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Chapter 9 The Transformation of American Society, 1815-1840.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 9 The Transformation of American Society, 1815-1840."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 9 The Transformation of American Society, 1815-1840

2 Introduction/Questions Economic and social changes that took place in the United States between 1815 and 1840 1.) What caused the upsurge of westward migration after the War of 1812? 2.) How did the rise of the market economy affect where Americans lived and how they made their living? 3.) What caused the rise of industrialization? 4.) What caused urban poverty in this period?

3 Western Expansion The Sweep West – By 1821 the following states were added VT, KY, TN, OH, LA, IN, MS, IL, AL, ME, MO – Between 1790 and 1820 Pioneer families clustered near the navigable rivers – 1820’s and 1830’s With the development of canals and railroads, families could afford to fan out – Tended to settle near others who had come from the same region back east – Settled mostly between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River

4 Western Society and Customs Before 1830, life was crude and difficult Easterners often looked down on westerners’ lack of refinement Westerners in turn resented eastern pretensions to gentility

5 The Far West Adventurous pioneers traveled across the continent – John Jacob Astor (NY) set up a fur-trading post in Oregon “mountain men” like Jedidiah Smith trapped animals

6 The Federal Government and the West Midwestern settlement was encourage by: – Ordinance of 1785 – Northwest Ordinance – Louisiana Purchase – Transcontinental Treaty of 1819 – Land warrants given to War of 1812 veterans – Extension of the National Road into IL by 1838 – Removal and declining strength of the Native Americans (by 1820 were no longer receiving Spanish and British aid)

7 The Removal of the Indians By the 1820’s, the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Seminoles of the South were under heavy pressure to cede their lands to whites The Indian Removal Act – 1830 – Andrew Jackson – Granted the president the power to move all Native American west of the Mississippi River – Could use force if necessary – _removal_act_of_1830.htm _removal_act_of_1830.htm

8 The Removal of the Indians (cont.) The Creeks in GA and AL had already started to migrate by that point – In 1836, the remainder were forced out The Choctaws and Chickasaws suffered a similar fate After losing a war of resistance that lasted from 1835 to 1842, most Seminoles also were expelled from FL

9 The Removal of the Indians (cont.) The Cherokees (the most assimilated of the Indians) appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for protection Chief Justice John Marshall ruled in their favor President Jackson ignored the court “Chief Justice has made his decision, now let him enforce it” Compelled the tribe to cede its land Travel the “Trail of Tears” westward – 4,000 Cherokees died on the trip – 1838-1839

10 The Removal of the Indians (cont.) Black Hawk War – 1832 – The Sac and Fox attempted to keep their lands – Native Americans lost Sac, Fox and other Midwest and Northeast Indians also had to move west of the Mississippi


12 The Agricultural Boom Growth of the population in the old Northwest – The removal of the Indians – the high prices and escalating demand for wheat and corn Growth of the population in the old Southwest – 1793=Eli Whitney’s cotton gin – Boundless need of the British textile industry for raw cotton After the War of 1812 – Southeasterners poured into AL and MS – Drove up land prices – Tripled the nation’s cotton production By 1836, cotton accounted for 2/3’s of America’s foreign exports

13 The Growth of the Market Economy – High crop prices after the War of 1812 tempted more farmers than ever before to switch from subsistence to commercial agriculture. – Commercial agriculture opened new opportunities for western farmers – It also exposed them to greater risks Many had to borrow $$$$ to buy land and to survive until they could sell their first crops Once in debt, the commercial farmers were particularly vulnerable because they had no control over fluctuations in price, supply, and demand in world markets

14 Federal Land Policy Jeffersonian Republicans introduced land policies aimed at a speedy transfer of the public domain to small farmers Between 1800 and 1820 – The govt. cut the minimum price per acre and the minimum # of acres that could be purchased – Most govt. land was sold at auction – Speculators often bid the price up far above the minimum Speculators believed that the price of land would soon shoot up in value – The easy availability of credit encouraged this speculation

15 The Speculator and the Squatter Many poor settlers who did not have the money to buy at auction simply squatted on govt. land They exerted mounting pressure on Congress to grant them preemption rights over speculators They won their demand in 1841 Squatters quickly turned to commercial agriculture They wanted to accumulate the cash to buy their farms Many western farmers, after exhausting the soil’s fertility growing cash crops, simply moved on to new land

16 The Panic of 1819 The land boom soon collapsed and crop and western land prices plummeted Many speculators were ruined in the panic and depression of 1819 National Bank tightened credit and called in the notes of the overextended western banks (many of which failed)

17 The Panic of 1819 (cont.) The hard times experienced by agriculture and industry had long-term effects – Many westerners hated the National Bank Blamed it for the crisis – Western farmers intensified their search for internal improvements that would cut transportation expenses for shipping their product to market


19 The Transportation Revolution: Steamboats, Canals, and Railroads Before 1820, available transportation facilities were unsatisfactory Existing roads were adequate for transporting people, but moving bulky loads over them by horse- drawn wagons was slow and costly Robert Fulton’s steamboat – Allowed the great rivers west of the Appalachian Mountains that flowed north to south became two-way streets for commerce – By 1855, 727 steamboats were providing regular ferry service on all the western rivers

20 Steamboats, Canals, and Railroads (cont.) Rivers did NOT always exist where they were most needed for trade Americans began to build canals in 1820’s Erie Canal – Built between 1817 to 1825 and stretched 363 miles – State of New York constructed it – Connected Albany on the Hudson River with Buffalo on Lake Erie – Lowered freight rates to a fraction of what they had been – Made NYC a leading outlet for Midwestern production

21 Erie Canal

22 Steamboats, Canals, and Railroads (cont.) The Erie Canal’s success encouraged dozens of other state-supported projects The canal-building boom deflated with the depression of the late 1830’s Railroads – By 1840 some 3,000 miles of railroad track had been laid – trains were beginning to supplement and compete with canal shipping

23 The Growth of Cities This transportation revolution stimulated the development of towns and cities River port cities (steamboat) – Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, New Orleans Lake port cities (canals) – Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee The period from 1820 to 1860 saw the most rapid urbanization in American history

24 Industrial Beginnings Introduction – Early industrialization stimulated urbanization – The first cotton mill in the U.S.A. opened in Pawtucket, RI Skilled mechanic Samuel Slater managed to sneak out of Britain and arrived in America with his ability to reproduce Richard Arkwright’s spinning frame Slater’s 1st mill opened in 1790 – Soon joined by many other manufacturing textiles and shoes

25 Introduction (cont.) The rapidity of industrialization varied from region to region – New England leading the way – The South lagged far behind Planters preferred to put their capital in land and slaves Industrialization began to change people’s lives – Forced workers to regulate their labor by the clock and pace of the machine – Downgraded the position of skilled artisans – Cheaper machine-made products were available in greater profusion to working-class Americans

26 Causes of Industrialization Embargo Act of 1807 – Induced merchants barred from foreign trade to divert their capital to founding factories – Transformed from foreign trade to domestic trade After the War of 1812= fledgling industries received protection from high tariffs – Especially in the 1820’s Transportation improvements opened distant markets to manufactures Relatively high wages paid to American workers – Made employers eager to adopt laborsaving techniques – Eli Whitney’s interchangeable parts

27 Textile Towns in New England New England was the 1st region to industrialize – Its merchants were particularly hard hit by foreign trade disruptions – It had swift-flowing rivers for waterpower – It had excess female farm population for labor Textile manufacturing became its leading industry The Waltham and Lowell mills in MA were the first to concentrate on total cloth production within the factory

28 Textile Towns in New England (cont.) Originally 80% of the mill operatives were unmarried young women – Lived in company housing under the strict supervision of management – During the 1830’s, these Lowell women staged 2 of the largest strikes in American history to that date. (1834 and 1836)

29 Lowell “girls”

30 Artisans and Workers in Mid-Atlantic Cities New York City and Philadelphia Shoes, saddles, clothing- Done in small shops as well as factories Much of the work was still done by hand rather than by machine But increasingly production was subdivided into small specialized tasks – Done by low-paid, semiskilled or unskilled laborers (often women) This resulted in a declining importance for skilled artisans – in protest in the late 1820’s, formed trade unions and “workingmen’s” political parties

31 Equality and Inequality Urban Inequality: The Rich and the Poor – The gap between the rich and the poor grew during the 1st half of the 19th century – The extremes were especially obvious in the cities Mansions of the wealthy line the fashionable avenues The poor crowded into noxious slums like New York’s Five Points district – 1833 in Boston=the richest 4% of the population owned almost 60% of the land

32 Urban Inequality: The Rich and the Poor (cont.) Contrary to the self-made man, rages-to-riches myth, 90% of the very wealthy had started out with considerable means At the other end of the scale, cities were developing a pauperized class consisting of aged and infirm; widows; and destitute Irish immigrants, whose labor built the Erie and other canals in the North Americans blamed the poor for being poor treated most with contempt – particularly the Irish, for being poor and Catholic – Free blacks for being poor and black

33 New York’s Five Points District 18271872

34 Free Blacks in the North Overwhelming discrimination kept most free blacks in poverty They were generally denied the vote Educated in inferior segregated schools (if at all) Forced to use separate and unequal facilities Kept out of all but the lowest-paying, least skilled occupations

35 Free Blacks in the North (cont.) In response to this pervasive discrimination, northern blacks founded their own churches – Richard Allen started the first of these African Methodist Episcopal Church In Philadelphia 1816 By 1822, there were AME congregations all over the North The black churches engaged in antislavery activities and ran schools and mutual-aid societies

36 The “Middling Classes” The majority of white Americans were neither rich nor poor Belonged to what was then called the middling classes For most people in that group the standard of living rose between 1800 and 1860 Members of the middle class experienced a lot of insecurity They also exhibited a high degree of transience, moving from neighborhood to neighborhood, city to city, and region to region

37 The Revolution in Social Relationships The Attack on the Professions – One sign that economic changes were disrupting traditional relationships and forms of authority could be seen in the intense criticism of professionals (doctors, lawyers, ministers) between 1820 and 1850 – The denial that professionals had any special expertise was particularly prevalent on the frontier

38 The Challenge to Family Authority Children became more inclined to question parental authority Young men left home at an earlier age and struck out on their own Young women increasingly made their own choice of whom to marry or even whether to marry

39 Wives and Husbands Relations between spouses also were evolving Wives continued to be legally subordinate to their husbands But under the doctrine of separate spheres, middle- class women were demanding and winning greater voice in those areas where they were deemed to be particularly – Exerting moral influence on the family – Creating within the home a calm refuge from the harsh, competitive world outside

40 Wives and Husbands (cont.) Middle-class women gained more control over the frequency of their pregnancies through advances in medicine (Birth control pills will be introduced in 1916) – The size of white middle-class families declined markedly The birthrate remained high among black and immigrant women

41 Horizontal Allegiances & the Rise of Voluntary Associations Authority of fathers, husbands, professionals, and other social “superiors” waned New relationships among persons in similar positions were forged through the proliferation of voluntary associations – Temperance and moral-reform societies of white middle- class women, union, and workingmen’s parties and black fraternal, and other clubs encouraged sociability among members – Also these were attempts to enhance their influence on outside groups

42 Conclusion After 1815, white Americans’ westward movement speeded up due to a heightened European demand for agricultural products – especially cotton Federal govt. policies also hastened western settlement – Removal of eastern Indians to west of the Mississippi River – The sale of land on more generous terms

43 Conclusion (cont.) Improved transportation facilitated the shipment of western farmers’ produce to eastern and European markets – Steamboat, canals, railroads This transportation revolution encouraged the growth of cities, commerce, manufacturing, and industrialization The economic transformations made some American wealthy and impoverished others Affected social relations within the family and society

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