What is America's economic history

The economic history of the USA - a successful example of the economic development of a country?




2.1 The development of the east coast
2.2 The colonial economy
2.3 The Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War

3.1 The Monroe Doctrine
3.2 The conquest of the west

4.1 The slave question
4.2 The secession and the civil war
4.3. The reconstruction period

5.1 The economic development at the end of the 19th century
5.2 The USA and the First World War
5.3 The great depression
5.4 The Second World War: The events repeat themselves




List of abbreviations

Figure not included in this excerpt

1 Introduction

After the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and its leading force, the Soviet Union, the USA was the only so-called world power left. Although Russia, the legitimate successor of the Soviet state, also claims this status, it remains unmistakable that the USA exercises a far greater influence on the international community.

But the question arises, how did a former British colony become the leading power in the world? Why didn't she suffer the same fate as the other colonies?

In the present work the historical development of the economy of the United States of America is presented. A description of the development towards a political world power will not be given at this point. Furthermore, the economic development of the USA after 1945 is ignored, since the USA had already risen to become an economic and political world power towards the end of the Second World War. After a brief description of the formation of the British colonies on the American continent, the capitalist development in the 19th century is discussed in particular. Then the economic development in the 20th century is considered, with the effects of the two world wars on the USA being analyzed in more detail. In the end the question is answered whether the USA is a successful example of the economic development of a country.

Since a complete and comprehensive consideration of the historical development of the USA would expand the scope of this work considerably, reference is made to the further literature at this point.

2. The colonial development of the American continent

2.1 The development of the east coast

After Christopher Columbus landed on the American continent in 1492, the colonial conquest of America by the Spaniards began shortly afterwards, concentrating mainly on Central and South America.

After several voyages of discovery through other nations, such as England and the Netherlands, it was the English who made the first attempt at settlement in 1585. However, this attempt failed miserably because after about 4 years there were no more signs of a settlement to be found

But the settlement of America was by no means peaceful. The Dutch, who founded New Amsterdam, later New York, at the mouth of the Hudson in 1609, fought against the Swedes, who entered the new world in 1640. Only 17 years later New Sweden was lost and went to the Dutch. The French fought against the Spanish and the English fought against everything, against the Dutch, the French and the Spanish. In the second Anglo-Dutch naval war, New Amsterdam passed into British possession in 1664 without a fight. Yet another century would pass before the British also denied French claims to parts of America in 1759

Since the beginning of the 17th century, England had established several colonies on the east coast. Virginia was founded as the first colony in 1607, and the Pilgrim Fathers landed in Massachusetts in 1620. Georgia was founded in 1733 as the 13th colony. In 1760 there were 1,267,000 inhabitants in these colonies. After the French no longer threatened the colonists, they were no longer dependent on help from Londen. 3

2.2 The colonial economy

Since factories hardly existed due to lack of capital and labor, the economy in the 13 colonies was mainly agricultural. In addition to agriculture, however, the logging, fur trade, shipbuilding and fishing on the coast became increasingly important. Still, there was little opposition when the English mainland passed laws that reduced the colonies to a supplier of raw products and a buyer of finished goods. In addition to this exchange of goods with the mother country, a brisk trade with the West Indian archipelago developed. The islands supplied sugar and molasses for wood, meat and horses, from which rum was made, which was shipped to West Africa and traded for slaves

2.3 The Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War

The faster the British Empire expanded, the more money it needed. But the colonies of New England were in no way grateful for the financial and military support that London had given in the fight against the French. And the rebellion by no means came from the common people. The wealthy, influential circles of New England, who conducted the profitable trade with the West Indies, feared for their profit. It was they who did not think of accepting conditions and taxes or even restricting themselves.5 The colonies had seen themselves as independent political units, so that they now insisted on their right to self-government and did not recognize the laws of the English Parliament. The trade turnover with the British metropolitan area plummeted. The conflict intensified through the Boston massacre on March 5th, 1770 and the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 17736. The worsening differences with England led to the First Continental Congress in 1774, which was supposed to negotiate with England about the withdrawal of the English troops. However, at the resistance of King George III. and his Prime Minister, Lord North, the negotiations failed. On April 19th, 1775 there were first armed clashes in Massachusetts, on June 17th, 1775 at the Battle of Bunkers Hill, which the English won with heavy losses. On July 4th, 1776, Congress passed the Declaration of Independence, which, along with the Constitution, is one of the most important documents in the history of the American people. The release of the duty of loyalty to the king and the declaration of the United Colonies as free and independent states lead to war with England. Since the colonies did not have a standing army, they were hopelessly inferior to the English troops. Only the intervention of France, which corrected the shortage of war material, as well as the support of the French fleet led to a turning point. The English army surrendered on October 19, 1781. In the Peace of Paris (1783) the US border was extended to the Mississippi.7 This paved the way for the US to expand westward. In this respect, a royal proclamation that reserved the area west of the Appalachians to the Mississippi for the Indians was repealed

3. The economic development after independence

3.1 The Monroe Doctrine

After the end of the Revolutionary War until 1853, the United States expanded its borders to the Pacific Ocean. It acquired land through purchase (Louisiana), assignment, war (against Mexico) and agreement.9 The Monroe Doctrine, named after the 5th President of the USA, James Monroe (1817 -1823) .10 The United States needed a justification for expanding its borders, provided by the Monroe Doctrine. The doctrine rejected the interference of European powers in America and was the main reason for the US's isolationalist attitude towards Europe. Any intervention of any kind was viewed as an act of war. The Monroe Doctrine meant that the US economic area was forever closed to future colonization by Europe.11 It still determines US foreign policy today, especially in Latin America.

3.2 The conquest of the west

After the USA became an independent state, a large wave of immigration began. In the beginning it was mainly immigrants from motherland England, then immigrants from all over Europe who hoped to find a better life in the "New World" than before. First and foremost, however, they were workers The industrializing north, the urgently needed industrial workers and were recruited mainly from the Irish part of the immigrants. The immigration from Germany, which began after 1848, consisted mainly of peasants, middle class and intellectuals, the majority of whom had sufficient resources of their own Turned to agricultural areas in the Inner Plains. 12

As a result of the annexation of Texas to the USA in 1845, the colonization of the west began, also due to the steady immigration. Although nature and possible uses were unknown in large parts of the western United States, many took the step into the unknown

The west was shaped economically by the agricultural economy. So 3 opposing economic areas formed in the USA. Industrialization began in the states of New England and the south, which included Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Tenessee, Florida, Georgie, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas, was through its on Slavery-based cotton plantation system determined, the West supplied the food.


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