The tariffs to protect their businesses from foreign
The economics of 19th century in America brought many new industries and hardships. America started to embrace the idea of a market economy, the concept of moving away from smaller, domestic trades to a more national, industrial system of commerce and economics. (Cohen, Kennedy) The start of the Industrial Revolution, new inventions or discoveries, new infrastructure, king cotton, slaves, agriculture, the California Gold Rush, and periods of economic recession all contributed to the growth and setbacks in the economy of the United States. The economy was starting to thrive due to these new industries, but became sectional. The North, South, and West each had their own areas of growth, recession, and solutions or contributions to these economically difficult times. The sectional industry of the time ruled the economy. While the Northern states did experience some periods of panic and economic struggle, they also found new hope in the start of the Industrial Revolution. The Panic of 1819 was caused by the Second Bank of the United States enforcing stricter rules on credit. This caused many smaller banks to crash which led to the foreclosures of many smaller farms due to the farmers not being able to pay because the banks could not give out credit. Widespread unemployment and poverty prevailed throughout the country. The North, finding a new industry in manufacturing, responded by proposing higher tariffs to protect their businesses from foreign competition, which did not appeal to the South due to the fact that they only consumed manufactured goods, not produced them. (United States History) The North came across the new textile and wool industry in the 1820s which moved people off of small farms and into urban jobs. This illustrates the new idea of a market economy of the time, because people were not producing for themselves, they were working for wages in order to produce for the country. The British had found ways to mass produce textiles in a factory-like system that spread to America which easily adopted it due to land being cheap and readily available, and the abundance of immigrants. These factories came to be operational and efficient due to inventions such as the telegraph by Samuel F. B. Morse (1844), the sewing machine by Elias Howe (1846), and interchangeable parts by Eli Whitney (1850). (Cohen, Kennedy) Working conditions and wages in these factories were less than ideal. Often times, these “wage slaves” that worked there pulled twelve hour plus days, and were paid minimal wages, barely enough to keep them alive. These unclean factories were often poorly lit, poorly heated, and had no access to fresh air. Not only were these working conditions horrendous, the workers were not even allowed to band together to form labor unions. Southerners also argued that slavery was no worse than the Northerners trapping the wage slaves in their factories. Women in the economy occasionally worked in the factories. Known as “factory girls” these women would work long hard days six days a week just like the male workers. These girls, such as the Lowell Girls of a Boston textile mill, were shown off to investors and guests, taken to church, and were closely supervised. Similarly to the idea of Republican Motherhood, most women took on the roles of wives, mothers, homemakers, teachers, and nurses, known at the time as the Cult of Domesticity. (Cohen, Kennedy) New infrastructure allowed Northern goods to be more easily advertised and transported to the other parts of the country. Canals, highways, the steam boat, and of course, the railroad, allowed for the ease of access to areas that were never even thought of to be previously reachable. Failed investments in these new systems of transportation, particularly the railroad, contributed to the Economic Panic of 1873 which America eventually overcame. In conclusion, the Northern economy definitely started to take root in the Industrial Revolution, even through times of economic lows. The Southern economy of the nineteenth century was mainly characterized by the cotton industry, slavery, and the resentment of tariffs, especially those that favored the North. Cotton was king in American economics of the time due to the invention of the Cotton Gin, a machine that easily removed the seeds from the cotton, by Eli Whitney in 1794. (History.com Staff) Cotton made up about 67% of all American exports by 1840, causing 80% of all British cotton to be from American farms. (Ancestry) The economy of the South started to not only to revolve around cotton, but began to rely on it. This large demand for cotton caused a greater demand for labor, and the cotton industry being in the South, caused a greater demand for slaves. This new demand for slaves eventually led to the Southern economy being tied up in $4,000,000 worth of slaves and the South being hostile to the idea of abolition. The Southerner’s economy was so heavily influenced by slavery, that they argued that if slavery was abolished, then the South would experience an economic crash much more devastating than the ones occurring at the time. (Cohen, Kennedy) Such a period of economic depression occurred with the Panic of 1819 which was caused by a crash in the banking system. Consequently, the North to called for a stricter protective tariff to secure their own industries; however, Southerners resisted this new tariff because they were now forced to pay more for their imported goods that they could not produce like the North was able to. The South accused this legislation of being discriminatory against them and favoring the Northern economy. This caused sectional hostility, anti-tariff campaigns, and the tariff to earn the nickname “The Tariff of Abominations” or “The Black Tariff”. (United States History) “King Cotton” was definitely the economic driving force of the South, but not without slavery and the presence of Southern hostility to Northern taxes. The economy of the West was largely shaped by farming, the Gold Rush, and financial struggle. Farming conditions in the West were less than ideal. Most Americans moved West to farm corn and raise hogs because land was cheap, not knowing the quality of the land or soil. The soil was thick and full of roots which made a lot of people’s plows break and snap. This all changed with the invention of the steel plow by John Deere in 1837, and the McCormick Reaper by Cyrus McCormick in the 1830s. (Cohen, Kennedy) These machines were easily used with horses which efficiently tilled soil and reaped crops, much more efficient than than all of their previous methods done by hand. This push in agriculture often times exhausted the soil and the land so the farmers left their land and moved on to better land. Along with farming, Americans in the West also made a living by trapping and the fur trade. This drove some species and animals almost to extinction. Wearing out the soil, killing too many animals, and simply over using the natural resources of the land of the time was referred to as ecological imperialism. The following years brought the Panic of 1837. This was another crash in the banking system and the failure by the government to print enough money for the amount of trade that was occurring at the time. (Armstrong) This caused the price of gold to rise dramatically until the California Gold Rush. The California Gold Rush of 1849 began with the discovery of gold near the Sacramento Valley. This led to over 100,000 new people in California, hoping to strike it rich in gold. Throughout the Gold Rush, roughly $2 billion of gold or 750,000 pounds were mined from California. (History.com Staff) This new industry was arguably just as important as the new industrial revolution. The California Gold Rush certainly helped during the Financial Crash of 1857 because people all rushed to their banks to pull out their money, but were given gold instead. (Kennedy) The western economy was built around farming and gold, and was hit by financial recession. The economics of 19th century America were filled with prosperity and struggle due to new regional industries in the North, South, and West, and times of economic recession due to panics, bank crashes, and conflict. The Industrial Revolution, corn, and wheat dominated the Northern economy, cotton and slavery ruled the Southern economy, and corn, farms, and gold drove the Western economy. All of these industries were due to new inventions, ideas, and discoveries. The American economy from 1800-1877 was certainly sectional but thriving while encountering some hardships, but proved to be resilient throughout these times.