Key Concept 4.2: Developments in technology, agriculture, and commerce precipitated profound changes in U.S. settlement patterns, regional identities, gender and family relations, political power, and distribution of consumer goods.
A global market and communications revolution, influencing and influenced by technological innovations, led to dramatic shifts in the nature of agriculture and manufacturing. (WXT-2) (WXT-5)
Innovations including textile machinery, steam engines, interchangeable parts, canals, railroads, and the telegraph, as well as agricultural inventions, both extended markets and brought efficiency to production for those markets.
• steel plow, mechanical reaper, Samuel Slater
Increasing numbers of Americans, especially women in factories and low-skilled male workers, no longer relied on semi-subsistence agriculture but made their livelihoods producing goods for distant markets, even as some urban entrepreneurs went into finance rather than manufacturing.
Regional economic specialization, especially the demands of cultivating southern cotton, shaped settlement patterns and the national and international economy. (PEO-2) (PEO-3) (WXT-2) (WXT-5) (WXT-6)
Southern cotton furnished the raw material for manufacturing in the Northeast, while the growth in cotton production and trade promoted the development of national economic ties, shaped the international economy, and fueled the internal slave trade.
Despite some governmental and private efforts to create a unified national economy, most notably the American System, the shift to market production linked the North and the Midwest more closely than either was linked to the South.
Efforts to exploit the nation’s natural resources led to government efforts to promote free and forced migration of various American peoples across the continent, as well as to competing ideas about defining and managing labor systems, geographical boundaries, and natural resources.
The economic changes caused by the market revolution had significant effects on migration patterns, gender and family relations, and the distribution of political power. (WXT-2) (WXT-7) (PEO-2) (PEO-3) (ID-5) (ID-6)
With the opening of canals and new roads into the western territories, native-born white citizens relocated westward, relying on new community systems to replace their old family and local relationships.
Migrants from Europe increased the population in the East and the Midwest, forging strong bonds of interdependence between the Northeast and the Old Northwest.
The South remained politically, culturally, and ideologically distinct from the other sections, while continuing to rely on its exports to Europe for economic growth.
The market revolution helped to widen a gap between rich and poor, shaped emerging middle and working classes, and caused an increasing separation between home and workplace, which led to dramatic transformations in gender and in family roles and expectations.