Market Revolution

The term market revolution describes a succession of economic and technological changes that transformed U.S. society between 1825 and 1860. The construction of roads, canals, and railroads; the opening of the West to settlement; the expansion of postal delivery routes; and the introduction of the telegraph drew previously disparate communities closer together and helped to create a national market of commodities, goods, labor, and services. This transformation fundamentally altered American notions of manhood, causing a shift from the eighteenth-century ideal of the community-oriented patriarch and provider to the more modern ideal of the market-oriented breadwinner and “self-made man.”

American Manhood before the Market Revolution

Prior to the market revolution, American society was governed more by the natural rhythms of the environment than by the commercial forces of ...

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