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Kessner Reaction

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Following the Civil War, the United States experienced an unprecedented economic growth. A growing industrial system and eastern market help to transform America's economy. New York City stood at the center of this economic boom, becoming the busiest port and manufacturing center, attracting the most ambitious and innovative people the 19th Century had to offer. Kessner does an excellent job at illustrating the significant role New York City played in transforming "a small nation of scattered farms into the world's leading economic power"(Kessner xi).

New York City's financial influences and affluent business environment fueled American capitalism. Kessner points out that New York's incredible harbors and waterways facilitated a profitable mercantile business. It was fascinating to read that New York alone had enough resources to finance the Civil War. This incredible fact makes it evident that New York City stood at the center of the American economy following the Civil War. Kessner goes on to say that New York had "become America's technological showplace, its communications and information capital, its financial center." As a New Yorker it is fascinating to read and learn about this remarkable transformation that made my city the nation's financial capital.

New York's economic boom created a new class of workers and a new style of doing business. Kessner points out that the civil war intensified the already "highly competitive economy that more than ever reward fast talking over deliberation, display over substance, speculation and boldness over achievement. It was captivating to learn how a new fast paced business styled evolved to become what it is today. Kessner does an excellent job of pointing out new developments that transformed New York City to the capital city. For example, he points out that the three major railways "now led from the American interior to New York, while six regional telegraph networksÐ'...brought Gothem into direct conversation with the rest of the country. It is truly remarkable how all-new major advancements revolved around New York City. Improvements and advancements in New York transit helped to promote commerce. Kessner portrays these transit improvements as "freeing New Yorkers" from having to live within walking distance of urban life. I was intrigued as Kessner illustrates the implement of " a spare grid of lengthwise streets crossed by perpendicular avenues." It was fascinating to read about city traffic in 1866 lower Broadway and "the pandemonium and recurring battles over rights of way on the clotted streets resulted in



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