The Market Revolution

The Market Revolution and the Changes in Women’s Work (Nancy F. Cott) •The essay starts off with a quote by Martha Moore Ballard: “A woman’s work is never done. ” -60 years old -Housekeeper and domestic manufacturer for a working farm -Baked and brewed -Pickled and preserved -Spun and sewed -Made soap and dipped candles -Trusted healer and midwife (delivered more than a 1,000 babies) -Very typical in the 18th century on the frontier for women to be familiar with various skills. -This helped in building social relationships with the neighbors and also making money. Example: have more skills, build more contacts, make more money •The New England economy changed from agricultural and house-hold production base to commercial to industrial. –
This change occurred between 1780 and 1835 due to the following reasons: -Extension of the size of the market -Increases in agricultural efficiency -Reduction in transportation costs -Specialization of economic function -Division of labor -Concentration of industry -It used to be that subsistence farming and household production for the family was the norm. -Also, some members of the family specialized in different crafts: blacksmith, tailors, and weavers. During all this, merchant capitalism was introduced. -taking risks -supplying capital -searching for markets -attempting to maximize profits by producing standardized goods at the least cost -The aim of this concept was to reach a wider market –
Also, I think that that this was not just a way to organize production, but also a way to organize trade. In the beginning it was that workers brought their own raw materials and made the finished product and sold it, but now the worker had to work with a network of people to make the finished product. Market-oriented production helped in the development of manufacturing and the factory system. -Now that people wanted to cater to a wider market, the shops became larger and more specialized. -A place for production vs. A place for selling •Within this, there was a “putting-out” or “given-out” system. -The merchant would “put-out the raw materials to be worked up and collected them when they were finished and ready to be sold. -Ex. With cotton, the merchant would buy the raw materials and take it to the rural areas or countryside and get it woven there. This way they avoided guilds and unions.
Also, avoided the regulations and set standards of trade. -Most of this work was done by women at home. -This shows the importance of specialization and division of labor that was critical in this era. -Ex. Farmers focused on subsistence farming and now commercial farming. •With the manufacturing and factory system, women started working. -During the late 18th century, both married and unmarried women did their primary work in the households. -Ex. Sally Ripley, a tradesman’s daughter in Massachusetts, and in her diary she wrote that father had to go out of city, he put her in charge of the store.

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