Founding a Nation

The book link:
https://openstax.org/details/books/us-history?Book%20details

Check these links:
https://constitution.org/2-Authors/ah/rpt_manufactures.pdf

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https://archive.org/details/notesonstateofvi01jeff

INTRODUCTION

Founding a nation is a bold enterprise, and a creative one. The founders of the United States of America were indeed visionary. But they did not all share the same vision. As can be seen with the debates over the Constitution, there were very serious and sincere divisions among the early Americans as to what kind of nation the country should strive to become. The organization and management of political power is one aspect of a community. How that society develops economically is another important aspect to consider. Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton had vivid images of what the future America would look like. These readings will help students become further acquainted with each of those visions.

DOCUMENTS

Document 1 was submitted to the Congress in 1790 by Alexander Hamilton, who was the Secretary secretary of the Treasury at that time. In his “Report on Manufacturers,” Hamilton was both fulfilling his duty as Treasury Secretary secretary and trying to persuade the Congress to act. The entire document is 21 twenty-one pages long. This selection from that document provides some good insights into what kinds of actions he wanted Congress to take.

Document 2, from Thomas Jefferson’s Notes from on the State of Virginia, published in 1784, is short and to the point. He has a very specific vision of a type of economic system he believes is best for The the United States. By “best,” Jefferson does not simply mean “most profitable.” In this document, he is arguing for what is best for the individual morality of the nation’s citizens.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Read Chapter 8 in its entirety.

2. Read Documents 1 and 2.

3. One full single-spaced page or two full double-spaced pages is required for this primary source assignment. Your work should consist about 80-90% of your own words. A maximum of 20% similarity score will be accepted and anything above that number will be graded down. Your answers must be complete, unique and in your own words. Do not quote, unless absolutely necessary, since most quoted material can be paraphrased in your own words. Cite all work that you consult at the end of your reply. Skip paper identifiers like date, name, title. Only label your answers. No need to write out the questions.

Document 1

Alexander Hamilton, [Promoting the Efforts of Industry], from “Report on Manufacturers,” 1790, http://www.constitution.org/ah/rpt_manufactures.pdf (Links to an external site.)

The Secretary of the Treasury in obedience to the order of the House of Representatives, of the 15th day of January 1790, has applied his attention, at as early a period as his other duties would permit, to the subject of Manufactures; and particularly to the means of promoting such as will tend to render the United States, independent on foreign nations, for military and other essential supplies. And he thereupon respectfully submits the following Report:

The expediency of encouraging manufactures in the United States, which was not long since deemed very questionable, appears at this time to be pretty generally admitted. The embarrassments, which have obstructed the progress of our external trade, have led to serious reflections on the necessity of enlarging the sphere of our domestic commerce: the restrictive regulations, which in foreign markets abrige the vent of the increasing surplus of our Agricultural produce, serve to beget an earnest desire, that a more extensive demand for that surplus may be created at home: And the complete success, which has rewarded manufacturing enterprise, in some valuable branches, conspiring with the promising symptoms, which attend some less mature essays, in others, justify a hope, that the obstacles to the growth of this species of industry are less formidable than they were apprehended to be; and that it is not difficult to find, in its further extension; a full indemnification for any external disadvantages, which are or may be experienced, as well as an accession of resources, favourable to national independence and safety.

…that the labour employed in Agriculture is in a great measure periodical and occasional, depending on seasons, liable to various and long intermissions; while that occupied in many manufactures is constant and [283] regular, extending through the year, embracing in some instances night as well as day. It is also probable, that there are among the cultivators of land more examples of remissness, than among artificers. The farmer, from the peculiar fertility of his land, or some other favorable circumstance, may frequently obtain a livelihood, even with a considerable degree of carelessness in the mode of cultivation; but the artisan can with difficulty effect the same object, without exerting himself pretty equally with all those, who are engaged in the same pursuit. And if it may likewise be assumed as a fact, that manufactures open a wider field to exertions of ingenuity than agriculture, it would not be a strained conjecture, that the labour employed in the former, being at once more constant, more uniform and more ingenious, than that which is employed in the latter, will be found at the same time more productive.

…. It is now proper to proceed a step further, and to enumerate the principal circumstances, from which it may be inferred-That manufacturing establishments not only occasion a possitive augmentation of the Produce and Revenue of the Society, but that they contribute essentially to rendering them greater than they could possibly be, without such establishments. These circumstances are-

1. The division of Labour.

2. An extension of the use of Machinery.

3. Additional employment to classes of the community not ordinarily engaged in the business.

4. The promoting of emigration from foreign Countries.

5. The furnishing greater scope for the diversity of talents and dispositions which discriminate men from each other.

6. The affording a more ample and various field for enterprise.

7. The creating in some instances a new, and securing in all, a more certain and steady demand for the surplus produce of the soil.

And it is thence to be inferred, that the results of human exertion may be immensely increased by diversifying its objects. When all the different kinds of industry obtain in a community, each individual can find his proper element, and can call into activity the whole vigour of his nature. And the community is benefitted by the services of its respective members, in the manner, in which each can serve it with most effect.

The spirit of enterprise, useful and prolific as it is, must necessarily be contracted or expanded in proportion to the simplicity or variety of the occupations and productions, which are to be found in a Society. It must be less in a nation of mere cultivators, than in a nation of cultivators and merchants; less in a nation of cultivators and merchants, than in a nation of cultivators, artificers and merchants.

This idea of an extensive domestic market for the surplus produce of the soil is of the first consequence. It is of all things, that which most effectually conduces to a flourishing state of Agriculture.

The apprehension of failing in new attempts is perhaps a more serious impediment. There are dispositions apt to be attracted by the mere novelty of an undertaking — but these are not always those best calculated to give it success. To this, it is of importance that the confidence of cautious sagacious capitalists both citizens and foreigners, should be excited. And to inspire this description of persons with confidence, it is essential, that they should be made to see in any project, which is new, and for that reason alone, if, for no other, precarious, the prospect of such a degree of countenance and support from government, as may be capable of overcoming the obstacles, inseparable from first experiments.

In countries where there is great private wealth, much may be effected by the voluntary contributions of patriotic individuals; but in a community situated like that of the United States, the public purse must supply the deficiency of private resource. In what can it be so useful, as in prompting and improving the efforts of industry?

All which is humbly submitted.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON,

Secretary of the Treasury.

Source: Alexander Hamilton, [Promoting the Efforts of Industry], from “Report on Manufacturers,” 1790, http://www.constitution.org/ah/rpt_manufactures.pdf

Document 2

Thomas Jefferson, “Notes on the State of Virginia: The Present State of Manufactures, Commerce, Interior and Exterior Trade?”

QUERY XIX

The Present State of Manufactures, Commerce, Interior and Exterior Trade?

We never had an interior trade of any importance. Our exterior commerce has suffered very much from the beginning of the present contest. During this time we manufactured within our families the most necessary articles of clothing. Those of cotton will bear some comparison with the same kinds of manufacture in Europe; but those of wool, flax and hemp, are very coarse, unsightly and unpleasant; and such is our attachment to agriculture, and such our preference for foreign manufactures, that be it wise or unwise, our people will certainly return as soon as they can to the raising raw materials, and exchanging them for finer manufactures than they are to able to execute themselves.

The political economists of Europe have established it as a principle that every State should endeavor to manufacture for itself; and this principle, like many others, we transfer to America, without calculating the difference of circumstance which should often produce a difference of result. In Europe the lands are either cultivated, or locked up against the cultivator. Manufacture must, therefore, be resorted to of necessity, not of choice, to support the surplus of their people. But we have an immensity of land courting the industry of the husbandman. Is it best then that all our citizens should be employed in its improvement, or that one-half should be called off from that to exercise manufactures and handicraft arts for the other? Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of god, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth. Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example. It is the mark set on those, who not looking up to Heaven, to their own soil and industry, as does the husbandman, for their subsistence, depend for it on the casualties and caprice of customers. Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for designs of ambition. This, the natural progress and consequence of the arts, has sometimes perhaps been retarded by accidental circumstances; but, generally speaking, the proportion which the aggregate of the other classes of citizens bears in any State to that of its husbandmen, is the proportion of its unsound to its healthy parts, and is a good enough barometer whereby to measure its degree of corruption.

While we have land to labor then, let us never wish to see our citizens occupied at a work bench, or twirling a distaff. Carpenters, masons, smiths, are wanting in husbandry; but, for the general operations of manufacture, let our work shops remain in Europe. It is better to carry provisions and materials to workmen there, than bring them to the provisions and materials, and with them their manners and principles. The loss by the transportation of commodities across the Atlantic will be made up in happiness and permanence of government. The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government as sores do to the strength of the human body. It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a Republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker, which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.

Source: Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia. J. W. Randolph, Richmond, VA, 1853. 175-77. https://archive.org/details/notesonstateofvi01jeff (Links to an external site.)

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

1. What major disagreements and compromises molded the final content of the Constitution?

2. Document 1: What is meant by “Species of industry” in Hamilton’s report?

3. Document 1: What is the purpose of Hamilton’s report?

4. Document 2: Summarize Jefferson’s “Notes from on the State of Virginia” and his basic vision for America.

5. Document 2: What did Thomas Jefferson found so dangerous about the “manners and principles” of the workmen of Europe?

6.The concept of “independence” is important to both Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, but does it mean the same thing to each man? What does independence mean to each? For more information on Founding a Nation see this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_founders

Founding a Nation

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