution.

Textile mills grew because of new inventions that would make the product and people willing to work for a living. In the 1790’s, Samuel Slater built the first factory in Rhode Island, which had a machine that could spin thread and yarn. This allowed an increase in the New England area of spinning mills. In Lowell, Massachusetts, factories were created on the Merrimack River combining all parts of cloth production, such as combing, spinning, shrinking, weaving, and dyeing (Roark, 262). This also brought the change in the workforce by using girls as employees. These young women would work at the mill until they got married, and replacements were always ready to come in to replenish the loss of employees. The ladies usually relished the idea of living away from home and the opportunity to earn real wages. The mills provided room and board for the women, which might include a 12-hour work day for six days of the week. The working conditions were dimly lit, hot, and very loud from all of the machinery. The wages would average between $2 and $3...
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