Archive for the ‘Chapter 14’ Category

Panics and Depressions in US history

Chapter 14 covers a huge section of American history from an economic point of view. However unwise this may be from a learning standpoint, I nonetheless need you to understand the cycles of economic development in our nation’s history. So please go to and read the article.Please take notes or make a chart to have this info in a handy spot in your notebooks, and also bookmark this site for AP review time in April and May.

The Lowell Mill Girls

In her autobiography, Harriet Hanson Robinson, the wife of a newspaper editor, provided an account of her earlier life as female factory worker (from the age of ten in 1834 to 1848) in the textile Mills of Lowell, Massachusetts. Her account explains some of the family dynamics involved, and lets us see the women as active participants in their own lives – for instance in their strike of 1836.

Questions for Understanding
As you read, consider the following questions:
1. How were women’s economic lives limited in Massachusetts at this time? Be specific.
2. Why did the girls strike? What impact did this have?

In what follows, I shall confine myself to a description of factory life in Lowell, Massachusetts, from 1832 to 1848, since, with that phase of Early Factory Labor in New England, I am the most familiar-because I was a part of it.

In 1832, Lowell was little more than a factory village. Five “corporations” were started, and the cotton mills belonging to them were building. Help was in great demand and stories were told all over the country of the new factory place, and the high wages that were offered to all classes of work-people; stories that reached the ears of mechanics’ and farmers’ sons and gave new life to lonely and dependent women in distant towns and farm-houses …. Troops of young girls came from different parts of New England, and from Canada, and men were employed to collect them at so much a head, and deliver them at the factories.

At the time the Lowell cotton mills were started the caste of the factory girl was the lowest among the employments of women. In England and in France, particularly, great injustice had been done to her real character. She was represented as subjected to influences that must destroy her purity and self-respect. In the eyes of her overseer she was but a brute, a slave, to be beaten, pinched and pushed about. It was to overcome this prejudice that such high wages had been offered to women that they might be induced to become mill-girls, in spite of the opprobrium that still clung to this degrading occupation….

The early mill-girls were of different ages. Some were not over ten years old; a few were in middle life, but the majority were between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five. The very young girls were called “doffers.” They “doffed,” or took off, the full bobbins from the spinning-frames, and replaced them with empty ones. These mites worked about fifteen minutes every hour and the rest of the time was their own. When the overseer was kind they were allowed to read, knit, or go outside the mill-yard to play. They were paid two dollars a week. The working hours of all the girls extended from five o’clock in the morning until seven in the evening, with one half-hour each, for breakfast and dinner. Even the doffers were forced to be on duty nearly fourteen hours a day. This was the greatest hardship in the lives of these children. Several years later a ten-hour law was passed, but not until long after some of these little doffers were old enough to appear before the legislative committee on the subject, and plead, by their presence, for a reduction of the hours of labor.

Those of the mill-girls who had homes generally worked from eight to ten months in the year; the rest of the time was spent with parents or friends. A few taught school during the summer months. Their life in the factory was made pleasant to them. In those days there was no need of advocating the doctrine of the proper relation between employer and employed. Help was too valuable to be ill-treated….

The most prevailing incentive to labor was to secure the means of education for some male member of the family. To make a gentleman of a brother or a son, to give him a college education, was the dominant thought in the minds of a great many of the better class of mill-girls. I have known more than one to give every cent of her wages, month after month, to her brother, that he might get the education necessary to enter some profession. I have known a mother to work years in this way for her boy. I have known women to educate young men by their earnings, who were not sons or relatives. There are many men now living who were helped to an education by the wages of the early mill-girls.

It is well to digress here a little, and speak of the influence the possession of money had on the characters of some of these women. We can hardly realize what a change the cotton factory made in the status of the working women. Hitherto woman had always been a money saving rather than a money earning, member of the community. Her labor could command but small return. If she worked out as servant, or “help,” her wages were from 50 cents to $1.00 a week; or, if she went from house to house by the day to spin and weave, or do tailoress work, she could get but 75 cents a week and her meals. As teacher, her services were not in demand, and the arts, the professions, and even the trades and industries, were nearly all closed to her.

As late as 1840 there were only seven vocations outside the home into which the women of New England had entered. At this time woman had no property rights. A widow could be left without her share of her husband’s (or the family) property, an ” incumbrance” to his estate. A father could make his will without reference to his daughter’s share of the inheritance. He usually left her a home on the farm as long as she remained single. A woman was not supposed to be capable of spending her own, or of using other people’s money. In Massachusetts, before 1840, a woman could not, legally, be treasurer of her own sewing society, unless some man were responsible for her. The law took no cognizance of woman as a money-spender. She was a ward, an appendage, a relict. Thus it happened that if a woman did not choose to marry, or, when left a widow, to re-marry, she had no choice but to enter one of the few employments open to her, or to become a burden on the charity of some relative.

One of the first strikes that ever took place in this country was in Lowell in 1836. When it was announced that the wages were to be cut down, great indignation was felt, and it was decided to strike or “turn out” en masse. This was done. The mills were shut down, and the girls went from their several corporations in procession to the grove on Chapel Hill, and listened to incendiary speeches from some early labor reformers.

One of the girls stood on a pump and gave vent to the feelings of her companions in a neat speech, declaring that it was their duty to resist all attempts at cutting down the wages. This was the first time a woman had spoken in public in Lowell, and the event caused surprise and consternation among her audience.

It is hardly necessary to say that, so far as practical results are concerned, this strike did no good. The corporation would not come to terms. The girls were soon tired of holding out, and they went back to their work at the reduced rate of wages. The ill-success of this early attempt at resistance on the part of the wage element seems to have made a precedent for the issue of many succeeding strikes.

Harriet H. Robinson, “Early Factory Labor in New England,” in Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor, Fourteenth Annual Report (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1883), pp. 380-82, 387-88, 391-92.

Vocabulary for this post:
en masse

Review MC for the period 1800-1850

1. Which president’s administration is most associated with the Era of Good Feelings?
A. Thomas Jefferson
B. Andrew Jackson
C. James Monroe
D. Martin van Buren
E. John Quincy Adams

2. Which of the following Supreme Court decisions held that Congress had the right to establish a bank under the “necessary and proper” clause?
A. Plessy v. Ferguson
B. Schenck v. United States
C. Gibbons v. Ogden
D. McCulloch v. Maryland
E. Marbury v. Madison

3. The main architect of the Missouri compromise was
A. Henry Clay
B. Daniel Webster
C. Thomas Hart Benton
D. John C. Calhoun
E. Stephen Douglas

4. Which of the following is NOT associated with the “American System?”
A. Henry Clay
B. the Second Bank of the United States
C. bonuses for new industries
D. federally funded internal improvements
E. a protective tariff (also for revenue)

5. Which of the following statements about the Treaty of Ghent was NOT TRUE?
A. The signatories were the United States and Britain.
B. It did not address freedom of the seas.
C. It failed to address British impressment policy.
D. It settled the border disputes involving the Louisiana Territory.
E. It ended the War of 1812.

6. As chief justice, John Marshall helped ensure that
A. Aaron Burr was convicted of treason.
B. the political and economic systems were based on a strong central government.
C. states’ rights were protected.
D. both the Supreme Court and the president could declare a law unconstitutional.
E. the programs of Alexander Hamilton were overturned.

7. The delegates of the Hartford Convention adopted resolutions that included a call for
A. a separate peace treaty between New England and the British.
B. South Carolina’s secession from the Union.
C. war with England on the basis of interference with merchant shipping.
D. the dissolution of the Federalist party on the grounds of collaboration with the enemy.
E. a Constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote in Congress before war was declared.

8. The Adams- Onis Treaty of 1819 gave the United States
A. California
B. Oregon
C. Florida
D. a defined border for Texas
E. a defined border with Mexico

9. The main point of contention in the Webster-Hayne debate of 1830 was
A. reform of the spoils system.
B. state nullification of federal laws.
C. the settlement of Missouri as a slave state.
D. the morality of slavery.
E. presidential veto power.

10. The leaders of New England states opposed the American System’s federally constructed roads because
A. canals were a superior method of transportation.
B. the Democratic-Republicans favored them.
C. they cost too much.
D. they were poorly constructed.
E. they would drain away needed population to the West.

11. Macon’s Bill No. 2
A. repealed the Embargo Act of 1807.
B. forbade American ships from leaving port for any destination whatsoever, including other American ports.
C. forbade American trade with Britain and France but offered to open trade with either country if they would declare a ceasefire in their war.
D. permitted trade with all nations but promised that is either Britain or France lifted its restrictions on American trade, the US would stop trading with the other.
E. halted trade with Britain.

12. The accomplishments of Lewis and Clark’s expedition included all of the following EXCEPT
A. treaties with several Indian nations.
B. knowledge of the Indians of the region.
C. a rich harvest of scientific information.
D. maps.
E. hair-raising adventure stories.

13. Groups which tended to support the Whig party included all of the following EXCEPT
A. many evangelical Protestants.
B. backers of southern states’ rights.
C. opponents of public education.
D. backers of the American System.
E. large northern industrialists.

14. Which of the following was NOT a provision of the original Monroe Doctrine?
A. The United States would use military intervention in the Americas if needed.
B. The United States would not intervene in European wars and conflicts.
C. European intervention in the Americas would be viewed as a threat to American security.
D. The Americas were politically different from Europe.
E. The Western Hemisphere was closed to further European colonization.

15. Which of the following was a roadblock to the admission of Texas to the Union after it proclaimed independence in 1836?
A. disagreement over the location of its southern boundary
B. its aggressive Native American population
C. the influential presence of the Catholic Church in its boundaries
D. racial opposition from nativists to adding a sizeable number of Tejanos
E. the intent to permit slavery in Texas

16. “The major problems of this country are the result of too many immigrants and the corrupt influence of the Papists…. Immigrants should be required to live in the United States before being allowed to vote.”
The quote above is representative of the views of which 19th century political party?
A. Know-Nothing party
B. Whig Party
C. Republican Party
D. Free Soil Party
E. Populist Party

17. Which writer is most associated with the “positive good” argument regarding slavery?
A. Henry Clay
B. George Fitzhugh
C. Stephen Douglas
D. Thaddeus Stevens
E. Frederick Douglass

18. The creation of the “market economy” in the 1820s refers to the rise of
A. cash crop agriculture
B. American factories
C. the Second Bank of the United States
D. the New England textile industry
E. subsistence agriculture

19. “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it.” This statement was purportedly made by Andrew Jackson in reference to which Supreme Court case?
A. Cherokee Nation v. Georgia
B. Scott v. Sanford
C. Gibbons v. Ogden
D. Marbury v. Madison
E. the treason trial of Aaron Burr

20. Which of the following was not a feature of life in pre-Civil War cities?
A. increasing population
B. increasing crime
C. extensive sewer systems
D. growth of slums
E. rapidly rising death rates

Practice Questions Chapters 14-16

1. By 1860, slaves were concentrated in the “black belt” located in the
A. border states of Kentucky, Missouri, and Maryland.
B. Deep South states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
C. old South states of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
D. new Southwest states of Texas, Arkansas, and Indian Territory.
E. mountain regions of Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

2. In the 1790s a major transportation project linking the East to the trans-Allegheny West was the
A. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
B. National (Cumberland Road)
C. Erie Canal.
D. St Lawrence Seaway.
E. Lancaster Turnpike.

3. This innovation in corporate law encouraged investment and protected investors from huge losses.
A. limited liability
B. patent law
C. Marbury v. Madison
D. windfall profits taxes
E. habeas corpus

4. This women’s rights activist also was involved heavily in the abolition movement, due to her Quaker faith.
A. Harriet Tubman
B. Elizabeth Cady Stanton
C. Emily Dickinson
D. Lucretia Mott
E. Mary Lyon

5. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “intellectual declaration of independence” was his
A. “The American Scholar” address at Harvard in 1837.
B. “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” essay in 1849.
C. “Self-Reliance” essay in 1830
D. “Nature” essay in 1836.
E. “Leaves of Grass” poetry collection in 1855.

6. The wearing of pants by women was suggested by the fashions of
A. Katharine Hepburn D. Louisa May Alcott
B. the Shakers E. Carrie Chapman Catt
C. Amelia Bloomer

7. During the first hours of Nat Turner’s Rebellion, how were the first victims killed?
A. they were whipped to death
B. they were killed with hatchets and axes
C. they were lined up and shot
D. they were suffocated
E. their houses were set on fire

8. The American work force in the early 19th century was characterized by
A. substantial employment of women and children in factories.
B. reliance on the system of apprentices and masters.
C. a general lengthening of the workday from ten to fourteen hours.
D. extensive political activity among workers.
E. strikes by workers that were few in number but usually effective.

9. All of these were legal questions raised as a result of the new market economy EXCEPT
A. can a democratic government still support slavery?
B. should the government regulate monopolies?
C. who should own the new transportation network?
D. who should own these new technologies?
E. how tightly should patents protect inventions?

10. In general, ____ tended to bind the West and South together, while _____ and _____ connected West to East.
A. turnpikes, steamboats, canals
B. railroads, canals, steamboats
C. turnpikes, railroads, steamboats
D. canals, steamboats, turnpikes
E. steamboats, canals, railroads

11. According to Harriet Jacobs, in the wake of Nat Turner’s Rebellion,
A. the Underground Railroad was created.
B. gangs of poor whites looted blacks of their property.
C. many slaves ran off to live with Indians.
D. plantation owners began forbidding their slaves to attend church.
E. other slaves were hanged when Nat Turner could not be captured.

12. The case of Commonwealth v. Hunt was a notable exception to the legal understanding of workers’ rights in the early 19th century, since the decision stated that
A. women had to be paid as much as men for the same work.
B. workers should not be forced to work more than 10 hours in a day.
C. children could not be employed in factories.
D. unions were not illegal conspiracies so long as they were peaceful.
E. use of strikebreakers was illegal.

13. “Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?” Who said it?
A. Joseph Smith
B. John H. Noyes
C. Louisa May Alcott
D. Henry David Thoreau
E. James Madison

14. Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, and William Cullen Bryant were members of the
A. Knickerbocker group
B. Transcendentalists
C. Mormons
D. Christian Scientists
E. Hudson River School

15. Women became especially active in the social reforms stimulated by the 2nd Great Awakening because
A. they saw churches as the first institutions that needed to be reformed.
B. they refused to accept the idea that there was a special female role in society.
C. they were looking to obtain as much power as possible at the expense of men.
D. many of the leading preachers and evangelists were women.
E. religious social reform legitimized their activity outside the home.

16. This Alton, Illinois publisher and Presbyterian minister, was killed by a mob in 1837 for his activity on behalf of abolitionism.
A. Lewis Tappan
B. Lyman Beecher
C. William Wilberforce
D. Elijah Lovejoy
E. Wendell Phillips

17. John Quincy Adams waged an eight-year fight for repeal of
A. the Missouri Compromise’s allowance of slavery south of the 36° 30′ line.
B. the decision sending the Amistad mutineers back into slavery.
C. the Gag Rule in the House of Representatives that forbade the discussion of anti-slavery petitions.
D. the Three-Fifths Compromise.
E. the Black Codes of South Carolina.

The Cumberland Road

This will be good for some easy points of EXTRA CREDIT on Wednesday, October 31 . Bring the answers with you to class. I will NOT take this late.

Go to this site ( by History Magazine and read the article on the importance of the Cumberland, or National Road.
1. Why was the road so important?
2. Explain the economic impact of the road.
3. How did the road help American expansion?
4. Who was Henry Clay (you may have to do research or recall this information– it’s not in the article) and why did he support the construction of the road?
5. Where, exactly, was the Road?

Links for further information:
The Building of the Cumberland Road

Chapter 14 questions

Due Monday, October 22.

Make sure you are answering thoroughly and doing your own work in your own words.

1. What were the specific causes of the rise of the market economy in the early 19th century?
2. What specific hardships did those living on the frontier (the West) face? What adjectives best describe frontier settlers in terms of their education and intellectual attitudes? Why does your text refer to the West as “the most typically American part of America?”
3. What is ecological imperialism? How and why did George Catlin oppose this?
4. Where did the “surplus people” come from?
5. Which country provided the largest source of immigrants in the 1840s and 1850s, and what were the push factors that drove these people from the native country? Where did these people tend to settle in the US, and why? How many of them settled in the US between 1830 and 1860?
6. Why did native-born people tend to distrust this group (in question 5) in particular (explain religious reasons and secret societies)? What was the Order of the Star Spangled Banner? What fear did nativists have about immigrant impact on our religious and cultural heritage? What true impact did immigrants have upon the US economy?
7. How were German immigrants different from Irish immigrants in terms of their settlement patterns? How did the Irish begin to influence urban politics, especially in New York?
8. Where did the modern factory system begin? How did Britain attempt to protect its virtual monopoly in the textile industry? What role did Samuel Slater play?
9. Where did American business find the capital to develop and expand? Which of these three things necessary for business development—capital, raw materials, and labor—did the US have most abundantly?
10. What technological innovations were Americans creating during this time period? Make a chart with the creators, DATES, and inventions/innovations.
11. In what industry did the industrial revolution first center in the US, and why? Where was this manufacturing concentrated in the US? What group of people benefitted most from manufacturing enterprises?
12. What were the main markets for Southern cotton? Why did the South not develop more textile manufacturing at this time? How did Eli Whitney accidentally encourage the expansion of slavery?
13. What was the innovation most responsible for the growth of modern mass manufacturing?
14. What role did women and children play in early US manufacturing? Explain the “cult of domesticity” and explain the discord between belief in this ideal and the first part of this question. 15. How were American families affected by the increasing industrialization of America? How did the home come to be viewed as work moved away from it and to a separate location (such as a factory?)
16. How did unions develop in the business sector, and what was the relevance of the case of Commonwealth v. Hunt? What impact did the panic of 1837 have on unionization, and why? What finally enabled workers to have more influence over conditions under which they labored, from a legal standpoint?
17. Explain the development of transportation during this time period as a necessary function of economic development. Where and when were roads, canals, turnpikes, and railroads being built? Include dates and specifics. What impact did the transportation revolution have upon sectionalism?
18. What was the significance of the Cumberland Road, and where was it?
19. What impact did Robert Fulton have upon river transportation?
20. What does the phrase “canal consequences” mean? What impact did the development of roads and canals have upon the importance of the Mississippi?
21. What legal questions were raised by the growth of the market economy?
22. What was the impact of industrialization on Americans’ standard of living (also consider children in your answer)?

Andrew Jackson review materials

This is from a PBS special called Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil, and the Presidency, and has a glossary of terms about Jackson’s presidency:

Here is the History Channel’s biography of Jackson: