The early 19th century was a transformative period in American history, characterized by significant changes in the country's economic, social, and political landscape. These changes were largely driven by the Industrial Revolution and the aftermath of the American Revolution. The result was a society that was vastly different from the one that existed just a few decades earlier. In this blog post, we will explore the major changes that shaped American society in the early 19th century. Through an in-depth analysis of this fascinating topic, we will gain insights into the political, economic, and social forces that transformed America during this period. We will examine how these changes continue to impact American society today, and provide an example essay to illustrate these developments. Join us as we journey back in time to discover the fascinating story of early 19th century America.

Major Changes in the American Society in the Early 19th Century


The advent of the 19th century in fundamental ways changed the everyday life in the American society. This was mainly a result of the Industrial Revolution that was taking place at that point in time. By and large, there was a major transformation in the economy of the entire world, thus leading to several changes in the American society at large.

Business and the Economy

One of the fundamental changes in the American society at the beginning of the 19th century was in the field of commerce and the financial system. This is due to the fact that previously, the United States was tremendously rural with most of the products being imported from Europe (LST -Kingwood Library). However, as a result of the American Revolution which was also taking place at this time, major changes took place. American businessmen changed from exporting 75% of American products to the United Kingdom, as well as her colonies to exporting a paltry 10% of American products to the same places (LST -Kingwood Library).

Additionally, there was a call to trim down the influence of the Bank of the United States. This led to the establishment of state banks all over the United States. At the beginning of the century, there were at least 29 state chartered banks, a move that transformed America’s fiscal structure (LST -Kingwood Library). In addition to this, a report was submitted to the Congress by the Treasury Secretary, which called for the federal government to construct better canals and roads to open up the American hinterland. This greatly boosted trade all over the country (LST -Kingwood Library).

Migration and Immigration

In the early 19th century, the population of the United States started to increase. This forced people to push into new areas in search for land. As a result, the Harrison Land Act led to the establishment of land offices near the sale lands to assist people to buy land and settle in new places. Consequently, many people acquired land in new places, which lead to the growth of urban centers. Additionally, farmers also continued to move into new places to set up large farms.

At this point in time, there was also an increase in the number of immigrants arriving in the ports of the United States. According to historians, it is estimated that close to 250,000 people came to the United States, with the largest group of people to arrive being Scotch Irish (LST -Kingwood Library). Most of these people became indentured servants. The difficult times in Europe forced many immigrants from Germany and Ireland to arrive in the United States, being lured by great hope in the new country.


At the beginning of the 19th century, there were little changes in the education fraternity. This was as a result of education being considered as a family or local duty. However, as time went by, there were calls for educating the population of the new country. As a result, people began advocating for an educated populace for the nation (LST -Kingwood Library). This led to the establishment of rudimentary schools with public financing for education being made available. After a couple of years, the University of Georgia, the first state university, was founded.

Social Changes

At the beginning of the 19th century, a great awakening arose all over the United States. This consisted of religious revivals that saw as many as 10,000 people gathering in places like Kentucky. This led to the spread of the concept of personal salvation. Consequently, religious freedom was promoted, thus leading to the establishment of numerous denominations such as Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and Presbyterian churches.

The growth of these denominations promoted voluntary associations, as well as missionary societies which were committed to sending orthodox pastors to several parts of the country (LST -Kingwood Library). Apparently, most of these people were teachers, as well as women. This new development permitted women to take up leadership roles which were previously predominantly held by men (LST -Kingwood Library). In conclusion, it is evident that the advent of the 19th century brought with it fundamental changes in the American society.

Work Cited

Lone Star College-Kingwood Library. About the 19th Century Decades Pages. Web. 20th Dec. 2012.