Market Revolution topic outline


Market Revolution/Transportation Revolution/Commercial Revolution

results in building of roads, steamboats, canals, telegraphs, RRs. Far more state and private money involved than federal. Still vigorous constitutional arguments as to legality of federal government's doing this.

this produces several kinds of cultural change:

--Westward migration and the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, first enunciated in 1845. Because of these revolutions, farmers are now entwined in a web that connects them to the Northeast.

--Southwestern migration and the expansion of slavery, made easier and more attractive by the invention of the cotton gin. Cotton in the 19th century is like oil was in the 20th. Plantations remain more or less as they had been for 200 years, with little infrastructural development.

--in the North, a new factory system (old system had been "outwork," where pieces were made in factories, shipped out to private homes to be worked on, then back to factories) arises. Textile mills dot the Northeast. They spin cotton into textiles, further tying the North and South and entrenching slavery deeper. It creates a new world where there is a split between home and work, or a private sphere and a public sphere.

what role does the government play?

--there is some aid by the federal government, but 10x as much by state governments (eg Erie Canal is state/private creation)

--the really important role is legal. The Supreme Court, under John Marshall, a strong Federalist, makes the kinds of decisions a Federalist would make: pro-competition, pro-business, pro-central government, pro-contracts. This is all built on Marbury v Madison (1803), in which the Court makes itself the third branch of government in an impressive power grab by awarding itself judicial review, the ability to determine whether or not actions of the President and Congress are constitutional. It then uses this power. Marshall (chief justice 1801-35) is one of the two most important Chief Justices. If you're wondering, the other is Earl Warren (1954-71), whom we'll get to next semester.

Can you guess what the Court would decide in each of these decisions?

McCulloch v Maryland (1819)--state of Maryland imposes a big tax on the national bank, which had been rechartered in 1816 (first one, because banks made people nervous, ran 1791-1811. US ran out of money in War of 1812, convincing powerful people that a new bank was necessary), trying to protect local banks. The Bank refuses to pay, saying it is superior to the state bank. Who wins?

Dartmouth v Woodward (1819)--the NH state legislature wants to make Dartmouth a state school, violating its charter from the King of England. Dartmouth's trustees sue, saying this violates their contract. Who wins?

Gibbons v Ogden (1824)--state of NY gives Ogden a monopoly on steamboats ferrying customers between NY/NJ. Gibbons runs two ferries along that route. Ogden sues to stop him, saying the court should respect his state-granted monopoly. Who wins?

Charles River Bridge v Warren Bridge (1837) (not a Marshall decision, but same rules)--Mass. legislature grants the Charles River Bridge Co. a charter to build a bridge and collect tolls for as long as the charter lasts. It grows unpopular, and the state grants a second charter to the Warren Bridge Co., which builds a new bridge very close to the old one that will have no tolls after it pays off the building cost and a certain profit on top of that. CRBC sues WBC, claiming this new bridge violates the property rights granted in their charter. Who wins?


social/intellectual results of all this change and movement

culture of individualism--famously described in Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America and philosophically incarnated in Transcendentalism; also in eating

artisan republicanism--workers in these new factories, many of them Irish/German immigrants, combine work and republican values

Second Great Awakening--what had been a Puritan heresy, the gospel of works (you can get to Heaven through good deeds), is now mainstream doctrine. God loves you and wants you to succeed. You're a "moral free agent" capable of making your own choices, not a miserable wretch like in the First GA. This "resonated with the spread of market values" (336) in that the revivals cropped up especially in places where the Market Revolution had hit. The Second GA stressed hard-work, self-control, and sobriety, all of which would lead to success in commercial society. Mormonism is the most long-lasting Second GA religion. It involves continuous revelation from God, self-control (no alcohol or caffeine), a focus on the family (including polygamy, which the church receives a revelation about that ends the practice and allows Utah to join the US), and openness to anyone. Practices like Fletcherism and inventions like Graham Crackers are part of this as well.


free African-Americans were often excluded, forced to live in bad parts of cities, and banned from most public facilities. They built their own institutions, churches, and schools. But they also suffered downward mobility, with some still indentured servants and slavery surviving in the North in some places until the 1830s. They are also barred from buying public land, and several western states deny them the right to move there at all.

women are now generally contained in the private sphere. Republican motherhood, where women could at least raise the next generation of stalwart democrats, evolves into the Cult of Domesticity, where women's job is to be peaceful, private, and moral (see p.33). Middle-class women should not sully themselves by going out ("streetwalker' is an old term for prostitute) and certainly not by voting. Working-class immigrants can get jobs in mills, but they still dream of finding a man and settling down.

some workers argue that Artisan Republicanism is not enough, and that they need to recognize their status as workers and organize unions to advocate for their rights.