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HIST 1301, US History to 1865

Dr. Whitney Stewart

December 14, 2017






#1- What was the market revolution, and how did it change American society?

The 18th century market revolution was a development of a modern capitalist market society, which resulted from the displacement of conventional methods of production, distribution, and exchange. This specific part in history was largely focused on the development of a strong national economy. The market revolution was indicative of the forces that fostered economic growth in the 18th century colonial America.  

This change in commercial refinement occurred in large part because of the massive increase in technological and public policy aimed at promoting the development of industries within the United States. “Among the means of advancing the public interest the occasion is a proper one for recalling the attention of Congress to the great importance of establishing throughout our country the roads and canals which can best be executed under the national authority,” asserts James Madison asking Congress in 1815 to back the development of infrastructure in the United States. The idea behind this explains how the development of national infrastructure is a prerequisite to sustain and develop the national economy since it allowed for the connection of people in a different way that they have never been linked before.

Aside from developments of internal improvement, tariffs placed by the government on imported products allowed for the domestic products to largely dominate markets. The market revolution also saw technological improvements in transportation and communication. Steamboats and trains accelerated economic growth through facilitating the transportation of goods with proficiency and speed. Direct routes, such as the Erie Canal, increase in speed and carrying capacity allowed for a rapid development in the economy. Additionally, communication devices such as the telegraph, developed in 1837, linked people nearly instantaneously which helped produce the national marketplace.

Additionally, the first American factory originated during the market revolution, due to a reorganizing of labor structuring in the United States. The Lowell textile mill allowed for the production to occur on one site and under supervision rather than the conventional method of the “putting-out system.” Moreover, as Alexis de Toqueville explains in his 1840’s book Democracy in America, “The Americans have applied to the sexes the great principle of political economy which governs the manufacturers of our age, by carefully dividing the duties of man from those of woman in order that the great work of society may be the better carried on.” During his visit t the United States, Alexis notices that the women’s position in society is domestic, not as a working person.  However, the introduction of factories allowed reversed this and allowed for women to entire the workforce. Nonetheless, this occurred because employers were able to justify lower pay for women than for men.

The 18th century market revolution allowed for the streamline of economic development in colonial America through the development of speedboats, trains, and the telegraph restructuring of factories.  Moreover, the market revolution was a more integrated national through a multitude of improved connections.


#4- What were the motivations for and consequences of western expansion?

With the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the American colonies were impeded from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains. This occurred from the result of the French-Indian war which halted economic growth due to the imposition of settlement and war debt. However, with a driving force of purpose and yearning to seize opportunities, the acquisition of land West of the Appalachian Mountains and onward would be inevitable.

American colonists were motivated by the idea that the seizing western land was part of a “destiny”, or divine right to spread across the continent. This idea of righteousness is represented in the 1872 painting, “American Progress” by John Gast, which depicts an angel figure leading settlers westward. In the painting, the figure holds a book and telegraph lines which suggest the expansion of innovation in America. Moreover, there is seen displacing of Native Americans from their land, while a storm clears up indicating the morality of this crusade.

Additionally, it was important to demonstrate and be acknowledged as a global superpower by other countries, such as Britain and France.  As declared by John O’Sullivan in 1845, “The Anglo-Saxon foot is already on its borders. Already the advance guard of the irresistible army of Anglo-Saxon emigration has begun to pour down upon it, armed with the plough and the rifle, and marking its trail with schools and colleges, courts and representative halls, mills and meeting-houses. John O’Sullivan emphasizes the power that will arise from the increasing amount of land, and expansions of technology overtaking and increase productivity in the United States, it would be impossible to undermine the massive impact the United States would have on the world.

However, westward expansion was not an easy process by any means. It required intense travel which disrupted traditional ways of life, environmental destruction, and necessitated war with other countries to secure their territories. As described in 1854 by Amelia Stewart Knight in her diary, “Saturday, April 23rd — Still in camp, it rained hard all night, and blew a hurricane almost. All the tents were blown down, and some wagons capsized. … No place for the poor children,” were some of the conditions that made migrating to the west unpleasant and unbearable. Because travel was restricted to only wagons, and roads did not exist yet, the trips were usually long and horrid, since land had to be paved along the way

Moreover, in 1846 President Polk provoked a war with Mexico in an attempt to annex Texas to the United States. Since Mexico did not recognize Texas’ independence after the Battle of San Jacinto and Capture of Santa Anna in 1836, it saw the United States inclusion of Texas as an intrusion of their land. Several thousand deaths and two years later, the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 confirmed the Texas title to the United States as well as California and New Mexico. The acquisition of these territories, however, proved controversial for Northern states who did not want to disturb the number of slave states and non-slave states in the United States. This resulted in the compromise of 1850, which enforced popular sovereignty as a principle concerning issues of slavery, included a new fugitive slave law, and settled the boundary dispute between Texas and New Mexico. Although the compromise of 1850 did not offer a permanent solution to the issues of slave states, it provided a temporary solution that allowed for the annexation of several states to the United States.

In an effort to stimulate economic development, and promote a sense of virtue, colonist sought to spread across the continent. This lead to the acquisition of new lands, displacing of Native Americans, and new slave laws in the United States.  The westward expansion of the United States would remain important for many years throughout 19th century.


#6- What were the immediate and lasting consequences of war?

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds,” states Abraham Lincoln during his second presidential inaugural address in 1865. In this speech, Lincoln is charged with the task of building up support for a war that threatens the unity of the United States of America. The immediate and lasting consequences of the civil war between the confederate states and the union states were designed to restore and rebuilt a divided country. For the Southern states, it meant a dissolution of their economy, but for the North it meant a restoration of American values.

            In order for restoration to happen in a such a polarized country, it required the Confederate states and the Union states to participate in a full-fledged war. The war began in 1861 with the succession of southern states that felt threatened with the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1860 to be president of the United States. With early victories for the Confederate states in the battles of Fort Sumter and Bull Run, the Union needed to develop a cohesive an effective strategy to contest the South forces. With influence from his key advisors President Lincoln, who was personally anti-slavery, issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1861 in an effort to force Confederate downfall. This strategy was meant to eradicate the south’s economy since slaves would be freed, and encouraged to escape their plantations, increase the number of troops in the union army, while instilling hope in the Union. As a result, nearly 200,000 freed slaves proved a true benefit to help Northern forces gain traction to their fight for liberty for all, as evident by the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg.

            Along with this great number of volunteers fighting for their beliefs, came an immense number of casualties. The material implications of the war were one of the deadliest in American history for its period- with a total of 750,000 deaths, not including an unknown number of civilian causalities that happened as a result of the war. The thousands of deaths were a prerequisite to create change within a divided nation. As a result of the four-year war, in 1865, the ratification of the thirteenth amendment meant the abolishment of slavery. Additionally, the outcome of the war also placed more power to be concentrated by the national government, which gave it an active role in the economy and society.  For example, it lead to the advancement of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendment in 1868 and 1870 that granted equal protection to citizens and the right from African American men the right to vote.

            The civil war was fought to protect the beliefs of many Americans. This was a battle to restore the Union and end the institution of slavery in the United States. The everlasting consequences of the civil war was the incorporation of African Americans into the United states and the abolishment of the institution of slavery.