Due to cheaper prices, people could afford more food, which resulted in a population boom across America. The population growth caused many Americans to migrate to other regions.
Squatters lived on public lands illegally and claimed they took risks in settling in the land and improving it. On the other hand, speculators bought public lands and sold it to farmers quickly, causing prices to rise.
In cities, people found jobs but also crowded housing, poor sanitation, infectious diseases, and high rates of crime. No water systems or sewers existed, so mosquito-borne diseases from wells were common.
Some women found employment outside home, such as domestic service and teaching. Most of the working women were single.
Sidney & Neff, Detail from Plan of the City of Lowell, Massachusetts, 1850. Wikimedia Commons.
Lowell Girls worked in a textile factory in Lowell, Massachusetts. However, most women did not work in factories. A majority of women earned their own money working at home.
The Cult of Domesticity, the idea of separate spheres for men and women, described that men were superior in making money and governing the world while women were superior in influencing family members. It idealized the women as a mother and homemaker. Home became a shelter from the outside world.
Wages improved, and more economic opportunities opened up. Yet, the gap between the rich and poor increased. Rich people had been born into wealthy families, and it was difficult for the poor to become rich. Eventually, people blamed the poor for being poor.