Capitalism and Theology: Did America’s capitalistic modes of production lead to the rich and varied philosophy, theology, and beliefs that our democratic experiment exemplifies?
The Market Revolution of America’s boom years was a dynamic hotchpotch of theological and technological evolution that culminated in America as both the economic and cultural leader of the free world, the specialization it embraced as a capitalistic mechanism was mirrored by the staggering multiplicity of american faith and belief.
After America’s second victory over Imperial Britain in the War of 1812 (concluded in 1815), the technological advancements of the time, teamed with new tracts of land, facilitated prodigious production of agriculture, which in turn drove more and more to produce, often westward to the newly acquired lands of middle-America purchased from Napoleonic France in 1803’s Louisiana Purchase.
American inventor Eli Whitney of Yale had revolutionized the production of cotton in 1793 with his cotton gin, which made the hard-seeded cotton that was previously impractical to process a valuable, and easily grown, commodity. This led to banksters giving out loans with future crops as collateral (the loans themselves bolstered the money supply) to people eager for a slice of the american dream. These would-be farmers flocked to undeveloped land tracts to participate in the agricultural pay-day.
Other advancements, such as the steamboat, seeing western rivers in 1811, worked to facilitate this commercial boom. The Roberts Fulton & Livingston invented and redesigned, respectively, the steamboat which became the workhorse of an America yet to have solid road or rail infrastructures.
Further fueling demand for American entrepreneurship was Sir Francis Cabot Lowell’s revolutionary mill system, which exponentially increased production of cotton into tangible goods.
The Waltham-Lowell Mill System was a key ingredient to the advancement of women, and upset gender roles of ‘Republican Motherhood’ advocated by America’s patrician caste. Now women who wanted to escape, or simply work outside the home, had a venue for income, and ultimately independence.
The Enlightenment Ideals, somewhat put on hold during the wars, freely spread through a network of mail and newspapers, which after the Great Awakenings worked to propagate new reflections and evolutions of long-standing religious tradition.
America had been flocked to by religious fundamentalists throughout its years, from The Thirty Years’ War to the Protestant & English Reformations. This led to a zeitgeist of hyper-radical ideologies and an occult / esoteric tradition peculiar to America and exemplified by mid-New York’s Burned Over District, home to radical Quakers, Mormons, Spiritualists, and Feminists.
The easy communication infrastructure that was a mechanism of the commercial market revolution led to and sustained a multiplicity of philosophies and beliefs which to this day mark America as the most culturally and ideologically diverse democracy on the planet.
Everett Tucker is the creator and editor of Mystic Politics. He is condescending, overconfident, under-educated, and extremely interested in exploring religiopolitical overlap, the psychology of belief, and the conspiratorial tropes & memes- real or otherwise- of popular culture. Signup for email updates to be notified of future journalistic hack work.
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