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The Market Revolution Terms

Internal Improvements

Government funded projects such roads, canals, bridges, and harbors. Policy-makers questioned Congress's constitutional authority to fund internal improvements during this period therefore state and local governments financed the majorities of these projects.

Merchant Capitalists

Entrepreneurs who establish increasing control over certain trades and industries and displace small craftsmen and shop owners. Many do not have experience in a particular trade or craft, but they know how to secure capital and organize production and distribution on a large scale, thereby taking advantage of the new opportunities emerging during the market revolution.

Master Craftsman

The highest status among workers in a particular craft. Tradesmen such as carpenters, shoemakers, and coopers generally worked their way up from apprentices to journeymen to master craftsman.

Joint Stock Company

A "quasi"-corporation. Owners pool their resources and receive stock certificates in return that can be sold or transferred. Generally, however, shareholders do not enjoy limited liability; their other assets are not protected from court action or creditors.


A form of business organization in which the business acquires a legal status separate from its owners; this limits the liability or risks of the owners by placing their other assets beyond the reach of court action and creditors. Corporations divide ownership into units represented by shares of stock that can be transferred or exchanged. Corporations are also generally characterized by the separation of ownership from management; thus shareholders often play very little role in the practical management of the corporation.

Bottom line: if you sue a corporation, you can’t go after Richie McRich who owns the corporation, too.

American System (Clay's)

A plan for national economic development and integration promoted by Kentucky statesman Henry Clay. The plan called for tariffs to protect American industries, conservative land policies that would restrain western migration and boost profits for western farmers, and internal improvements such as roads, canals, and bridges that would tie eastern manufacturers and western farmers into a mutually beneficial circle of exchange.

American System (manufacturing)

A manufacturing process employing water-driven technologies, continuous production, and precision-cut standardized components to mass-produce standardized goods. American manufacturers utilized this process to produce clocks, furniture, shot-guns, carriages, and wagons.


As applied during the early nineteenth century, this refers to the form of Christianity that spread during revivalist movement known as the Second Great Awakening. Doctrinally, evangelicalism emphasized that individuals could gain salvation through prayer and repentance. Itinerant clergy and relatively young denominations, such as the Baptists, Methodists, Disciples of Christ, spread this movement.


Among nineteenth-century Christians, sanctification referred to the personal reform, moral purification, and pursuit of holiness that must accompany salvation.


A tax on an imported good that provides the federal government with revenue and protects domestic producers of that good from competition.

A tax on an imported good. Tariffs are a source of government revenue but often they are imposed to increase the price of the imported good and protect domestic goods from foreign competition. One of the common tools of protectionism.


The religious excitement, denominational growth, and enthusiastic attendance at camp meetings, church services, and prayer meetings that occurs periodically in American history. The revivalism of the early nineteenth century is labeled the Second Great Awakening.


The Christian belief that a 1000-year period of temporal peace and prosperity will accompany the end of the world. The exact timing of the millennium relative to other final events is debated.

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