Antebellum America: Economy Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Antebellum America: Economy Deck (36):
1

_____ _____ invented the steamboat, revolutionizing travel on the nation's waterways.

Robert Fulton

Fulton's invention made it possible for farmers in the West to get their products to Eastern ports inexpensively and quickly, and for manufacturers to get their goods to the West.

2

Eli Whitney's invention of the _____ _____ made it economical to use cotton to manufacture clothes.

cotton gin

Short for "engine," the gin automatically separated cotton fibers from cotton seed, and greatly sped up the production of cotton. The gin made slavery more profitable, allowed cotton to replace wool as the dominant material in clothing, and revolutionized the Southern economy. Though created in 1793, it was not validated until 1807.

3

What was the major source of power for the earliest American factories?

water power

Early factories were located by rivers and water power was used to operate the mills. Water mills were especially useful in early textile mills.

4

What change in business law in the early 1820s revolutionized the way in which companies raised capital?

In the early 1820s, New York permitted the formation of corporations. A corporation allows many individuals to purchase a percentage of ownership (known as a share). 

By allowing companies to issue stock to raise funds, corporations were able to invest capital in property, plants, and equipment, speeding the growth of manufacturing.

5

The earliest factories were labor intensive, and consequently suffered from severe manpower shortages. How did they make up for these shortfalls?

Several factories hired women, some of whom worked in the Lowell System, where workers lived and labored at the factory. Children as young as seven were employed throughout the Northeast.

Both groups were later supplanted by the influx of immigrants in the 1830s and 1840s, most of whom were German and Irish.

6

How did new farming innovations such as Cyrus McCormick's reaper and John Deere's plow fuel the growth of urban centers?

New farming implements (and larger farms in the American West) meant that for the first time, farmers were able to produce surplus goods, beyond merely what they needed to sustain themselves and their families.

These surplus goods were shipped to the new urban centers that were springing up along canals and railroads.

7

Why did the new states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas experience an influx of Southerners from other states?

Much of the farmland in areas such as Georgia and South Carolina had been exhausted by years of cotton farming and poor crop management. The lands in these new states proved fertile and ideal for cotton growing.

The new arrivals typically brought their slaves with them, and the price for field slaves doubled between 1825 and 1845.

8

sectionalism

Sectionalism is having excessive interest in one's own local region over the country as a whole.

Beginning in the 1820s, the interests of the sections of the country began to diverge. For example, the South resented the Tariff of Abominations, which was being used to fund improvements such as roads and canals in the West. Meanwhile, Westerners did not like the Bank of the United States, which they felt was being used by Northern merchants to enhance their wealth.

9

Roughly speaking, what were the three main sections of the country during the Antebellum Period?

The three main sections of the country were the North, the South, and the West. The West was generally considered anything beyond the Mississippi River. 

10

In Antebellum America, which section of the country saw the largest influx of immigrants?

Most immigrants settled in the American North.

While Irish immigrants remained in many of the urban centers on the Eastern seaboard, Germans took up residence in the Old Northwest (the states that made up the Northwestern Territories), starting farms in locations such as Minnesota, Ohio, and Indiana.

11

Besides immigrants, what other group migrated in significant numbers to the Old Northwest?

The Old Northwest became the new home of many migrants who left New England. Their migration was the first of many that would continue to push the frontier ever farther westward, and they brought with them much of the culture of the New England colonies. 

12

What was the role of unions in the rapidly growing urban manufacturing areas during the Antebellum Period?

To the extent that they existed, unions focused on efforts to limit the workday to 10 hours. Any pressure that unions were able to exert was limited by the depression that followed the Panic of 1837 and led to a surplus of labor, as well as the constant influx of immigrants, who provided an inexpensive pool of non-union labor.

13

In 1800 approximately 5% of the population of the North was urban. What percentage was urban by 1850? 

About 15% of the population was urban by 1850. This rapid urbanization brought with it many problems, from the growth of slums and disease, to crime and inadequate sanitation.

14

Between 1845 and 1852, a million immigrants fled Ireland due to what cause?

the Irish Potato Famine

Most of the immigration between 1845 and 1852 can be attributed to the Irish Potato Famine. The potato was an Irish dietary staple, and another million inhabitants of Ireland died of starvation.

15

In 1820, only 8,000 immigrants arrived from Europe, but by the mid-1850s, hundreds of thousands were arriving each year. Besides the potato famine in Ireland, what other factors contributed to this substantial increase?

In 1848, revolutions broke out throughout Europe. Germany was particularly troubled, and many Germans came to the United States for refuge. The United States had a growing reputation as a place where hard work would be rewarded.

In addition, ocean transport was improving, both in speed and comfort, and several shipping lines specialized in transporting immigrants across the Atlantic.

16

Antebellum nativists

Antebellum nativists were suspicious of the new German and Irish immigrants. Most of the German immigrants, and almost all of the Irish ones, were Catholic. Protestant nativists feared that both groups could undermine American culture and take American jobs.

Anti-immigrant fervor would reach its height in the 1850s, with the formation of the Know-Nothing Party.

17

Only a limited number of blacks lived in the North. How were they treated generally?

Blacks in the North had limited property, voting, and legal rights, and received lower wages than whites.

Much like the Irish in the South, many of the Northern Irish resented blacks as the only inferior group in the social heirarchy.

18

Why did the South see little immigration?

Since the South had a small manufacturing base, most low-level jobs were agricultural, and centered on the plantation economy. These jobs were held by slaves, and there simply were not enough free labor jobs to support large-scale immigration to the region.

19

Cotton was the South's largest product, but the South did grow other agricultural products, including ____ and ______.

tobacco; rice

Both tobacco and rice also required large amounts of slave labor. Cotton, however, took precedent over both. 

20

Where did the South export most of its cotton?

Most cotton was sent in bales to Britain. There, the British turned the cotton into finished cloth.

At the time of the Civil War, many in the South predicted British intervention due to Britain's dependence on Southern cotton.

21

Which group was on top of the Southern class structure?

Plantation Owners

To be considered in the upper echelon of the South's plantation economy, one needed 1,000 acres of land and 100 slaves.

22

Although plantation owners had large tracts of land, who was responsible for most cotton production?

Most cotton was produced by smaller farmers, who worked the fields along with their slaves. Many small farmers had two or three slaves and landholdings of 40 acres.

23

Who was at the bottom of the white class structure in the South? 

Of the three classes in the Southern farming society, the "bukra" were the lowest class and the strongest advocates of slavery. Slavery kept them from falling to the bottom rung of the social structure.

The bukra comprised some 75% of the white population in the South.

24

Of the 15 largest cities in the United States in 1860, how many were in the South?

Three of the 15 largest cities were in the South, but only New Orleans was in the deep South. The other two cities, St. Louis, Missouri and Louisville, Kentucky, heavily relied on their trade with the West and North. 

25

Which religious groups supported slavery in the South?

  • Methodists and Baptists supported slavery, citing Biblical support for the peculiar institution; as a result, their numbers grew
  • Unitarians challenged slavery as an institution, and their membership dropped as a consequence 
  • Catholics and Episcopalians, present only in negligible numbers in the South, remained neutral over the issue

26

What characteristics defined the Planter Aristocracy in the South?

  1. Paternalistic: treatment of social and racial inferiors
  2. Educated: with rare exceptions, higher education was the province of the upper classes in the South
  3. Chivalrous: including rigid interactions between the sexes, and a code of honor that governed behavior, and which, if impinged, led to duels
  4. Politically Powerful:  held most of the political power

27

How much education did the typical slave receive?

None

It was actually against the law to teach slaves to read or write, although a few managed to learn clandestinely. 

28

Mountain Men

Mountain Men such as Kit Carson and Jim Bridger were primarily fur trappers and hunters. They were some of the earliest explorers of the American West, following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark.

As Americans pushed ever westward, many of these same Mountain Men served to guide the wagon trains over the Rocky Mountains. A large number of these men married American Indian and Hispanic women.

29

During the Antebellum period, most Indians lived west of the Mississippi River. How did they survive?

Most Indians lived a nomadic existence, aided by the introduction of the horse. Indian villages were mobile, and the tribes in the Great Plains and Upper Midwest followed the massive buffalo herds that roamed the prairies.

30

Describe the lives of women on the Western frontier.

The life of a frontier woman was most often nasty, brutish, and short. Most farm houses were miles away from neighbors, and isolation was intense. A frontier woman not only had to help her husband in the field, but was responsible for keeping house, cooking, and tending to the sick. Many died in childbirth, or succumbed to disease.

31

By the mid-1850s, railroads connected St. Louis with New York City and were prevalent throughout the North. Why were railroads so prevalent in the North?

Railroads were capital intensive. While most capital in the North went to railroads and manufacturing, most free capital in the South went to purchase slaves, which were becoming more expensive.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, the South had 9,500 miles of track, and the North had 22,000.

32

Completed in 1825, the _____ _____ connected New York City and Buffalo by water.

Erie Canal

The Canal's completion allowed goods to be shipped to New York via the Great Lakes from as far away as Wisconsin, and the Canal soon rivaled the Mississippi River as the nation's aquatic highway.

33

How did New York City become the country's commercial  center and its largest city by the 1820s?

Several factors contributed to New York City's rise:

  1. Railroads: New York marked the terminus of many Western railroads, which meant that agricultural products were shipped to New York and New York shipped finished goods to the Midwest
  2. Banking: New York banks proved adept at lending capital to distant farmers, in both the West and South
  3. Shipping: New York became the largest harbor in the United States, and transported Western agricultural products and finished goods overseas

34

What changes in shipping took place between 1820 and 1850?

Shipping changed drastically during the period. In addition to the greater deployment of steam vessels, clipper ships were introduced, drastically cutting sailing times. Further, shipping lines began operating regular schedules with set departure times. This significantly increased the ease of doing business internationally.

35

U.S. Navy Commodore Matthew C. Perry forcibly opened which country to American trade in 1853?

Japan

U.S. actions in Japan were part of a long-running effort to extend American trade and to find new markets for American goods. 

36

What changes did the factory system experience from 1820 to 1850?

In the 1820s, factories had primarily been used for the textile industry, while other professions, such as shoemaking and clothesmaking, had been done by artisans at home. By the 1850s, most artisans had been shunted aside and factories mass-produced goods, ranging from boots to firearms, with the use of unskilled labor.

Factories were able to expand due to the rapid influx of cheap labor, mainly Irish and German immigrants.