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  • - [Instructor] So why do we care

  • about the Market Revolution?

  • The Industrial Revolution and the Transportation

  • and the Communication Revolutions of the early 19th century

  • had a major impact on American society,

  • both in the short term and in the long term.

  • In this video, I want to talk about three major effects

  • of the Market Revolution, and those were changes

  • in labor, entry into a national

  • and international market system

  • and the Second Great Awakening.

  • All right, so what effect

  • did the Market Revolution have on labor?

  • Well, we've already talked about this a little bit

  • in the earlier videos, but here is a view

  • of a textile factory floor.

  • Now this is from a slightly later period,

  • but I think it gives you a good sense of what it was like

  • to work in a textile factory.

  • With the Market Revolution really comes the emergence

  • of factory labor in the United States.

  • And there are a couple of ways that, that's important.

  • One is that people start working for wages.

  • It's a move away from subsistence farming

  • and a barter economy, which also means that

  • people aren't necessarily in charge of themselves anymore.

  • And there's a lot that goes along with that,

  • which means that people stop being their own bosses.

  • Instead, they report to other bosses.

  • And that can be problematic because

  • it means that you have a lot less control

  • over your daily life.

  • So imagine that you're a farmer and you're really sick.

  • Oh well, you know maybe you don't plant some seed that day

  • and you do it the next day.

  • Imagine that you work at a textile mill

  • and you get really sick, you don't report to work

  • and you get fired.

  • So people are no longer able to set the pace

  • of their own lives by and large.

  • And with things like interchangeable parts, for example,

  • fewer and fewer artisans, so masters of a craft,

  • are making goods from start to finish.

  • So it used to be perhaps you would be a master shoemaker,

  • a master cobbler, and you would make every part of that shoe

  • from tanning the leather to nailing in the sole.

  • The system of interchangeable parts,

  • which will later become even more codified

  • as the assembly-line system,

  • means that most people are only doing

  • one part of a task.

  • So instead of doing all of making a shoe and saying

  • at the end of it, "I made this shoe,

  • "I am a master maker of shoes," now your entire job

  • might just be to hammer in one nail

  • and then hand off the shoe to the next person.

  • So there's never anything that you can point to

  • and say, "I made that."

  • So a lot of people say that this is a period

  • when people stop being able to take pride in their own work

  • or at least not as much pride.

  • But what's even more important about this process

  • of interchangeable parts, assembly-line labor,

  • is that it leads to an overall, what they call, deskilling.

  • So removing the skill from labor.

  • And what's important about that is that

  • if you've broken down a task into enough small parts

  • that you've got people literally hammering in

  • the same nail on a different shoe 12 hours a day,

  • then you don't necessarily need highly trained artisans

  • to do that.

  • And what happens if you are not highly trained,

  • we'll call this unskilled labor, and you decide you want to

  • strike for higher pay?

  • Well, your boss doesn't need to train anyone

  • to hammer in that nail so you'll just get fired.

  • So it makes the labor force in general

  • a little bit more precarious because you don't need

  • an exceptional skill to have a factory job,

  • but you are easily replaced.

  • All right, let's talk about entry into a market system.

  • Now what do I mean by this?

  • In this time period, the United States develops

  • what's called a market economy.

  • And that's different from what most people had been doing

  • up until that point because people in the United States

  • had mainly shipped raw materials

  • over to Europe, England particularly,

  • to be processed and made into finished goods.

  • And this is similar to the system of mercantilism

  • that you might be familiar with from the colonial era.

  • Well, the war of 1812 and some of the conflict

  • leading up to it, led the United States to embargo England,

  • which was a manufacturing center.

  • So people couldn't send their raw materials there.

  • They responded by investing in their own factories.

  • So the war of 1812 is actually a pretty important moment

  • for the development of domestic industrialization at home.

  • And so now, instead of this kind of import/export

  • or barter economy, people are making deals

  • with other investors all over the United States,

  • all over the world.

  • So this gives people an opportunity to invest

  • and to speculate.

  • And that means that as they're a part

  • of an international market of investment speculation,

  • they're prone to the kinds of booms and busts

  • that characterize capitalism, right?

  • Now we often think of the Great Depression

  • as having been the first major American depression.

  • But really, it was the largest and most recent

  • up until that point, because after the war of 1812,

  • the United States kinda goes through approximately

  • a 20-year cycle of boom and bust.

  • So boom is when things are getting better,

  • things are looking up, the economy is going really well,

  • and then a bubble of some kind bursts.

  • And in 1819, they had the very first of these bubbles burst,

  • it's called the Panic of 1819 in land speculation.

  • And this is the first time that the United States

  • had actually experienced any kind of economic depression.

  • So imagine how frightening that would have been to them.

  • One of the hardest things about market-based capitalism

  • is that individuals don't really have control

  • over the larger market.

  • It's not one person that made the Great Depression happen.

  • It was an overall loss in consumer confidence

  • or perhaps overproduction, right?

  • If too many people are supplying the same commodity,

  • the price is dropping through the laws of supply and demand.

  • So now, the laws of supply and demand and the pressures

  • of an international market are really changing

  • the nature of American commerce because

  • they're enmeshed in that market.

  • And that has all kinds of political and social ramifications

  • for the United States.

  • Understanding the volatility of belonging

  • to an international market

  • kind of helps explain why Andrew Jackson

  • was so obsessed with the National Bank

  • at this time period, right?

  • Because it represents this confusing matrix

  • of international supply and demand

  • and people getting credit or not getting credit.

  • And being part of this international market

  • is something that's going to have a major effect

  • on the American South, and particularly

  • the enslaved population that lives in the American South

  • because they're going to be supplying cotton

  • to the world's textile mills.

  • And those are textile mills in New England

  • and textile mills in England.

  • And as the world demands cotton for processing,

  • the South is going to supply that cotton,

  • which is picked by enslaved individuals.

  • And one of the reasons that the Confederacy believes

  • that it can succeed as an independent nation

  • is because they're supplying cotton to England.

  • And when England managed to find its own supply of cotton

  • from Egypt and India, the economic chances

  • of the Confederacy were sunk.

  • And the last thing that I think is related to this

  • Market Revolution is the Second Great Awakening.

  • Now I don't wanna go into too much detail about this

  • because of a whole separate series of videos

  • about the Second Great Awakening,

  • but this Second Great Awakening was kind of an explosion

  • of religious fervor, which was happening

  • at almost exactly the same time as the Market Revolution.

  • And many American historians actually think

  • that it's these confusing and confounding

  • and anxious forces that lead a lot of people

  • to take up religion.

  • Because as the world is changing around them,

  • as people now have to relate in different ways

  • to their neighbors as bosses and employees

  • rather than bartering partners,

  • and as they're swept up in international markets

  • that are outside their control,

  • people look for new explanations

  • and comfort in an increasingly

  • confusing world.

  • So that's one explanation for the Second Great Awakening.

  • So I started out this series of videos by saying that

  • some historians have argued that the Market Revolution

  • was actually more revolutionary

  • than the American Revolution.

  • Now that's a difficult question to answer

  • because we're talking about a revolution in politics

  • as opposed to kind of a revolution of economics.

  • But I will say that though the American Revolution

  • dissolved the political bonds between the United States

  • and Great Britain, its social and economic impact

  • were relatively limited.

  • Most people kind of ended up in the same place

  • socially after the American Revolution

  • as they were before it.

  • But the Market Revolution changes an awful lot

  • in American society in terms of

  • how they participate internationally

  • and how people organize their daily lives.

  • So I think there is a strong argument to be made

  • that this revolution of economics, technology,

  • even religion, is considerably farther reaching

  • than the American Revolution.

- [Instructor] So why do we care

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The Market Revolution - 3

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    Amy.Lin posted on 2017/10/21
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