chapter  3
15 Pages

THE GRAND TRAVERSE OF THE AMERICAN ECONOMY, 1865-1900

The history-making developments of the last three decades of the nineteenth century had their origins in the 1850s. Structural trends in the economy were probably unaffected by the bloody 1861-1865 conflict-“ the red business,” Walt Whitman called it-although the triumph of industrial capitalism would not have been so complete without the institutional shifts the war effected. The demise of slavery marked a turning point in national politics, and it removed the last obstacle to northern industrial hegemony and the expansion of the capitalist mode of production to continental dimensions.