Yankee Merchants and the Making of the Urban West: The Rise and Fall of Antebellum St. Louis

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By the early 1850s, St Louis was one of the fastest-growing cities in America. In this book, Jeffrey Adler analyzes the forces that determined the role of western cities in the national economy. He devotes particular attention to the ways in which Yankee merchants forged ties that linked St Louis to the New York and Boston markets. Northeastern businessmen fuelled the ascent of St Louis and made the city a Yankee colony in the West. During the mid-1850s powerful political and cultural forces altered the sources of urban growth in the West. As a result, the economy of St Louis collapsed. Yankee merchants stopped migrating to the city and ceased investing in local businesses. This book demonstrates that the sectional crisis abruptly transformed St Louis's role in the national economy, redirecting the flow of capital and migrants away from St. Louis and toward a smaller western city - Chicago.