HST 141                                                                                                                                  Dr. Kerns


The Unfinished Nation: Chapter 10 “America's Economic Revolution”


Chapter 10 Main Themes

  1. The nature of the rapid immigration and urban growth between 1820 and 1840, and its effect on the nation's economic, social, and political systems.

  2. The pronounced effect of the transportation and communications revolutions of the 1820s and 1830s on the American economy.

  3. The transformation in women's social and economic roles as a consequence of the factory system.

  4. The social changes wrought by America's economic revolution in the fields of public leisure and Northern agriculture.



A thorough study of Chapter 10 should enable the student to understand:


  • The significant changes taking place within the nation in terms of population growth, population movement, urbanization, and immigration.


  • The reasons for the appearance of the nativist movement in the 1850s.


  • The importance of the Erie Canal for the development of both the West and New York City.


  • The influence of burgeoning railroad and telegraph networks on the economic development of the United States.


  • The transformations taking place in business, industry, labor, and commerce as the full impact of the industrial revolution was felt in the United States.


  • The vast changes taking place in the Northeast as agriculture declined while urbanization and industrialization progressed at a rapid rate.


  • The patterns of society, including social inequality, familial relationships, and leisure activities, that characterize early nineteenth-century American life.


  • The living and working conditions of both men and women in the northern factory towns and on the northwestern farms.




Cordwainers Makers of high-quality shoes and boots. They set up their own national craft union soon after the creation of the National Trades’ Union.

Deskilling The displacement of skilled and artisanal jobs by the factory system.

Division Of Labor The assigning of various duties to various workers rather than having one worker do an entire project. As a result, the worker becomes more specialized, more competent, and more productive.

Factory System System of manufacture in which all operations were brought under one roof. This is in contrast to earlier systems of manufacture, where most work took place in households or small workshops.

Industrial Capitalist One who invests capital in manufacturing.

Limited Liability A system of law in which individual stockholders in a corporation risk losing only the value of their own investment if a corporation should fail; they are not liable for the corporation’s larger losses.

Merchant Capitalist One who invests capital in the buying, selling, and shipping of goods, but not in their production.

Packet Line A shipping line that carried mail, passengers, and goods on a regular schedule.

Technology Industrial science. The study of how to improve industries through better machines, work schedules, factory organization.