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American Economic History from the 17th Century Report (Assessment)


The economic and political forces that emerged in the last quarter of the 17th century

In the last quarter of the 17th century, America started to develop rather fast. They were mainly occupied in farming and planting. The owners of plantations and farms were rather influential initially because they mainly came from the aristocracy. However, a great focus on these spheres observed at that time also made them hold the most of the political power. Having a lot of slaves, they managed to ensure that their colonies produce enough raw materials to maximize the nation’s wealth.

It was the main goal of mercantile policies adopted by the developed countries, including America, in the late 17th century. They also dealt with the desire to establish economic supremacy and accumulate money. These ideas were carried out in the framework of the Navigation Laws. Focusing on trade within this legislation, aristocrats kept in touch with their partners from the overseas and applied the discussed legislation on these relations.

Realizing the necessity to produce more materials, they started to encroach upon the rights of people. At the same time, economic growth was hindered, and smuggling became common. In this way, the freedom of colonies was affected, and they had to work for national goals. As a result, the adoption of mercantile policies made people speak of their essential rights and caused protests. Heavy taxes and restrictions that were declared at that time made the representatives of the general public dissatisfied as well. With time, this problem became more critical and led to the American Revolution. Thus, the adopted mercantile policies served as a trigger that provided slaves with an opportunity to become free and urged a further war.

Strong and weak “federalism” in American institutions

Both Hamilton and Jefferson were the representatives of the Federal party. However, their views differed to some degree even though they accepted the same main ideas. Their contribution was rather significant for the country, as it helped to develop the dual party system that is established in contemporary America. Regardless of this similarity, the men had a lot of opposite views. For instance, Hamilton considered the establishment of a national bank to be critical for the country because it can have a positive influence on manufacturing and tariffs. He believed that, in this framework, the power of the federal government could be supported.

Still, Jefferson did not support such ideas. He stated that the existing Bank of the United States was affected by British power. In addition to that, he did not believe the promotion of manufactures to be significant for the country. Similarly, Hamilton claimed that the government was to support the sphere of trade and finance and claimed that a balanced economy should be established among them while Jefferson rejected this idea, emphasizing the fact that agriculture was to be the main sphere of interest for the whole country. In this way, being focused on the development of manufacturing and commerce, Hamilton was not able to accept other ideas, such as the possibility of success of agrarian tradition.

He also considered that power should have been held by the representatives of the federal government while Jefferson believed that the general population could be treated as governors. Hamilton and Jefferson were also connected to slavery and related issues. Even though both of them were believed to have slaves and to be beneficiaries of slavery, it is claimed that they had some opposition towards it. However, it was never absolute.

The history of immigration to the U.S. and the internal migrations up to the 1920s

The immigration to the US is the movement that initially took place in the 17th century even before Africans were taken into the country. Back then, Europeans turned out to be the first ones to enter America. Of course, their arrival was not left without any attention from the citizens. Fortunately, the overall attitudes of the representatives of the US were rather positive, and they were happy to meet newcomers.

Transportation to the country was approached differently. Sometimes immigrants had to pay for it but not always. Unfortunately, soon the number of foreigners increased greatly, which led to the dissatisfaction of the local population. As a result, hostile attitudes towards immigrants increased. Mainly, this change was observed at the end of the 18th century. With the development of air travel, people from Asia and Latin America started entering the country. This change led to the establishment of even more severe restrictions in the second half of the 20th century. These led to slowed wages and an increase in immigration among low-income populations.

However, a better-educated workforce provided the country with more innovation. The internal migration that took place at the beginning of the 20th century made more people leave their homes and jobs in rural areas for urban ones. This change had an enormous influence on the economy because those industries that dealt with farming, for instance, were negatively affected. Labor unions were opposed immigration because they wanted to reduce the number of unskilled people while capitalist enterprises searched for talent and encouraged them to come to the US.

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