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Forging the National Economy

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 980
  • Category: Economics

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Life for Americans in the West was very lonely and gruesome due to the lack of social contact because of the surplus amount of land. During the mid-1800’s many immigrants came from German and Ireland to escape the hardships going on in their home but were immediately persecuted by Americans. The Market Revolution from 1790 to 1850 changed the way Americans worked and viewed jobs. Companies sold products to new markets and sold much quicker with the invention of steamboats and railroads. Education was starting to improve teachers were getting paid more, longer school terms and textbooks improved because of Noah Webster and William McGuffey. Women were still expected to stay in the house to attend their husband’s needs. In 1848, in Seneca Falls the Woman’s Rights Convention was held, which was one of the first step towards women’s rights because they wanted gender equality. Seeking medical help was often harmful because of the lack of medical progress but during the 1840’s progress came, doctors used anesthesia instead of tying down patients. During the 1830’s many people believed in transcendentalism which related to self-reliance and inspired many writers like Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

What were settlers of the frontier like?

The average age of Americans who lived on the frontier was about 30 years old. Life was harsh. They started depending on themselves more, which meant they grew their own food and didn’t depend on anyone else. There was so much land that people became isolated resulting in depression and loneliness. Since people rarely saw their neighbors it also resulted in them not being kept up with news. Due to lack of medication, they were vulnerable to diseases. The large quantity of land inspired George Catlin to want to preserve nature and animals so in 1872, national parks were being established.

To what extent was social mobility possible in the United States in the years before the Civil War?

From 1790-1850, America experienced the Market Revolution. They experienced many changes especially in the economy and technology. People no longer had to plant their own food or make their own clothes, there were factories now that they could rely on. People could also start earning wages by working in these factories. Companies could sell their products all over America. The textile mill revolutionized the industry because women began to work in these factories. The cotton gin made it easier for cotton seeds to be picked which made cotton more profitable, increasing the number of enslaved African Americans. Technology advances decreased the time it took for items to ship but also easier for Americans to travel. The creation of railroads helped ship equipment, cargo and even people. The invention of the telegraph improved communication because people could send pulses in minutes instead of sending mail which took days even weeks.

Why were immigrants from Germany and Ireland feared and hated?

During the mid 1800’s, immigrants were coming to America to escape the problems going on in their country. Germans emigrated because Germany had economic and political issues going on. The Irish fled because of the ravages of the potato famine. Americans were starting to feel threatened. They believed the immigrants were stealing their jobs and they didn’t have the same beliefs in politics and religion. Companies started hiring less immigrants. The Know Nothings, a political party that arose because they didn’t want immigrants to have a spot in the political offices or for them to even become citizens. They believed in nativism, which meant they thought natives were inherently better, justifying their hatred toward the immigrants.

Describe the status of women in the first half of the 19th century.

Women in America during the first half of the nineteenth century had very few liberties. Many women avoided marriage because when they were married they couldn’t own their own land. Although in Mississippi, they allowed women to own their own property after marriage. White men above 21 could vote but women could not, let alone have a say in politics. The first woman to graduate from medical college was Dr.Elizabeth Blackwell. Women also started to speak out against slavery started like the Grimke sisters. In 1848, the Woman’s Rights Convention was held at Seneca Falls, New York. There they wrote the Declaration of Sentiments which was a document signed by women that called for gender equality.

What advances were made in the field of education from 1820 to 1850?

In the early years, primary schools usually depended on taxes and used to teach the children of the poor. After a vote, public education became free but still supported by taxes. Schools were usually small and only open for a couple months. Yet education was still a luxury that not many people had. Horace Mann transformed the school systems by calling for higher wages for teachers, better curriculum and longer school periods. In 1860, there were about 100 public secondary schools built. Noah Webster also contributed by creating a dictionary that helped assimilate the American language. William H. McGuffey wrote textbooks on idealism, patriotism and immorality that improved the curriculum.

In what ways did religion in the United States become more liberal and more conservative in the early decades of the 19th century?

In 1850, a majority of Americans still attended church. In Thomas Paine’s pamphlet he exercised the Deism doctrine. Many founding flutters also promoted this doctrine. People who were deists believe reason over supernatural disclosure, science over the Bible and didn’t believe in the holy trinity. During the 1800’s the Second Great Awakening happened which led to religious revivals in the South and more women becoming involved with religion. There would be calm meetings in which many revivals would take place which actually boosted church attendance. Important preachers included Peter Cartwright and Charles Finney. The Unitarian faith also was starting to come to light in which people believed God was just one person and was embraced by many intellectuals.

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