0115 966 7955 Today's Opening Times 10:30 - 17:00 (BST)

The Market Revolution In America History Essay


Disclaimer: This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

The market revolution was discovered in the 19th century marking the most significant change in American communities. Market revolution was everything but colossal. In the American communities it had a pervasive and deep impact and for people to fully appreciate its effects there is need for evaluation of several perspectives. One sign of market revolution on economic impact was the rise of Wall Street and the New York City which was more general as the center for banking and finance in the young republic. Market revolution is associated with the concept of liberty which is a timely approach given to current emphasis of communities on extension of democracy and free markets. Market revolution is a series of corresponding views like exploitation, liberty as pioneering, innovation and contradiction which refers to the intertwined relationship which meant freedom for some and slavery for other people. Market revolution was criticized by some people but regardless of the critics, it was a significant step towards establishing a strong and stable economy in United States which allowed a room for growth among individuals and the nation. Transportation revolution mostly in the North increased purchase of goods which were produced in the factories and workshops bringing about market revolution.[1]

According to William, 2006 during that time, entrepreneurial spirits influenced settlers in the trans-Appalachian west and craftsmen in the Philadelphia as it affected factory in the Massachusetts, Lowell and clockmakers in Connecticut. Nor was the immune in South to attitudes and impulses which helped kind of development for slavery on woven into economic fabric of the early United States. According to Larson, the development for some states was excruciating for others like Native Americans whose lands settlers coveted or individuals who experienced fast revolution in the workplace. He argued that, the first lesson was from the issue of the complexity. The format was not normal, as it had four lesson plans which rolled to one in a sense. Civil war gives a convenient line of demarcation between market revolution of the first half century and fast industrialization which shaped the second half forcefully.[2]

According to Larson, 2009 the market revolution was at the same time the social transformation which took place in the United States economy which evolved into a market economy. There were new inventions and infrastructure which made it much easier to transport goods to the state. The West, North and south was revitalized by the Eli Whitney's cotton gin and the system f interchangeable parts. Cyrus McCormick's who was a mechanical mower-reaper revolutionized production of wheat in the West enabling farmers to send their surplus crops the northern industrial cities. During the market revolution there are various events which took place. There was invention of cotton gin by Eli Whitney, he also invented interchangeable firearms parts, and Robert Fulton invented the steamboat, in Massachusetts Lowell Mill was opened. There was completion of the Erie Canal and appearance of the first U.S railroad. Mechanical mower-reaper National Trade Union forms was invented by Cyrus McCormick. There was invention of telegraph, completion of Cumberland road. In Massachusetts, there was legalization of labor unions.[3]

The market revolution was the antebellum period which was not only a time of profound political change but a great economic and technological innovation. The Industrial Revolution which started in Europe in 1700s produced new invention and techniques of production. American inventors changed the economy of United States with new innovations of their own. This fast progress of manufacturing and enhanced farming had such an intense impact on the American community in which is referred by historians as the Market Revolution. Market revolution had a drastic change in United States in the system of manual labor from South and later spread to the whole world. This made traditional commerce old-fashioned by improving on communication and transportation. This transformation prompted the rebirth of the mercantilist ideas which were thought to have died out. This was as a result of the increased industrialization like invention of Eli Whitney of the cotton gin. Due to revolution, isolation was dominant and North America was left waiting to ignite into the Civil War. The north started having an economy which was more powerful thus started challenging economies of the European cities which were mid-sized during that time.[4]

Martin 2005 argued that, after the war of 1812, American economy was transformed from a partly dependent economy on imports from Europe to an economy which developed into empire of domestic commerce. Continued policies of the Republicans started during the administration of the Jefferson. With the new generation of leaders in the Republican Party, there came an embrace of the principles of government activism and growth of large scale domestic manufacturing. Regardless of all the promises which characterized the United States, differences emerged on treatment of the ideas, survival of slavery, worsening of some urban areas, and obsession for rumors. The nation of United States was not just growing through the extra land, but the population shifts brought about evolution of new states to the Union and after petition of the Missouri for statehood in 1819, slavery issue was pushed to national agenda. According to Thomas Jefferson, the issue awakened him "like a fire bell in the night." By 1820's, Americans realized a rough regional specialty, in the south there was plantation style of agricultural export, in the north they had trade and business, and border line in west. These regions were mutually dependent but in that time their differences were more obvious, significant and increasingly more irreconcilable.[5]

Market revolution was termed as the transition from producer culture to consumer culture. The producer culture had high lands. There was rapid population growth and urbanization. Technology was incorporated in the companies in United States; there was also internal improvement in roads, railroads and canals. There emerged judicial nationalism which favored entrepreneurs, bankers, creditors and federal government over farmers, debtors, workers and state. Consumer culture started during 19th century until now. Craftsmen and farmers went into debt for expansion of finance through economic dependence, dilution of skills, competition, separation of work and home, devaluation of women's labor and democracy appearances.[6]

According to Seller, development of capitalism in the early history of America was restricted by high cost of wage labor. Settlers demonstrated different preference for self-employment on feudalism or capitalism. There was cheap land which was virtually free at first. It was not only made the mass important but imposed a restriction on wealth by making labor expensive. Farm ownership was readily available with Euro/Americans not able to work for others except briefly and at high wages. Few years of high wages financed enough on cheap land making comfort and independence unbelievable to the Europeans who were poor. With high wages, farmers had to pay, with limited production regardless of the size of the land. With rising of European immigrants to an exhilarating well-being of the rural, the ratio of land to person was further inhibited. The resulting community of roughly equal landowning families was the seedbed of republicanism of American. Seller realized the tension due to the coexistence of different class procedures, mainly on capitalism and self-employment but in various ways collapsing these two facts: self employment equals available land. Seller confused market with capitalism. Markets existence is a condition of capitalism existence. Under different situations, market can be a condition for the existence of self employment, feudalism or slavery. In other words, it is problematic to witness rise in market exchange as necessarily leading to problems of self-employment and rise of capitalism.[7]

Seller argued that, growth in export markets may have encouraged growth in self-employment making it possible for sufficient flow of cash from employment making a viable option for wage laboring. If market revolution coincides with fast increase in capitalism, then there is need to sketch out more complicated picture of how that process came into being. This simply showed how markets expansion was not enough. According to him, intense cultural differences come from the different forms of production. Market encouraged competitive pursuit and individualism of wealth through open-ended production of commodity values which could have been accumulated as money. Rural production using values terminated after bodies were clothed and sheltered with provision of bellies. Surplus production had no money value or abstract thus no accumulation of wealth. Therefore subsistence culture encouraged family obligation, reproduction over generation, communal cooperation.[8]

Sellers stated that, the market is not a form of production but where exchanges of commodities for money take place. In the presence of market, many forms of production are shaped. Instead of combining social and natural processes, market exchange can be a condition of existence of certain kind of production just like the availability of land. Sellers make the point that, the growth in market exchange had an important impact on American culture, politics and economics. It is not correct to assume that this is the same as decrease in certain production relationships and rise of others. The dualistic framework of Seller doesn't allow him to understand the difficulty of polity of indigenous society and communal economy. Seller wants to create a dualistic idea of social existence; he downplays clear evidence that subsistence culture of the rural America is really not about subsistence but instead a more complex and includes market exchange.[9]

During this time, there was modernization of the American North from 1820 to 1850. Growth of American industry, urbanization, transportation revolution, Irish and German immigration and the effect of urbanization and industrialization on the distribution of society inequality and wealth in America were prominent. Changes in American society were answered with rise in reform movements, tentative utopian societies, and the role of women in the society and start of movements of women's rights. In the market revolution, historians like Seller uses information wealth to argue on capitalist revolution in America which affected every corner of the burgeoning state. The market revolution was heavily influenced by ideals of Marxist and an inherent distrust on the bourgeoisie and elite classes in the American society. For cultural changes during the market revolution, the market pervaded all aspects of life in the growing America. The capitalistic revolution was the change from use of value world permeated by common attaches and God's daily incidence to market world which took aggressive personality of human nature and reasonableness for exposure.[10]

According to Shipman, 1999 even religion was altered by the market revolution to fit to its goals as many required fantasies of unselfishness and work out in compassion to authorize their pursuit of capitalist wealth. The capitalistic market impacted on the legal system. There was formation of legal system in favor of capitalistic elites to detriment the lower or farming classes. The adversary system trained legal advocates to practice and preach on the emerging market. Democracy in America is believed to have been saved by Andrew Jackson. Jackson gathered democracy to defend patriarchal independence, equality and therefore honor against capitalist activists. The market revolution competently works a study on the early 19th century social, economic and cultural changes into more traditional account of evolution and origin of Jacksonian politics. The rapid and victory disintegration of republicanism after 1815, the outbreak of popular politics, the dissatisfaction spread by economic crisis of the 1819 and consequent appearance of the independent revolution focused on application of Andrew Jackson.[11]

Larson, 2009 argued that, the main idea of the market revolution was the economic and invention progress in the early 19th century helping in transformation of American society. The market revolution is important today because with free enterprise system which took hold during that era still drive the economy of the nation today. Transformations like those brought by Erie Canal led to enormous economic changes in the first half of the 19th century in the United States. During this era, which is known as market evolution, people increasingly bought and sold goods instead of making them for themselves. There was expansion of United States markets for few decades, buying and selling multiplied while incomes rose. In the 1840s, there was rapid national economic growth more than it had in the first 40 years during that century. The hastening rapidity of the United States economic growth agrees for free enterprises. This is the freedom of private businesses to function aggressive for profit with little government laws. In search for profit and businessmen known as entrepreneurs, they invested their own money in the new industries. Entrepreneurs jeopardized losing their savings incase a business enterprise failed, but they also stood to earn large profits incase it succeeded.[12]

There were major improvements and inventions during that time. Inventors-entrepreneurs began to establish goods to make their life more comfortable for more people. While some development basically made life more pleasurable, others fueled economic revolution and changed transportation, manufacturing and communication. New communication connections started to put people into direct contact with one another. Telegraph was patented which was used to send messages in just a matter of seconds. Businesses used new communication device to broadcast orders and communicate up-to-date information on prices and sales. Telegraph was employed by the new railroads to keep trains moving constantly and to warn engineers of the safety hazards. For the moment, better transportation systems enhanced movement of goods and people. A steamboat was ushered by Robert Fulton. Water transport was mainly significant in transporting raw materials like copper, lead and heavy machinery. Where there existed no waterways, Americans made them by constructing canals. By 1840s, America possessed more than 3, 300 miles of canals. Canals, however, immediately graved a way to railroads, which gave significant benefit of speed as well as winter travel. Steam-powered locomotives which were developed in England in the early 1800s started operating in United States in 1830s. By 1850, across the United States, there was over 9, 000 miles of track was had been laid.[13]

Stokes and Conway, 1996 argued that, the market revolution transformed the nation. Although many Americans during that time lived in rural areas and only 14% of the jobs in the manufacturing industry, these workers produced better and more goods at lower prices than ever before. Many of the goods were affordable for all ordinary Americans, and developments in transportation enabled many people to buy items manufactured in far areas. During 1840s, improved communication and transportation also enable regions in America more independent. Steamboats went up as well as down the Mississippi, connecting north to South. The Erie Canal and finally railroads and telegraphs wires soon connected West and the East. There was heavy venture in railroads and canals transforming the Northeast into the center of American commerce. As the Northeast started to industrialize, many people moved away to farm the fertile land of the Midwest. People used new machines like the "John Deere steel plow, for cultivating the tough prairie sod, and Cyrus McCormick's reaper for harvesting grains". During that time, most of south region remained in agriculture and they depended on crops like tobacco, cotton and rice. The new market economy in United States not only affected what people sold and bought, but also transformed the ways in which Americans worked.[14]

According to Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008 by mid-19th century, there were new machines which enabled unskilled workers to do tasks which once had taken the efforts of those artisans who were trained. To perform this work, workers required factories. In the 1820s, entrepreneurs constructed various large textile mills in the Lowell Massachusetts. This mill soon became a thriving venture. Many people, mainly women, left family farms to find collar jobs in the mill. Owners of the mill sought for women employees because women offered a sufficient source of labor and owners were able to pay lower wages to women than men. Those girls in the mills, though, textile work offered a better pay than their main options such as sewing, teaching and domestic workers. Before a long time, the condition of the job worsened with workdays at Lowell being more than twelve hours long. In addition, the mills were frequently dark, cramped and hot. Owners of the factory had little sympathy for the workers' troubles. In mid 1840s one of the mill managers said that he viewed his workpeople just like he viewed his machinery. Workers had to seek better working conditions. As the industry grew, strikes started to break out after workers protested for poor working conditions and for low wages.[15]

In 1834, workers strike after a 15% wage cut. Immigration increased mainly with Europeans who left the state settling in another. Immigration dramatically increased in United States between 1830 and 1860. Between 1845 and 1854, nearly three million immigrants increased the population. More than 1 million of the immigrants were Irish who moved from their home after a disease on potatoes causing a Great Potato Famine which led to starvation. Immigrants from Irish faced chauvinism, both because they were poor and Roman Catholic. By being frightened by the accusation of the Catholic conspiracy to take over in the states, they were constantly harassed by Protestants. Other workers disliked the Irish because of their motivation to work as cheap labor and enthusiasm which made them more attractive to employers. There was emergence of national trade's union in the course of the growing unrest on labor in the 1830s. The trade union in various towns started to join together to extent their power. The national trade union movement faced violent resistance from owners and bankers. In addition, efforts of the workers to organize were at first hindered by court decisions which declared strikes illegal. Workplace was not only the place of American life which had unrest in mid 19th century. There was in deed a series of social and religious reforms movements which went hand in hand with economic changes.[16]

The market revolution brought about vast changes in the American economy, as well as American religion. There was recolutionization of common theology by the changes in popular eschatology and soteriology. Many people understood and accepted various views based on their economic and social status. During the market revolution there are two main views on eschatology postmillennialism and premillennialism. Premillennialism is the belief that the end times were much like the Revelation of John and aggressive destruction which will occur before thousands years when God takes control on the earth. Most people who give to the theory were of lower and working classes which were bitter on the upper classes and expected an end in which those who treasured their money would meet aggressive and as Jesus preach the Sermon on the Mount. Postmillennialism was a belief that, through increased economic development and hard work, the world would gradually enter into the millennium of God's power free of any destruction. Most people who gave to the theory were of the upper class and they anticipated for their wealth benefiting themselves and the rest of the world to the rest of time. There were many changes in soteriology came about in the democratic sector which vered from Calvinist destiny.[17]

Democracy spread in many regions and in various church aspects. In the cities many people favored market revolution and they embraced postmillennial aschatology. Many people in the rural areas supported premillenial eschatology and were against market revolution. Developments made during the market revolution impacted on the Second Great Awakening greatly. Many of the new view of the period have survived the test of the time and it will be likely to survive long in the future. These changes indicate the direct link between how people think and the framework of his social, political and economic world. During this time United States changed at an unprecedented rate. It was not just machinery and gadgets. Large numbers of the people seemed to enter into the new, less had communal relationships with one another with more and more people becoming used to and reliant on money economy. Cheaper transportation extended markets in both farms produce and insincere goods and escalating markets encouraged more venture on enhanced transportation. The first factories which appeared, which manufactured cheaper goods available to more buyers but also changed the nature of the work did by many people.[18]

Transformation made both losers and winners and one's economic fortune which seemed to many people to have less and less to do with old ideas of personal good value. In slight ways, relationships within the family changed, between children and parents and between wives and husbands. With the coming of cotton, there was a vast expansion of slavery in both geographic relocation and population. Slavery ceased to be that important evil and for many Southerners it became positive good. Europeans continued arriving in United States as volunteers, looking for a chance mainly the land. America's rising charisma to Europeans brought the large numbers of German, Catholics and Irish. "The state was on the move, down the Ohio, up the Potomac, through the Mohawk valley, into the southwest, then the farther west all the way to California and Oregon." Two inventions moved from worrying on keeping open the port at New Orleans to statehood of California. This period must have been exciting and amazing. The Spanish and Indians speakers in the west were not so sure. This in turn changed the way people looked at things. From useful objects into commodities with prices attached them. Apart from the case of slavery, among other things, there was show off of price tags with human labor.[19]

At the start of the 19th century, United States was still mainly an agrarian state. Agriculture dominated the lives of people whether they were small farmers and large planters. Most small farmers practiced subsistence farming making whatever was required for their families and for themselves. Because the shipment of goods was time consuming and costly, only farmers near the ports grew cash crops. The market revolution expanded out of this primordial economic system. Before the market revolution, transportation revolution developed a trade passage which steadily changed the culture of subsistence farming. The population in the countryside included a growing level of agricultural laborers who like their counterparts in the urban, they worked for wages. To the level that market revolution got through to the countryside, however, with cash crops like cotton and tobacco, those who did not own any land they could frequently rent it. Those tenant farmers may rent the land through the shares of the crops or by paying the landowner in money. But even though the production process involved several combinations of barter, cash, and sharecropping, the whole system rested on the fact that, the crops was finally sold in the market. Otherwise, there would have been no reason to grow crops past what was required for subsistence.[20]

Larson, 2009 stated that, the market revolution completely revolutionized lives which were touched. The transformations it created it even extended to the religious susceptibility expressed by people whose lives were interrupted by the market revolution. Echoing many Americans anxiety on basis of speculative and financial aspects of market revolution was the depression and fear of slave population of the South in face of demand on their labor to provide for the cotton-based industrial insurgency in England and textile producing mill town of the Northeastern United States. Development of slaver labor was based on rice, cotton, tobacco as cash crops. This needed market revolution and the change of subsistence agriculture into agriculture of cash-crop. The market revolution was the course of a long term impact. There were also short term impacts which were both negative and positive. This created opportunities to better lives and increased on the interdependence among the citizens and start of various boom-and-bust series. All the events had an important impact on economic structure of today. Just like all revolutions, there were supporters and critics by Southern United States and Thomas Jefferson on change to market economy. Regardless of the critics, market revolution was an important step towards establishment of stable economy which enabled much room for growth among individuals and the state. [21]


The market revolution in the early 19th century was an integral part of development in United States into the state which exists today. The market revolution was simply a change from subsistence economy or barter economy to use of money to selling and buying of things. With the new changes, United States took its first step in forming the world's most stable and strongest economy. The market revolution also changed culture and religious life in United States in the era between the Revolution and the Civil War. What was rural and a traditional society was undergoing an intense transformation. The market revolution speeded up transformation. It brought about anxiety and uncertainty and it induced the thinly reserved uncertainty in the evangelical Protestantism. People moved they lost jobs with slave families being broken up as the men being shipped off to new and more fertile plantations along the Mississippi River. The market revolution degraded trade as several kinds of capitalist enterprise found cheaper means of producing goods which were formerly made by the artisan class. Women who had made candles or homespun clothes that the family had worn, they now worn and purchased those items in the crossroad store. People were losing their roles and feeling of equality with men being offered with shoulder-to-shoulder labor for subsistence farming.

  • Byrne Kevin, Perspectives on the Market Revolution, http://www.oah.org/pubs/magazine/marketrev/byrne.html (accessed December 1, 2009)
  • Larson, John, the Market Revolution in America, Cambridge University Press, 2009
  • Martin Scott, Cultural Change and the Market Revolution in America, 1789-1860, Rowman & Littlefield, 2005
  • Seller Charles, the Market Revolution: Jacksonian America 1815-1846, New York: Oxford University Press, 1991
  • Shipman Alan, The market revolution and its limits: a price for everything, Routledge, 1999
  • Shmoop Editorial Team,"Market Revolution."Shmoop University, Inc. 11 November 2008. http://www.shmoop.com/market-revolution/(accessed December 1, 2009)
  • Stokes Melvyn & Conway Stephen, The market revolution in America: social, political and religious expression, 1800-1880, University Press of Virginia, 1996
  • Williams Pencak 1951-, "Cultural Change and the Market Revolution in America, 1789-1860, And: Marketplace of revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence," Journal of the Early Republic, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2006, pp. 498-502

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Request Removal

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have the essay published on the UK Essays website then please click on the link below to request removal:

More from UK Essays

We can help with your essay
Find out more
Build Time: 0.0036 Seconds