|The Unfinished Nation Brinkley|
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Chapter 10: America's Economic Revolution
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The Changing American Population (pp. 272-277)
- What were the reasons for and the effect of the rapid increase in population between 1820 and 1840?
- Where did this increased population settle? What population shifts took place between 1820 and 1840 and how did they affect political division?
- Why was the rise of New York City so phenomenal? What forces combined to make it America's leading city?
- What major immigrant groups came to the United States during this period? What impact did they have on the character and distribution of the population in the North?
- What impact did this immigration have on the political system? Which party was the most successful in attracting immigrant voters? Why?
- What gave rise to the nativist movement? What were its political goals?
Transportation and Communications Revolutions (pp. 277-285)
- Why were natural means of carrying commerce (lakes and rivers) unsatisfactory to most Americans?
- How did Americans propose to overcome the geographical limitations on water travel?
- Which area took the lead in canal development? What was the effect of these canals on that section of the country? How did other sections respond to this example?
- What were the general characteristics of early railroad development in the United States? What innovations aided the progress of railroads and what advantages did railroads have over other forms of transportation?
- What innovations in transportation and/or communication other than the growth of the railroads took place during this period?
Commerce and Industry (pp. 285-289)
- In the broadening of business described here what shifts in manufacturing took place and what business innovations occurred and what effect did this have on the general distribution of goods in America?
- What influence did technology have on the growth of American industry?
- What changes contributed to the rise of the factory? Why was this "the most profound economic development in mid-nineteenth-century America"?
- How did technology and industrial ingenuity prepare the way for the expansion of industry and the growth of the American economy?
- Who were the "merchant capitalists" and what was the significance of their transformation into "industrial capitalists"?
Men and Women at Work (pp. 289-294)
- How did the textile mills recruit and use labor? What was the general response of workers to the Lowell method? Of observers? What caused the breakdown of this system?
- What was the lot of working women in Lowell and other factory towns? How did this differ from conditions in Europe? What problems did these women have in adjusting to factory and factory-town life?
- How did the circumstances of immigrant workers differ from those of native laborers?
- What was the general condition of workers in northeastern factories? What impact did factory work have on the artisan tradition in America?
- What attempts were made to better conditions in northeastern factories? What role did unions play in these attempts and what was accomplished?
Patterns of Society (pp. 295-303)
- Why was the increasing wealth of America not widely or equitably distributed? How was this unequal distribution manifested in daily life? Which groups were most likely to be found at the bottom of the economic scale?
- What was life like for middle-class Americans during the antebellum era?
- Despite the gap between rich and poor there was little overt class conflict in antebellum America. Why?
- What "profound change in the nature and function of the family" took place during this era? What caused this change?
- What conditions put women in a "separate sphere and what were the characteristics of the distinctive female culture" women developed?
- What was the "cult of domesticity and what costs and benefits did it bring to middle-class women? To working-class women?
The Agricultural North (pp. 303-308)
- What caused the decline of farming in the Northeast? What did farmers in the Northeast do to overcome this decline, and what new patterns in agriculture resulted?
- What was the basis of the economy in the Northwest? What goods were produced there?
- Where were most of the goods produced in the Northwest marketed? What role did this play in the pre-1860 sectional alignment?
- What factors and inventions contributed to the growth and expansion of the Northwest's economy? Who were the men responsible for this?
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