Economic Growth Dbq

847 Words4 Pages

Between 1800 and 1900, the United States experienced great economic growth. Two factors that contributed to this growth were government policies and technological developments. America at the time was experiencing cultural and industrial revolutions at a rate that most other new nations, even today, could ever dream of. Government policies and technological developments had a huge influence on the American economy and shaped its character to an extent that defined for the future magnitude of success that it would see throughout the century. Policies such as the National Road and the tariff tax, and technological developments such as the cotton gin and the production of railroads, all contributed to the economic growth of the United States. …show more content…

One technological development that influenced this growth was the invention of the cotton gin. The cotton gin is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, allowing for much greater productivity than manual cotton separation. “By midcentury America was growing three-quarters of the world’s supply of cotton.” (Doc 2). Most American cotton shipped to England or New England where it was manufactured into cloth and by the mid-1800s, the south provided three-fifths of America’s exports, most of it in cotton. Textile manufacturing in New England expanded and Northerners invested more capital in factories. The plantation economy expanded westward and agriculture remained the mainstay of the Southern economy. To add on, the machines to spin and weave cotton fueled the Industrial Revolution. Due to these machines, demand increased for manufactured goods and employment opportunities increased for unskilled workers. Even the steamboat helped contribute to the growth of the economy because it was crucial to transporting raw materials and finished products. Goods were shipped faster and at lower cost, and more land opened up for cotton growers and other farmers. Moreover, another technological development that influenced the growth of the United States economy was the development of railroads. Railroads were “shrinking distances, dramatically lowering costs, opening new markets, and increasing competition” (Doc 9). Railroads were basically essential for keeping the economy in balance. They supplied cities and towns with food, fuel, building materials, and access to markets. The simple presence of railroads brought economic prosperity. Linking upper Mississippi River valley to the east promoted closer economic ties between the West and the North. Not to mention that Crops could be more widely marketed and profits inspired investments in other areas

Open Document