SSUSH7 Students will explain the process of economic growth, its regional and national impact in the first half of the 19th century, and the different responses to it. America’s great economic prosperity in the early 19th century had impacts both national and regional. It was a time when Americans reflected on social problems and sought reforms that took hold in some regions more easily than in others. This standard requires you to demonstrate an understanding of these developments.
a. Explain the impact of the Industrial Revolution as seen in Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin and his development of interchangeable parts for muskets.
Eli Whitney and the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution is the name given to the stage of the 19th century when power driven machines operated by semiskilled or unskilled workers replaced hand tools operated by skilled laborers, altering the quality of work for many people. U.S. inventor
Eli Whitney best illustrates the rise of industrialism with his invention of the cotton gin and his development of interchangeable parts for muskets. Whitney invented the cotton gin (engine) in 1793. It is a machine that rapidly removes cotton plant seeds from the valuable cotton fiber used to make thread and fabric. By producing more cotton in a day than any person could working by hand, the gin reduced the cost of processing cotton and greatly raised the profit from growing it. To further cut costs and raise profits, unskilled slaves were often put to work running the cotton gins in the southern states.
Another industrial improvement Whitney developed was interchangeable parts. Prior to industrialization, a broken mechanism or machine had to be discarded and replaced because all its parts had been handmade by skilled workers to fit only that mechanism.
Whitney introduced the practice of manufacturing identical parts so only the broken part would need to be replaced to repair the whole machine. He applied this process to making muskets. If one piece of the musket’s mechanism broke, the owner could continue to use the musket after that piece was replaced with a matching piece. Interchangeable parts made it possible for semiskilled workers to mass-produce mechanical products.
b. Describe the westward growth of the United States; include the emerging concept of Manifest Destiny.
Westward Growth and Manifest Destiny
Between 1800 and 1860, the United States more than doubled in size, and the number of states expanded from 16 to 33. There were three primary motivations for America’s westward growth:
1. The desire of most Americans to own their own land.
2. The discovery of gold and other valuable resources.
3. The belief that the United States was destined to stretch across North America (Manifest Destiny). There were strong economic motivations behind this belief as well as racist beliefs about Native Americans and the Mexican people, but it became a popular political belief in the United States during the early 19th century.
Manifest Destiny was the name given to the idea that the United States would naturally occupy the territory between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. The word manifest means “obvious,” and the word destiny means “fate.” According to Manifest Destiny, the obvious fate of the United States was to expand “from sea to shining sea.”
c. Describe reform movements, specifically temperance, abolitionism, and public school.
People should drink less alcohol or alcohol should be outlawed altogether. Increased the size of Protestant religious organizations and their influence in western and rural sections of the country. Women played an important role, which laid the foundation for the women’s movement.
Slavery should be abolished and it should not be allowed in new states. Made slavery and its expansion an important political issue. Women played an important role, which laid the foundation for the women’s movement.
All children should be required to attend free schools supported by taxpayers and staffed by trained teachers. Established education as a right for all children and as a state and local issue. Improved the quality of schools by requiring trained teachers.
d. Explain women’s efforts to gain suffrage; include Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Seneca Falls Conference.
Women’s rights were few in the early 1800s. They could not vote (suffrage) and often lacked legal custody of their own children. Most men ––and most women, too––believed this was fitting and proper. One exception was Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She was an outspoken advocate for women’s full rights of citizenship, including voting rights and
parental and custody rights. In 1848, she organized the Seneca Falls Conference. Which was America’s first women’s rights convention––in New York. Delegates adopted a
declaration of women’s independence, including women’s suffrage. Historians often cite
the Seneca Falls Conference as the event that marks the beginning of organized efforts by women in the United States to gain civil rights equal to those of men.
e. Explain Jacksonian Democracy, expanding suffrage, the rise of popular political culture, and the development of American nationalism.
President Andrew Jackson and his supporters shared a political philosophy later referred
a weaker Congress. Out of respect for the common man, it also sought to broaden public participation in government, so it expanded suffrage (voting rights) to include all adult white males, not just landowners.
Another principle of Jacksonian democracy was that politicians should be allowed to appoint their followers to government jobs as a way of limiting the power of elite groups.
Jacksonians also favored Manifest Destiny and greater westward expansion of the United
Popular Political Culture
Jackson’s presidential campaigns saw an increase in public participation in politics, and things got rough. Jackson’s side accused his opponent of flattering European royalty and misusing public funds. The opponent accused Jackson of unfaithfulness in his marriage, of massacring Native Americans, of illegally executing convicted soldiers, and of dueling. These accusations were publicized in songs, pamphlets, posters, and lapel buttons. A voter could find all these at the first-ever campaign rallies and barbecues.
As a people, Americans in Jackson’s day believed in Manifest Destiny. They believed their nation was different than, and superior to, other nations because most Americans of that time-shared the Protestant religion and English language, ancestry, and culture. They believed it was their duty to expand the hold of the their religion, language, ancestry, and culture all the way to the Pacific Ocean to remake all of North America as the Founding Fathers had remade its Atlantic coast. Altogether, these beliefs comprise American nationalism.