Growth Of New York 1825-1860 Essay Research

Growth Of New York, 1825-1860 Essay, Research Paper New York’s growth between the years 1825 and 1860 can be attributed to a number of factors. These include but cannot be limited

Growth Of New York, 1825-1860 Essay, Research Paper

New York’s growth between the years 1825 and 1860 can be

attributed to a number of factors. These include but cannot be limited

to the construction of the Erie Canal, the invention of the telegraph,

the developed of the railroads, the establishment of Wall Street and

banking, the textile, shipping, agriculture and newpaper industries,

the development of steam power and the use of iron products. On

October 26, 1825 the Erie Canal was opened. The canal immediately

became an important commercial route connecting the East with the Ohio

and Mississippi Valleys. With tht time of travel cut to one-third and

the cost of shipping freight cut to one-tenthof the previous figures,

commerce via the canal soon made New York City the chief port of the

Atlantic. The growing urban population and the contruction of canals,

railroads and factories stimulated the demand for raw materials and

food stuffs. In 1836 four-fifths of the tonnage over the Erie Canal

came from western New York (North, 105). Much of this cargo was in the

form of agriculture goods.

The farmer become a shrewed businessman of sorts as he tended

to produce whatever products would leave him the greatest profit

margin. The rise of the dairy industry was by far the most significant

development in the agricultural history of the state between 1825 and

1860. Farmers discovered that cows were their most relliable

money-makers, since both the domestic and foreign market kept

demanding more dairy products (Ellis, 273). Price flucuations became

increasingly important for the farming population between 1825 and

1860. Prices rose from the low level of the early 1820’s until the

middle 1830’s and the farmer’s shared in the general prosperity (271).

Although the rapid industrialization and urbanization of New York had

a great deal to do with the success of agricultural markets sporadic

demand from aboard as a result of the Irish famine, the Crimean War

and the repeal of the Corn Laws in England also contributed(North,

141). During this period Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia,

in that order were the leading wheat growing states. Between the years

1840 and 1850 New York ranked first in the production of beef.

The absence of politic party differences on issues related to

the the growth of democracy existed in regard to the foremost economic

questions, there was absolutely no partisan division evident in the

movement to incorporate new financial institutions; rather, the

primary factors, which the legislators examined, concerned value,

feasibility, profit and the location within the state. Dozens of

turnpike proposals, most of which werebacked by the Republicans,

passed the legislature; but the Federalists cooperated, seeing the

chance for profits. Prominent Federalists like John Rutherfurd, John

Neilson, William Paterson, John Bayard, and James Parker invested

susstanial sums in the turnpike business. There were numerous

Republicans who were also vitally interested in the turnpike business

(Kass, 150). Bipartisan support also accompanied plans for the

construction of bridges and canals. All of the parties contained a

large number of adherents from from every level of economic well-being

in society. This helps to expain the absence of any clear-cut party

differences on the major economic issues of the such as the chartering

of banks, the protestive tariff, internal improvements, the

development of manufacturing, and the promotion of superior

agricultural techniques. Each politcal faction had segments both pro

and con on most of these questions, and, inall cases it was

opprtunism, the desire for profits, which was decisive in determining

one’s political position on these economic issues(175).

New York’s economic growth can also be attributed to the

invention of the cotton gin. Cotton had become a boom crop in the

south, however, plantation owners were either too engrossed in the

production of their crops or too unschooled in business techiniques to

handle its distribution. Some just did not want to be bothered. This

opened the door for agents representing New York shipping firms who

were only too happy to help them out – for a fee. This scheme not only

earned the New York merchants a handsome profit but also solved the

problem that without cotton the ship owner would be hards preesed to

find adequate cargoes for their return voyages. And so it came about

that New York in the nineteeth century became the nation’s foremost

shipper of cotton(Allen, 108-109). The cotton shipments entering New

York harbor were brought to textile mills for processing. A group of

New York capitalist estashlished the Harmony Cotton Manufacturing

Company in Cohoes. A heavy investment of capital caused the rapid

growth of the factory system, which was mass production with

integration of processes and produced a high quality cotton cloth as

well as other textiles(Ellis, 266).

This set the scene for an industrial society by widening the

market, manufacturing increased rapidly throughout this period,

although development varied enormously from industry to industry.

Often developments were due to improvements in technical processes

such as the adoption of steam power and the use of anthracite coal

instead of charcoal by the iron industry. The metallurgical industries

employed thousands for skillful workers who produced a variety of iron

and steel products, such as farm machinery, pistols, sewing machines,

clocks and stoves. These products were being produced using standard

parts and multiple quantities(267). The iron industry made rapid

progress as a result of this processas well as the expansion of the

railroad industry which created increased demand for iron products. It

can therefore be surmized that often growth in a one industry would

cause increased demand for another industry’s product, hence the boom

of both industries. The growth of manufacturing was the main impetus

to expansion , the industrial base broadened during this period,

reflecting the overall improvement in factor endowments for

manufacturing. Equally important was the cost decline in

transportation, which opened up new sites for manufacturing

development and reduced transport costs for existing firms (North,

208). Production increases required a retail market. In November of

1858, R.H. Macy established a department store in New York City

successfully implementing a fixed price policy on a large scale

developed by small New York stores since 1840 establishing a new

American retail sales custom (Spann, 125).

Some additional elements that should mentioned include the

founding of the New York Tribune by Horace Greely, the development of

the telegraph by Samuel Morse, the colaboration of six New York

newspapers who joined to pay telegragh costs of foreign news relayed

from Boston, and the establishment of a New York clearinghouse to

facilitate banking operations.

Research reveals that the reasons for the success of New

York’s business enterprise between 1825 and 1860 were enumerous with

no reason weighting more heavily than another with the exception of as

Ellis states that, “Plank roads, railroads, canals, steamships-all had

revolutionary effects on the economy of New York. The predominately

self-sufficent farmer of pioneer days was gradually tramnsformed into

a specialized commercial farmer sensitive to every shift in the

markets. The isolation of many rural communities was breaking down as

citzens and goods flowed freely in and out. Merchants in both the

upstae and metropolitan region, recognizing the crucial role of canals

and railroads, looked with satisfaction upon the finest and most

actively expanding transportation network in the country. New York

grew steadily in population, wealth, and trade largely to the splendid

system of water and rail transportation promoted by its citizens in

this period.”, but all entwinding to create a boom of business

expansion during this period. It appeared as if we were developing not

only as a state but as a civilized nation whenever this development

would be curtailed by the onsloat of a civil war.

Works Cited

Allen, Oliver E. New York, New York: A History of the World’s Most

Exhilarating and Challenging City. New York: Macmillan, 1990.

Ellis, David M., et al. A History of New York State. Ithaca: Cornell

UP, 1967.

Kass, Alvin. Politics in New York State, 1800 -1830. Syracuse:

Syracuse UP, 1965.

North, Douglas C. The Economic Growth of the United States, 1790-1860.

New York: Norton, 1966.

Spann, Edward K. The New Metropolis: New York City, 1840-1857. New

York: Columbia UP, 1981.