Early Globalization and the Economic Development of the United States and Brazil

By John Dewitt | Go to book overview

Chapter 8

Nineteenth-Century Transformations

Many dramatic changes occurred during the nineteenth century as the United States and Brazil continued their distinct economic development courses set during early globalization. The United States was transformed from a maritime and agricultural country in the global economy periphery to the world’s leading industrial state competing with Great Britain for core leadership. Explosive growth of railroads united the huge national territory. The 1800s witnessed great changes in territorial limits, transportation, industry, urbanization, agriculture, immigration, and population size and distribution.

Many changes took place in Brazil as well, but the giant of South America ended the century as a semiperipheral state with an economy based on the export of agricultural products. As in the United States, national territory increased, and there were major changes in regional transportation networks, immigration, agriculture, urbanization, and population size. Brazil did not develop a national transportation network, however, which hampered industrialization, settlement of the interior, and formation of a national market.

Slavery was abolished by the Civil War in the United States and by parliamentary action in Brazil. National political influence of large landowners in the United States was demolished, but the landed elite continued to dominate national, state, and local politics in Brazil through the nineteenth century and beyond.

Freed slaves joined the ranks of the rural and urban poor. The fate of agricultural workers in former slave areas of Brazil and the United States was

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