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How did the Market Revolution change America?

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Quick Answer

The Market Revolution, which took place in America from around the turn of the 19th Century to the mid-1800s, saw radical and sweeping changes take place within the United States economy and infrastructure, from slave trading and commercial agriculture to the development of cities and overhauls of transportation and communication systems. It was also a time of increased immigration, technological innovations and comprehensive changes to labor and corporate law.

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Full Answer

The Market Revolution was in many ways America's answer to Europe's Industrial Revolution of the 18th Century.

It all started with Eli Whitney and his 1793 invention of the cotton gin, which made it possible for cotton fibers to be separated from cottonseeds automatically, in turn increasing cotton production rates from 1 pound a day per slave to 50 pounds.

The knock-on effects of the cotton gin included an explosion in the importation of African and West Indian slaves, along with improved cooperation between northern cloth factory-owners and the many new southern cotton farmers.

Agricultural inventions, such as John Deere's steel plow and Cyrus McCormick's mechanical mower-reaper, further helped to increase farming´s efficiency.

Among the major advances in transportation was Robert Fulton's steamboat. Introduced in 1807, this allowed traders to ship anywhere at any time, regardless of weather conditions. Meanwhile, railroads and the telegraph helped to connect economically isolated populations.

The Market Revolution was also the time during which disparities of development emerged between the North, West and South. While the North constructed canals to facilitate trade with the West, the South remained comparatively isolated.

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