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steel plow. South – after 1800, the South shifted from a more
diverse agriculture to one based almost entirely
on cotton. This was due to Eli Whitney’s
invention of the cotton gin in 1793, which
separated short-staple [the easy to grow kind]
cotton from its seeds efficiently. Although the
South was in internat’l markets, it remained a rural
society, w/most of the wealth in land and slaves,
and couldn’t shift to manufacturing or commerce
[business decisions made in North].
- Overall, specialization benefited many, but also made it
more difficult for farmers to start up [high land prices] and
therefore increased the # of tenant farmers.
*Sectors of the Market Economy: The Rise of
Manufacturing and Commerce*
- American production began with copies of British or
other European designs, but before long Americans were
creating their own machines [ex. Matthew Baldwin,
steam locomotives, by 1840 exported internat’lly].
- The American System of Manufacturing was created,
which involved using precision machinery to produce
interchangeable parts that didn’t require adjustment to fit.
Eli Whitney promoted the system in 1798 w/respect to
rifles, and by the 1820s the US had contracts w/firms to
produce machine made firearms. The system soon
spread to mainstream manufactures, leading to an
outpouring of consumer goods.
- But the biggest industry was without a doubt textiles,
which had been helped by the embargo, war, and the
88 expansion of cotton cultivation. The big innovation was
machine-spun textiles in mills, a system that especially
took hold in NE [Lowell, Massachusetts].
- Mass produced textiles led to the ready-made clothing
industry [by 1820s/1830s most clothing was mass
produced], either via factories or by the putting-out
system, and retail clothing stores appeared in the 1820s.
- The expansion of manufacturing directly encouraged a
rise in commerce – agents began to specialize in finance
alone [cotton brokers, corn brokers, etc.] and general
merchants declined, remaining more in rural areas than
- Esp. in large northeastern commercial cities, merch...
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- Fall '10