U.S. History
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Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • History
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    Education Standards

    America and the Industrial Revolution 1800-1850

    America and the Industrial Revolution 1800-1850


    In the early years of the nineteenth century, Americans’ endless commercial ambition—what one Baltimore paper in 1815 called an “almost universal ambition to get forward”—remade the nation. Between the Revolution and the Civil War, an old subsistence world died and a new more-commercial nation was born.

    [Image: William James Bennett, View of South Street, from Maiden Lane, New York City, c. 1827, via Metropolitan Museum of New York]

    Learning Objectives

    • Explain ket developments in the national economy, including the rise of business, growth of cities, and changes in federal land policy.
    • Analyze the factors that led to the Panic of 1819, assessing the Panic's impact upon the nation.
    • Identify and describe key developments in transport technology, explaining how they contributed to the formation of a national economy.
    • Describe the process of industrialization in the Northeast, comparing and contrasting the Northeast with other regions in the United States.
    • Identify the sources of labor used by the early textile factories and the Northeast.
    • Describe the development of communications technology, especially the telegraph, and explain how they improved communications on a national level.
    • Identify the formation of social classes, explaining how they developed as a consewuence of industrialization.
    • Describe the people who comprised each level of social class.

    Module Supplemental Readings/Videos




    Glossary of Key Terms

    American System: Henry Clay's three-pronged system to promote American industry. Clay advocated a strong banking system, a protective tariff and a federally funded transportation network.

    artisan: Skilled workers drawn from all levels of society from shoemakers and tailors to silversmiths and furniture makers.

    cotton gin: A machine that sped up the process of harvesting cotton, thus making cotton cultivation more profitable, and increasing the importance of slavery in the South.

    Cumberland Road:  National Road, stretched along 600 miles and was the first federal highway in the United States of America and originally served as the main route to the Northwest Territory.

    Erie Canal: New York state canal that linked Lake Erie to the Hudson River. It lowered shipping costs, and increased the profitability of farming in the Old Northwest.

    Era of Good Feelings: Name for the period of one-party, Democratic-Republican, rule during James Monroe's presidency.

    Liberia: West-African nation founded in 1822 as a haven for freed blacks, fifteen thousand of whom made their way back across the Atlantic by the 1860s.

    McCormick reaper: Mechanized the harvest of grains, such as wheat, allowing farmers to cultivate larger plots.

    market revolution: Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century transformation from a subsistence economy to a national commercial and industrial network.

    Panic of 1819: Severe financial crisis brought on primarily by the efforts of the Bank of the United States to curb over-speculation on western lands, disproportionately affecting the poorer classes, sowing the seeds of Jacksonian Democracy.

    specie: "hard money," typically coinage of gold or silver.

    transportation revolution: Innovations  -- turnpikes, steamboats, canals, and railroads -- that linked local and regional markets, creating a national economy.