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American Economic History Since Colonial Period Essay


Free laborers were people who were freed from slavery. In fact, most of these people were black Americans. They were born mostly as a result of slave owners having affairs with their female slaves hence siring children. These children got freed from slavery hence bringing about free laborers.

Very few free laborers came to North America due to harsh conditions faced by slaves. This was due to the fact that racial segregation was prevalent in North America. The white discriminated against other races hence keeping free laborers away from the North. In fact, free laborers who happened to be born outside North America could not try to go there for fear of being taken into slavery (Hughes and Cain 126).

There was high demand for slaves in the North to work in farms. There was no need for free laborers when one could get access to slaves. This was another reason why remarkably few free laborers settled in North America. In addition, majority of those freed from slavery owned land with some owning slaves hence no need to look for another form of labor.

North America invested in fighting illiteracy hence empowering most of its citizens. These people were given chores that could be done by free laborers hence reducing demand for them. For Instance, free laborers could be allocated duties such as supervising slaves and these duties were given to the literate North American citizens. Finally, there was a need to control balance between the laborers population and North Americans hence ensuring that there was no labor for free laborers hence reducing their demand and movement to the North.

Standard of Living in Colonial America

The standard measure of living standards is the Gross Domestic Product per capita. This measure is adjusted according to changes in the price level of commodities leading to inflation or deflation. In fact, a lot of changes in colonial America were influenced by the English colonizers. Americans adapted much of English habits and ways of life. For instance, most of the America’s institutions were modeled in line with their English equivalents.

Colonial America was characterised by high birth rates and immigration. Immigration was instigated by factors such as fear for religious wars causing people to migrate from America to other places. Other people were attracted by the growing economy hence migrating towards American colonies. This means that the living standards of people were enhanced by economic growth where some became traders.

Families were based on economic and social aspects of colonial life. Many people lived on farms working for their fortunes (Hughes and Cain 109). In fact, the general society thrived in rural setups as there were extremely few towns. This is the reason why many people lived in farms practicing agriculture. Americans experienced higher standards of living than people in Europe during their colonial period.

Health of American people improved as Americans learnt a lot from Europeans. In fact, there was the establishment of hospitals in America which targeted areas with high population such as areas around farms. These institutions improved lives of Americans hence reducing the mortality rate. Finally, modern economic growth began in 1820s when industrialisation began. During this time, things changed dramatically for America as industrial goods could be packed for export hence bringing a lot of income to the economy.

Economic factors that led many Americans to favor a revolution and separation from England

Americans were discontented with the autocratic rule from England whereby the king had exceptional powers. This is where the king practiced his authority over America leading to a revolt. In fact, Americans were not comfortable with getting orders from overseas to manage their own land. They felt that they needed to have one of their own controlling their resources in a democratic manner.

Americans were against over taxation by the colonial government. They felt that there was nothing done with their taxes to improve their lives hence demanding to pull off. In fact, England overtaxed Americans unfairly in order to pay its debts incurred during its war with French and the move angered Americans calling for a revolt (Hughes and Cain 88). In addition, Americans demanded that they want to be represented in parliament a move that was opposed by England. They felt that if they were represented they could be able to benefit from heavy taxation imposed on them by the king’s government. The king was opposed to this because he knew that it was hard to exploit Americans if they had a representative in parliament.

Americans favored a revolt because they knew that once they were successful they were going to form their own government with their own leaders. This means that Americans were no longer to be subjected to oppression and mistreatment by England. In addition, they knew that, with their own constitution, individual rights were going to be protected.

Americans got enlightened where many middle aged Americans had acquired literacy hence enlightening others on the importance of having a government of their own. Some had learnt about how to run governments hence educating others on how they should revolt against England and acquire their freedom.

Implications of the principal economic features of the Constitution for economic development in the United States

Some of the main economic features of the constitution for economic development in the United States include requisitions to the state governments asking them to fund the federal government. This happens in a case where the federal government is unable to pay its debts some of which may be domestic. This provision in the constitution allows the federal government to request for money collected by states government in form of taxes. This cash should be used to settle those debts. In fact, this provision is extremely healthy since the federal government cannot be rendered ineffective due to lack of funds. The federal government acts on behalf of all states; therefore, it should be allowed in the constitution to ask for money in such situations. Another provision in the constitution is denying the central government powers to control trade regulations (Hughes and Cain 101). This is important because each state produces different products hence allowing the central government to control trade could be unfair.

It is economically viable for each state to come up with their own trade regulations aimed at controlling their own production and other trade activities. On the other hand, interstate commerce ends up being hectic due to trade barriers. This is where each state imposes its own taxes and duties to imports making trade so expensive or impossible. As a result, the economy is seriously hurt by such decisions because traders tend to shy from unrealistic duties. Therefore, this calls for a strong central government that will set up realistic duties applicable to all states in order to handle trade barriers. This provision should be in the constitution for it to be effected to the letter hence translating to a positive growth in the economy.

Alexander Hamilton’s economic program for the United States

Hamilton’s economic program was measures presented inform of three reports by American founding father and Alexander Hamilton. These measures were namely the first report on public credit, second report on public credit and report on manufacturers. His first report on credit detailed the financial position of the United States of America. These included its debts to other countries as well as from home. For instance, during the American Revolution the United States had borrowed a lot of money from domestic sources and Europe. Therefore, it was necessary to have all that recorded so that the new government could plan on how to settle debts. In addition, the report had several recommendations on how to settle those debts and the congress approved his payment plans. They decided to pay off US$ 11 million which was a debt to creditors from foreign countries.

His second report on credit addressed issues concerning the establishment of a bank in America. The proposal was supported by leaders who believed that establishment of a bank in the United States would have a significant impact to their economy (Hughes and Cain 96). In fact, the bank to be established was expected to serve as a depository for the government funds and act as a fiscal agent for the US treasury. Hamilton faced opposition but eventually he emerged the winner with the congress approving his proposals and the bank began its operations in 1791.

Finally, the report on manufacturers was concerned with economic policies aimed at ensuring that businesses were controlled by the government. This was crucial since it aimed at helping the central government to collect revenue from various economic activities within the United States of America. This was to be achieved by encouraging growth in manufacturing industry and ensuring that the growth is secured for the future. He also recommended that the government ensure that jobs were created hence encouraging migration into the US.

Federal Land Policy from 1785 to the Civil War

After the revolutionary war came to an end there were treaties regarding allocation of land in America. In fact, the US was left to occupy land to the North West which was left unoccupied. The North West territories included the land south of Canada, North of Ohio River and east of the Mississippi river. The federal government of the United States had 1.2 billion acres of land by 1850. The congress believed that land was wealth and could decide on who should be the beneficiaries of land. Their policy said that land could be sold at full value and the wealth be retained for the country (Hughes and Cain 116). This means that the government could sell land and keep the money in the government accounts for the country. On the other hand, they could decide to give out land to American citizens who needed land and were worth being given. For instance, they could give land to the landless in order to distribute government resources equally. Unfortunately, the government failed to achieve its set goals by selling land and retaining the profits for the country. This ended up benefiting purchasers at the expense of poor and landless citizens.

Major transformation in Northern agriculture in the first half of the nineteenth century

The first half of the nineteenth century was characterised by the green revolution and other technological advancements which had a positive impact in the Northern Agriculture. For example, there was research which led to introduction of high yield varieties of crops with significant resistance to drought and pests. This transformed agricultural practices in northern America as farmers relied on these new varieties. In fact, they ended up being economic to farmers as they were assured of harvest since many threats were catered for by the new varieties.

There was an expansion in irrigation methods hence helping farmers to make use of water from rivers instead of waiting for rain to plant their crops. This increased production since farmers utilized all their resources to ensure that their farms were busy all the time. In addition, there was modernisation in management techniques, which transformed agriculture in a great way. For instance, farmers could manage their workers and other resources for maximum utilisations and reduce wastage.

Synthetic fertilizers came into use during this time hence boosting production in a great manner. This has been evident where farmers make use of these fertilizers to improve fertility of soil in their farms (Hughes and Cain 106). Pesticides were made available to farmers at affordable costs hence helping them to fight pests that posed dangers to their crops. In addition, use of farm machineries also started in the first half of the nineteenth century hence playing key roles in transformation of agriculture in Northern America. For instance, use of tractors fueled by diesel for tilling and preparing land for planting. All these advancement in the field of agriculture led to the gradual transformation of agriculture in North America.

Works Cited

Hughes, Jonathan, and Louis Cain. American Economic History, New York: Pearson Addison-Wesley, 2010. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'American Economic History Since Colonial Period'. 5 September.

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