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The Market Revolution: Crash Course US History #12


In which John Green teaches you about the Market Revolution. In the first half of the 19th century, the way people lived and worked in the United States changed drastically. At play was the classic (if anything in a 30-year-old nation can be called classic) American struggle between the Jeffersonian ideal of individuals sustaining themselves on small farms vs. the Hamiltonian vision of an economy based on manufacturing and trade. I’ll give you one guess who won. Too late! It was Hamilton, which is why if you live in the United States, you probably live in a city and are unlikely to be a farmer. Please resist the urge to comment about this if you live in the country and/or are a farmer. Your anecdotal experience doesn’t change the fact that most people live in cities. In the early 19th century, new technologies in transportation and communication helped remake the economic system of the country. Railroads and telegraphs changed the way people moved goods and information around. The long and short of it is, the Market Revolution meant that people now went somewhere to work rather than working at home. Often, that somewhere was a factory where they worked for an hourly wage rather than getting paid for the volume of goods they manufactured. This shift in the way people work has repercussions in our daily lives right down to today. Watch as John teaches you how the Market Revolution sowed the seeds of change in the way Americans thought about the roles of women, slavery, and labor rights. Also, check out high school John wearing his Academic Decathalon medals.

Hey teachers and students – Check out CommonLit’s free collection of reading passages and curriculum resources to learn more about the events of this episode. As America invested in its market economy, certain transcendentalists resisted the rise of production and consumerism over individual freedoms, including Henry David Thoreau in his book Walden:
Ralph Waldo Emerson promoted transcendental values as well in his essay “Self-Reliance”:

Introduction: The Market Revolution 00:00
The Era of Good Feelings 1:00
New technology in transportation 1:43
Steamboats and canals 2:45
Railroads & telegraphs 3:35
Factories & interchangeable parts 4:02
The rise of modern banking 4:51
Encouraging Competition 5:37
Work & life during the Market Revolution 6:29
Westward expansion & “Manifest Destiny” 8:32
Mystery Document 10:09
Transcendentalists 11:28
Wealth disparities after the Market Revolution 11:53
Credits 13:33

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