The Steam Mill and Jacksonian Politics: The Career of William N. Jeffers

Bruce A. Bendler


Political and economic transitions reshaped New Jersey as they did throughout the United States during the 1820s. By the end of that decade an emergent second party system, centered on support of or opposition to Andrew Jackson, defined both national and state elections. The “Market Revolution” had begun to transform the nation’s economy. Industrialization and improvements in the transportation network led to the eclipse of purely local markets by national ones. Politicians and entrepreneurs at the local level sought to adapt to such transitions. William N. Jeffers of Salem County, New Jersey, so adapted his approach to both political and economic relationships. Jeffers furthered his political ambitions by identification with the Jacksonian movement in New Jersey. He sought to advance his economic ambitions by obtaining a charter for a bank and for a steam mill to take advantage of Salem County’s agricultural economy.

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