In which John Green teaches you about the Market Revolution.
In the first half of the 19th century, the way people lived and worked in the United States changed drastically.
At play was the classic (if anything in a 30 year old nation can be called classic) American struggle between the Jeffersonian ideal of individuals sustaining themselves on small farms vs. the Hamiltonian vision of an economy based on manufacturing and trade.
I’ll give you one guess who won.
It was Hamilton, which is why if you live in the United States, you probably live in a city, and are unlikely to be a farmer. Please resist the urge to comment about this if you live in the country and/or are a farmer. Your anecdotal experience doesn’t change the fact that most people live in cities.
In the early 19th century, new technologies in transportation and communication helped remake the economic system of the country. Railroads and telegraphs changed the way people moved goods and information around.
The long and short of it is, the Market Revolution meant that people now went somewhere to work rather than working at home.
Often, that somewhere was a factory where they worked for an hourly wage rather than getting paid for the volume of goods they manufactured.
This shift in the way people work has repercussions in our daily lives right down to today. Watch as John teaches you how the Market Revolution sowed the seeds of change in the way Americans thought about the roles of women, slavery, and labor rights.