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The growth of manufacturing in Pittsburgh, and the growth of specific industries, cotton, iron, and glass, for example, have received some attention, but the basic economic developments in southwestern Pennsylvania as a whole have not received the same attention. Yet, in 1850 and 1860 over sixty percent of the population lived outside of the urban area around Pittsburgh. While manufacturing continued to grow, most rapidly in the Pittsburgh area, the people of the region as a whole had to deal with transportation, agricultural, labor, and monetary problems. This study is an attempt to examine the basic influences and trends in the economic development of southwestern Pennsylvania in the decade before the Civil War and the responses to a rapidly changing economic order.