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What was the leading economic activity in the early 1800s?

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Quick Answer

The leading economic activity in the United States during the early 1800s was agriculture, as in many other parts of the world. The period is also associated with the start of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, but agriculture continued to be prevalent for decades.

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Full Answer

In the early 19th century, new areas opened for agriculture in the U.S. due to the introduction of steamboats and the building of canals. Cotton and sugar cane were two of the most significant sectors during that period. The Mississippi Valley and Alabama were the main centers for cotton, whereas Louisiana was the main area for sugar plantations.

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