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Lecture 12

HIST 2110Y Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: John Quincy Adams, Corrupt Bargain, Missouri Compromise

Course Code
HIST 2110Y
Jeremy Milloy

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December 4, 2013
Capitalism, American Style
*if a word is in capitals it means it is important and could be a short answer question on
the exam*
Many Americans called the victory of Andrew Jackson’s forces over the British at
the Battle of New Orleans in 1814 the “Second American Revolution.”
They were off by a few years.
The real “Second American Revolution” began in the 1820s, with the beginnings
of widespread, large-scale industrial capitalism in the United States.
The coming of capitalism was truly “revolutionary” – it overturned the way
people lived, worked, bought, and sold; where they lived, what their dreams were
On a larger level, it also reshaped America politically, economically, and socially.
It occurred in the 1820s and 1830s, a time of vigorous expansion in America.
In the 1820s is the era of “good feelings” and less conflict in political life
But this expansion came at a major human and social cost, which we will explore
this week and in Week 13.
While America was expanding economically, politically, and in population during
this time, there were also conflicts and contests that arose that foreshadowed
greater conflicts to come.
The Road to Capitalism: Population, Transportation, Urbanization and Corporations (4
important things for capitalism)
The United States population continued to explode in the early 1800s: from 4
million in 1790 to 17 million in 1840 (massive increase in population)
Most of this was due to higher birthrates and health, not immigration (yet – more
in the 1830s, especially from Ireland)
Slaves have a shorter life span, working 16 hours in the fields, their population is
not increasing at the same rate
By 1860 the Americans would have a higher population than Britain for the first
The population also became increasingly URBANIZED, although American was
still mostly rural
Population is moving west (always moving west), they are also moving to cities, 1
in 30 people are living in cities, this grew to 1 in 12 in 1815
In the early 1800s, state governments began building massive canals in order to
get raw materials from the west to the east faster, and manufactured goods east to
Private companies thought building canals was too experience
The success of business depends on the conditions the government places
They built the Erie canal, a triumph of invention, big investment although it paid
off quickly because of the success of it
Erie canal was the first canal, leading them to create many other
Not everywhere had water for canals so they used railroads to move goods
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December 4, 2013
Railroads would compete with and then outstrip canals; the two modes of
transportation helped connect America’s larger populations (bitter completion for
transporting goods and people)
Railroads can be more direct, they don’t need water (can be built pretty much
anywhere), more quicker, can move more goods
Meanwhile, businesses were becoming more sophisticated
Retail stores start developing, before there were only general stores
The rise of the concept of the limited liability CORPORATION meant investors
could pool their money, while only risking their investment, not their entire
fortune, if the corporation went bust
Corporation is when many people pool their resources together
Limited liability started – people investing in companies and they only lose what
they originally invested and not how much the company goes into debt
This also allowed capitalists to avoid responsibility for any crimes or harms the
corporation might commit
Marshall’s court also encouraged capitalism by giving fed government, not states,
power to regulate and direct commerce, and insulating corporations from control
by local governments
Working in the Factory
With a larger population, and thus more possible consumers, better networks to
move goods and workers, and pro-capitalist legal forms, the road was paved for
industrial capitalism
The other crucial ingredient – a landless workforce who needed factory jobs, was
created as Northeastern agriculture became less and less viable, with America
getting its food from the Midwest
In the LOWELL MILLS and other pioneering textile factories were putting large
numbers of families, children, and young women to work
The Lowell Mills were originally paternalistic employers. Concerned about being
perceived as “immoral” they closely supervised their workers’ private lives,
provided decent housing, and paid good wages by the standards of the day
Still the adjustment to the bells, time clocks, fast pace and grueling work of the
industrial world was a challenge and a trauma to many young women
As competition over prices increased in the textile industry, wages, working
conditions got worse
The “mill girls” organized to fight for better conditions and wages, but were
largely unsuccessful
Men had more job options than women, they could travel to find jobs while
women weren’t allowed to travel around by themselves
Employers began replacing native born workers with immigrants, especially from
Ireland, by 1840s Irish workers were the majority in the mills
Native born Americans cared far less about the conditions and welfare of these
immigrant workers
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