Economic History of the U. S. Econ 1740, Class Time Line. Part 1: The Colonial Era; 1607 – 1776

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Chapter 7-8


Revolutionary War: Though the Declaration of Independence didn’t come until 1776, the war against the British started with the battles at Lexington and Concord in 1775.


Declaration of Independence: The colonies in an act of defiance against the British signed the Declaration and officially declared war.

Wealth of Nations: The book written by Adam Smith which laid the basis for American economic theory.


Treaty of Versailles: This treaty granted independence to the American colonies after the Revolutionary war.


Land Ordinance of 1785: This ordinance called for public lands to be divided into square lots and surveyed. Although the conservatives hoped that land would become a major source of revenue, it never did.


Annapolis Convention: A convention called to settle questions about trade regulations but no action was taken.


Land Ordinance of 1787: This ordinance set the guidelines that territories would take in order to become states. The main principle being the eventual equality with the older states.


Constitution: The rules and regulations that form the American government.


Bill of Rights: These rights were added onto the Constitution two years after it was ratified.


Treaty of 1794: With this treaty the British agreed to leave the posts they had established in the Northwest.


The Land Act of 1796: Largely similar to the Land Ordinance of 1785 but it added a credit provision which was ultimately revoked because it caused losses to the government.


Louisiana Purchase: Thomas Jefferson acquired the Louisiana territory from France for the very reasonable cost of 15 million dollars.


Embargo Act of 1808: In fear of war Thomas Jefferson enacted the Embargo Act which stopped trade with any foreign ports.


Non-importation Act of 1809: Partially opened up trade with specific prohibitions against Great Britain, France, and their possessions.


The War of 1812: This war with the British was started when the British Navy began kidnapping American sailors and forcing them into their army.


The Treaty of Ghent: Ended the War of 1812.


Acquisition of Florida: The Florida territory was acquired from the Spanish.


Texas annexed as a state: Texas becomes a state after winning its independence from Mexico.


Treaty of 1846: This Treaty with Britain established the boundary between Oregon and Canada on the 49th parallel.

Oregon annexed as a state: As part of the Treaty of 1846, America became the soul owner of the Oregon Territory.


Acquisition of the Mexican Cession: The Mexican Cession was acquired by conquest.


Gadsen Purchase: Acquired from Mexico.


Homestead Act of 1862: This act made it possible for anyone over 21 to have 160 acres of public land on the payment of small fees as long as they lived on the land for at least 5 years.


Alaskan Purchase: The Alaskan Territory was purchased from Russia.


Hawaiian Annexation: Hawai’i becomes the last state added to the United States of America.

Chapters 9-10


  • Increase of Railroads, Boats efficiency, Canals and Roads.

  • Mechanisms made to produce of flour and cotton without the aid of man.

  • 1807 -Steam boat was invented by Robert Fulton and Robert R. Livingston.

  • Railroad and canals were made privately and publicly few railroads were funded by the federal government.

  • Effects of increased railroads/canals and more efficiency in boats created.

  • Transportation of goods costs decreased since transferring goods took less time to get from point A to B downstream as well as upstream. Traveling Costs a large portion of money that ate away ate profits became a fraction of the cost.

  • Transportation freight rates with the easier transportation of goods came with the industrial revolution.

  • America started with only a few factories and lumber mills. The new nation arouse by 1860 America was only second to Great Britain.

  • Industrial revolution began with the north. Started from the New England expanding to the Middle Colonies.  With up rise of industry production made household production declined dramatically.

Factories characteristics

  • A substantial output of a standardized product made to be sold in a wide, rather than a strictly local, market.

  • Complex operations carried on in one building or group of adjacent building or group of adjacent buildings. A considerable investment in fixed plant, the mechanization of processes, and the use of power are implied.

  • An assembly of workers under a definite organizational discipline.

  • Factories were not just a building it was assembly line for processing raw goods. Something Great Britain had forbid the U.S while under their power/watch. The hope of becoming a more united states was near. We worked together, traded with each other, and produced together. Even though we had this period of unity it was broken with the disagreement of slavery.

  • First developed factory was cotton textile industry. Made by Almy, Brown, and Slater.

  • The Lowell shops and the Waltham system

  • Cabot Lowell observed a power loom in Great Britain and copied it design.  It included all stages of production (spinning, weaving, dying, and cutting) all under one roof.

  • Oliver Evans builds a flour mill in Philadelphia. (1782)

  • Latter copied by Henry Ford and his production of the automobile.

  • Water was power and energy.

  • Slow moving water wheels were an equivalent to several thousand horse power. Most effective of them all was the (Breast wheel) water flew up and underneath as oppose to above or underneath.

  • Steam engines were introduce but not effective as water power. They broke down frequently and had little skilled mechanics to repair them.

  • Result of improved machinery, cheaper distribution of goods, increase railroads, canals, roads. The north had capital-intensive industries: cotton textiles, iron, liquors, flour/grist mills, paper, tanning, and wool textile.

  • Other industries such as boots/shoes, coaches/harnesses, furniture/wood work, and glass were had less job opportunities then capital-intensive industries. Farming was in the south, but if you were in the north you had to have a skill/trade to be able to work.

  • Transportation was easier and less costly, new inventions for factory lines and transportation created the market growth. We became a united nation threw goods and increased production of man and machinery.

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