Cotton was a labor-intensive crop, requiring extensive manual labor. Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, however, was able to remove the seeds at high speed. By the 1860s, cotton represented over 50 percent of the total U.S. exports per year. Overproduction of farmland in the east began to drain the soil of necessary nutrients. This coupled with cheap land in the west and the economic panic of 1819 caused many farmers to move west to start over.
The first rail line was created in 1825, and by the 1850s, the railroad would supplant all other forms of shipping of goods to market. As you can see from the maps, vast amounts of railways would be built across the United States by 1860. The emergence of the clipper ships expedited ocean travel by applying American ingenuity to shipbuilding techniques. These ships were able to get perishable goods to markets unimaginable before their creation; during the gold rush of 1849, they kept California markets stocked with products that could not be transported overland. Government investment in improving the infrastructure generated fierce debate in Congress. A precedent set in 1850 established a method for providing land to compensate the companies building rail lines into the interior.
As a member of the mercantilist society of Great Britain, the American colonies were forbidden to develop manufacturing facilities. They were to be concerned only with providing the raw materials the mother country needed for its industrial base. When the American Revolution ended, the United States was well behind the curve in developing this area. What little base existed before Jefferson’s embargo in 1807 was well supplanted by the increase in demand for finished goods. The Lowell system of mills involved placing the entire weaving process under one roof. It was powered by a nearby river.
European turmoil during the first part of the nineteenth century contributed to a major influx of immigrants to the United States. In 1845, an epidemic of potato rot in Ireland resulted in the death of 1 million people. By 1850, 43 percent of the foreign-born population of America were Irish. They would settle in the cities and provide cheap unskilled labor. German immigrants were usually more educated than their Irish counterparts. They tended to move to the interior of the country and establish themselves in communities with other Germans. During this same time period, British citizens continued to immigrate to the United States. By 1869, Scandinavians numbered in excess of 70,000, and the Chinese, settling primarily in California numbered 35,000 by 1860.
Many of the new immigrants in the first half of the nineteenth century were Catholic. This caused Protestant Americans to fear that the nation was at risk of being converted to Catholicism. Unfounded as this would prove, the scare created a surge in nativism, or the fear of all things not American. Another factor in the rise of nativism was the fact that immigrants often competed for jobs with native-born Americans and were willing to accept a lower pay rate.
To help the cause of working men, labor organizations were created in form of trade unions. A few third political parties would specifically represent the working classes, but they found little electoral support. After they disappeared, groups of workers organized under the auspices of the Democrats and worked within that system to get their demands met.
His 121 chapter 12 the dynamics of growth
The Dynamics of GrowthChapter 12
Context• Jacksonian political debate between ideals of democracy and laissez-faire economic policy and federalist nationalism and elitist traditionoccurred in the context of profound changes in American social andeconomic life.• Between 1815 and 1850• United States became a transcontinental power• Industrial Revolution in the North reshaped region’s economy and propelled anunrelenting process of urbanization• West: Commercial agriculture based on surplus of corn, wheat, cattle• South: Cotton is king –expansion and entrenchment of slavery• Technology and transportation• Contestogas• Canals• Steamboats• Railroads
Agriculture and the National Economy• Cotton• Farming the west
The Industrial Revolution• Early textile manufactures• American technology• The Lowell system
Immigration• The Irish• Prolonged depression in Ireland• Most densely populated country in Europe• Average age at death 19• 1850: Irish accounted for 43% of immigrant population in U.S.• Industrial workers• Domestics• Roman Catholics• No Irish Need Apply• The Germans and other immigrants• German Immigration in 1854 = 215,000• 1/3 Roman Catholic; 2/3 Protestant (mostly Lutheran)• Rural settlements; family immigration• Farmers. Shopkeepers, skilled workers• Other Immigrant groups• English• Scandinavia• Chinese
Immigration• Nativism• Fear of immigrants• Fear of Roman Catholic takeover• Lyman Beecher• Congregationalist minister• Anti-immigrant sermons• Violent riots in Cincinnati, Boston, Philadelphia• American Party• Know-Nothings• Never vote for a foreign born or Roman Catholic Candidate• Mid-term Elections of 1854: swept legislatures in New England, New York and Maryland• Exclusion of immigrants and Roman Catholics from holding elected office• Extension of naturalization period from 5 to 21 years• Immigrant labor
Organized Labor• Early unions• ―Combination to raise wages‖ illegal• Commonwealth v. Hunt (1842)—forming a trade union is not illegal; workersmay strike if employer hires non-union labor• Labor politics• Local• Workingmen’s parties• February 22, 1860 Shoemaker strike• 25 towns in Massachusetts• 20,000 workers• Wage increased