Lec2_1_12

Lec2_1_12 - Lecture 2 History of American Business The...

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Lecture 2: History of American Business: The Constitution and the Jefferson-Hamilton Debate Focus of today’s lecture: The business environment in the US and how it relates to the Constitution. We will also be discussing the first major schism in US politics: Jefferson and Hamilton. The vast majority of Americans made a living via agriculture in late 18 th century (late 1700’s). a. Pennsylvania – breads/grains. b. New England – maritime fishing exports. c. Carolina’s – indigo and rice. d. Chesapeake area – tobacco. It is noteworthy that cotton as an agricultural commodity was not really on the scene yet in the late 1700s. Nevertheless, there were other types of business activity. There was a thriving merchant class developing in places like New England. These merchants were operating retail stores for products like books, clothing, etc. Many become incredibly wealthy. Moreover, skilled artisans proliferate and specialize in a highly developed set of skills. Examples of artisan work include making pewter pots and pans, silver workers, horseshoes, etc. In the south, things were a bit different. In the 1700s there was an emergence of large plantations, especially in Chesapeake area. These plantations were run by farmers known as planters. The planters specialized in a small number of major crops and hence were tied into the Atlantic trade for exporting their ‘cash’ crops. At the same time, there were other smaller farmers surrounding the plantation that provided the infrastructure to support an export trade. Business activity was generally small-scale, and a relatively small number of people were involved at this point. The risk was spread among few people. Most business cooperatives were limited partnerships – or sole proprietorships. This (all of above) was the general environment when Constitution delegates met in Philadelphia
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Lec2_1_12 - Lecture 2 History of American Business The...

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