Chapter 11 - Roark Chapter 11 The Expanding Republic 1815-1840 Notes and Questions for HIS1043 by Rex H Ball Senior Lecturer In the first four

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Roark Chapter 11: The Expanding Republic, 1815-1840 Notes and Questions for HIS1043 by Rex H. Ball, Senior Lecturer In the first four decades of the 18 th century, the U.S. population boomed: 1800 5,308,483 1820 9,638,453 1830 12,866,020 1840 17,069,453 Look at the map on page 237. The transportation system was expanding as fast as the population. Reflect one the settlement patterns during the colonial period—look at pp. 53, 57 and 83. With roads, canals, steamboats, and soon railroads settlement patterns cold break from the river patterns of colonial America. Land that would have been marginal, at best, could contribute to the national wealth through each addition of the transportation system. For those who wanted speed, or access to reliable transportation of goods and service (and people), the changes were welcomed. Land speculators could turn a windfall for themselves, or if they didn’t guess right might suffer losses. For the Indians, the system only meant faster and larger encroachments on their land and way of life. The Chickasaw Indians were prescient calling the steamboat a “fire canoe” and dubbing it an evil omen (Roark 237). On a more poetic level, there were those who mourned the intrusion of the machine in the garden. First the steamboat went plowing the waters of the Mississippi, Ohio, Hudson and other Rivers, belching smoke, sparks and steam as it went, and then came the steam locomotive. The quiet of the forests would never be the same once the machines broke their silence. The system was financed by private investors often with the aid of states through subsidies and monopoly rights. Thus Hamilton’s vision of a diverse economy was taking root, but instead of Federal control and direction, states played a role and individual investors did as well. What was happening? How was it important for the New Nation? What might the maps hint at when you consider the map on page 237? Was this an unbridled good for everyone? What paralleled this and helped enable it? 1
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Banks played a major role. We say earlier that banks grew by a factor of ten during the decade of the 1790’s. That growth continued unabated through the 1830’s with hundreds of banks all over the country. (242) Since the country had no mint, and therefore no currency, the banknotes actually became the country’s currency. In this way they fostered economic growth and commerce, and their loans helped build the nation’s infrastructure, another aid to economic growth. But with no restraint, greedy individuals could inflate the issuance of banknotes. The lack of a national bank from 1811 to 1816 was one such period, and when the 2d Bank of the United States was chartered in 1816 it began to pull in the reins on over extended banks, leading eventually to the panic of 1819. Speculation, over extension, panic, retrenching, recovery, exuberance, speculation, …. would continue through our history. Just recall the tech bubble in 2000. At the same time, the legal structure of the economy was
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This note was uploaded on 05/08/2008 for the course HIS 1043 taught by Professor Rexball during the Spring '08 term at The University of Texas at San Antonio- San Antonio.

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Chapter 11 - Roark Chapter 11 The Expanding Republic 1815-1840 Notes and Questions for HIS1043 by Rex H Ball Senior Lecturer In the first four

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