America in the early 1800’s

In the pre-1812 era, one of the fastest growing enterprises in the world was America’s industry. Many new things were being created. One of these inventions was the textile machine. Knowing of the British power in textile, Samuel Slater built many improved versions of the textile machines and set up many factories, allowing the textile industry to flourish. Elias Howe also developed his invention off of the textile machine, the sewing machine. Of course, sewing doesn’t work without material, like cotton. In 1793, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, allowing a worker to clean cottonseeds out over 300 times faster than before.

Another important part of industry was farming. Many innovations were made to help make farming more efficient. The main tool used by farmers was the plow. Originally, the plow was made of wood. However, in 1797, Charles Newbold invented the iron plow to make plowing faster. Many ideas were based off of this new idea of the iron plow. In 1814, Jethro Wood improved the iron plow, and in 1837, John Deere created the self-cleaning steel plow. Another important farm tool was the reaper. Invented by Cyrus McCormick, the reaper was a device that harvested faster than a scythe.

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Of course, transportation is a very important part of life, and it always will be. The invention of the steam engine helped speed up boats. To show everyone the improvement, Robert Fulton traveled up the Hudson River through New York in 32 hours on a steam-powered boat. John Ericsson helped develop the steam engine to make it even faster. Each one of these inventions were breakthroughs at the time, and greatly helped America become more proficient.

Analysis Task

America wasn’t always just the hunk of land it is today. It started out as just a small piece of 13 colonies, like any third grader knows. What any third grader may not know is how the US expanded from 13 colonies to 50 states.

Right after the US purchased Louisiana Territory for $15,000,000, less than the yearly salary of several major leaguers, they felt very optimistic and hopeful about claiming all the land to the West of them, maybe even all of North America. Their next target was Texas. Right after Mexico declared independence from Spain, they extended invitations for Americans to come populate Texas. After awhile, the Americas greatly outnumbered the Mexicans in Texas. After a small border war, Texas became a part of the United States. With all this new land, America didn’t quite know what to do. They sent Lewis ; Clark out to explore the Louisiana Territory. L;C explored and claimed a lot of land to the West of the Purchase.

The land we’re standing on right now was claimed by Lewis and Clark. This is just more proof of Manifest Destiny and the “Divine Mission” that so many Americans felt running through their veins.

Application Task

Even though the whole US was formed from the same 13 states, not every section of the country had the same political viewpoints. The northeast was liberal, the south was conservative, and the west was both depending on the issue.

The northeast was industrial, so they favored such things as a protective tariff in order to protect their products against foreign competition, a national bank because manufacturers and bankers both benefited from available investment capital and stable currency. The south on the other hand was based around plantations. So, they didn’t want a protective tariff because it meant they would have to pay more for English goods and the English wouldn’t buy so much cotton in return. Westerners mainly lived on small farms and their views were divided between that of the north and the south. They did want a protective tariff for although they disliked the higher prices on manufactured goods; they relied on the northeastern market to be prosperous for them to send their crops.

As can be seen, different regions of the new nation had their differences, the west even caught between the northeast and the south. So although the nation was expanding quickly, it just couldn’t seem to agree on anything.

Predictive Task:

The United States hasn’t grown for quite some time. There have been 50 states since Hawaii became a state in the mid 1950’s. America hasn’t seen a whole lot of opportunity for growth, as most places have been claimed for a while and don’t seem to be changing. In the 1800’s, the US went on a huge claiming spree and greatly increased their land, but now there is nothing left. We could go to war to claim more land, but I think we’ve got bigger problems on our hands. I don’t think the US will expand any more because I think that it already has enough.

Comparison Task

Fredrick Jackson Turner, a professor from Wisconsin, maintained that the West was the place to go for America (Gordon 196). He felt that acquiring western lands would expand the U.S. trade, and therefore its “sphere of influence”.

Admiral Thayer Mahan believed that increasing America’s industrial capacity required “new markets abroad”. Mahan opposed colonization, but wanted to see America expand its circle of trade. He also showed that if trade was to factor in successfully, a large navy was needed to protect the trade routes. Admiral Mahan maintained that Hawaii was necessary bounty, as a naval base and trade base in the Pacific.

Josiah Strong, Congregationalist had ideas of an American Christian empire in Asia. He felt that America, or the “white race” had been chosen by God to gather and “civilize” the world. Strong thought whites were the most “fit” civilization, and therefore needed to “fix” the rest of the world. His ideas differed from those of Turner and Mahan, although all three helped the U.S.

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