Business, College of


Date of this Version

December 1979


Published by Journal of Economic History, Vol XXXIX, No. 4 (Dec. 1979). Copyright © The Economic History Association. Used by permission.


By viewing urban areas in the northeast quadrant of the United States as a system of cities, this paper attempts to isolate the common factors precipitating the overall pattern of urbanization in the nineteenth century. For the antebellum period commercial activity, both interregional and especially intraregional trade, appears to be the driving force generating urbanization. During the post-bellum period manufacturing comes to the fore as the prime factor allowing cities to grow at a rate exceeding that of their hinterland.

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