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The Revolution and the Civil War

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Between the Revolution and the Civil War, an old subsistence world died and a new more-commercial nation was born. Americans integrated the technologies of the Industrial Revolution into a new commercial economy. Steam power, the technology that moved steamboats and railroads, fueled the rise of American industry by powering mills and sparking new national transportation networks. A “market revolution” remade the nation.More and more farmers grew crops for profit, not self-sufficiency. Vast factories and cities arose in the North. Enormous fortunes materialized. A new middle class erupted. And as more men and women worked in the cash economy, they were freed from the bound dependence of servitude. But there were costs to this revolution. As northern textile factories boomed, the demand for southern cotton swelled, and America’s need for slavery accelerated. Northern subsistence farmers became laborers bound to the whims of markets and bosses. The market revolution sparked explosive economic growth and new personal wealth, but it also created a growing lower class of property-less workers and a series of devastating depressions, called “panics.” Many Americans labored for low wages and became trapped in endless cycles of poverty. Some workers, often immigrant women, worked thirteen hours a day, six days a week. Others labored in slavery. Many people migrated to America because they believed it would give them new and better opportunities. America was fantasized as a place where everyone flourished and lived a wealthy life. But when the immigrants got here, that was evidently not the case. American citizens who had been born in America were often angry with how the immigrants were stealing their jobs. But these jobs were brutally immoral. Women spent hours in factories, children were in mines at young ages instead of being in schools, and men worked extreme hours. All these jobs still did not support the families needs and many of the immigrants who came to America were extremely poor. The Market Revolution made an end to individualism and a beginning to specialization. In other words, America needed immigrant in order to maintain the massive amount of supply and demand of many different products throughout the country. Massive northern textile mills turned southern cotton into cheap cloth. And although northern states washed their hands of slavery, their factories fueled the demand for slave-grown southern cotton and their banks provided the financing



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