|1.Economic independence, like cultural independence, was not achieved as easily or as quickly as political independence, but was aided by the distance (both geographical and time) between Great Britain and the colonies. Although the British mercantilist system, with restrictions on manufacturing in the colonies made it difficult to get manufacturing started, the British couldn’t stop the colonists from starting their own manufacturing capabilities. Manufacturers, especially ones patriotically motivated, realized that if they replaced British goods with American ones, it would be the beginning of economic independence. Public committees and associations of manufacturers allied themselves in producing textiles and other craftwork, subverting and rejecting British manufacturing imports. After the British enacted the various “Acts”, like the Sugar Act, and the Stamp Act, the colonists were pushed into seeking economic independence. In 1774 the Continental Congress instituted non-importation, non-exportation, and non-consumption of British goods, in retaliation for all the economic hardships that had been placed on the by the British.1 Home manufacturers, also had a hand in gaining economic independence, both before the war and after.
Cultural independence was a natural progression of self-sufficiency, and distance (both in time and geographically) from Great Britain. Associations of mercantilists, manufacturers and mechanics heralded the beginnings of a new identity, separate from the British. The American protectionism they promoted also had the effect of inspiring an identity that was distinctly American. Independent farmers farming whatever they wanted, and home manufacturers, also instilled a strong sense of self sufficiency. Cultural independence began to take root in the colonies, over time, and was solidified when the colonials realized that they needed to rely on themselves, to gain their independence. Colonials began to feel that non-consumption of British goods was their patriotic, as a result the consumption of distinctly American goods, grown in the colonies, manufactured in the colonies, and crafted in the colonies gave rise to a patriotic pride in the necessity to manufacture and consume American goods for that very reason, to gain their independence from Great Britain.
1. Peskin, Lawrence A., Manufacturing Revolution : The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007, 47, Accessed March 9, 2020, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/apus/detail.action?docID=4398428.
2.Upon departure from our nation’s motherland, a profound reality was revealed to many; Today’s solutions are tomorrow’s problems. That is to say, with a firm grip on the colonies, Britain had placed several acts into motion, such as the Navigation Act or the Staple Act that barred American raw goods from being exported to other nations without first transferring through Britain for taxing and prevented the manufacturing of goods from raw materials in the colonies.
The United States now found themselves without a king, without requirements of shipping goods to Britain, and without a proper infrastructure needed to be fully independent. It was in this that an economic vacuum was created and with what would become American ingenuity, it would be quickly filled by capitalistic dreams from around the world. As in times past, immigration would be the backbone of America’s success. In the past, the need for laborers enticed many to immigrate as indentured servants. Additionally, traders found great wealth in shipping slaves for service but now America needed something different. It needed not just the strength of youthful laborers but now it needed great minds. To do this, advertisements were purchased in newspapers overseas and great minds found the opportunities too tempting not to risk their livelihoods. Among them was Samual Slater, a mechanical engineer who decided to cross the pond “after reading a newspaper advertisement offering a reward of £ 100 to anyone able to build cutting-edge textile machinery in the United States”. It wasn’t only the price of simple cash rewards that enticed mechanics to come but some areas made offers of aiding in the funds to establish manufacturing facilities, as was the case in Baltimore that attracted John Amelong, a glass manufacturer from Germany.
Manufacturing is only one of the steps needed for survival, however, as supply was not enough. There must also be a demand. After the Treaty of Paris, Britain still desired to have a strong trading partnership with America. With that, the ability to flood the market with cheap goods could be devastating to a new and teetering economy. Publishers like Marquis de Lafayette began to argue that “Americans must abandon their “unhappy predilection for foreign frippery and gewgaws” and begin to produce their manufactures”. From many European countries, a flow of brilliant minds come in, seeking an opportunity to escape the issues facing many of the Europian countries and start anew. This led to ties between development, manufacturing, and agriculture in this young nation.
1. Lawrence A. Peskin. Manufacturing Revolution: The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007). ProQuest Ebook Central. 64.
2. Peskin. Manufacturing Revolution. 64.
3. Ibid. 67.
Peskin, Lawrence A.. Manufacturing Revolution : The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007. Accessed March 10, 2020. ProQuest Ebook Central.
3.At the end of the French and Indian War, when the threat of a foreign invader was gone leaving behind a massive war debt, the British changed their policies towards their colonies and demanded a burdensome system of taxation as a contribution. In 1764 the British Parliament enacted the Sugar Act, a preexistent tax on molasses that had not been enforced until that moment. Protests spread in every colony and the boycott of the British goods began to appear. The following year, in 1765, the British government decided to increase their pressure and enacted the Stamp Act. This time even more people were affected as the tax was on every legal document created in the colonies and every good produced and consumed domestically. These events are crucial because they changed the way the colonies looked at their motherland and increased disaffection towards it.
If during the early colonial years, Britain controlled trade but left much autonomy in terms of internal matters and government, now the situation had suddenly changed. The economics of Mercantilism had worked well until that moment because while the colonies provided raw materials, Britain could sell their manufactured goods to the colonies. The Restraining Act forbidding them to trade manufactured goods did not affect a large part of the colonial population until about 1750 because, “there was so little industrialization in the colonies at the time that it was not a hardship for most colonials. And there were benefits to the mercantile system. Although the Navigation Acts imposed taxes upon the colonists, it also protected their goods from foreign competition…”
However, after the French and Indian War the situation suddenly changed; progress could not be stopped and the industrialization in some areas of the colonies was growing. A good example is Benjamin Franklin urging his fellow colonists to create their own silk manufacture in 1773, when the time became ready. But this was not yet a way to reject the British authority or to seek political independence, at this point it was just a way to improve American economy and return to the pre-1764 state. As the desire of a political independence began to circulate, the need for achieving an economic independence became evident and it is at this point that revolutionaries understood the importance of a stronger and more active role of a central American authority in the domestic economy in order to promote and protect its growth.
 Germany Davis, Lecture 2: America’s Political Economy in the Late 18th Century, accessed March 11, 2020.
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 Lawrence A. Peskin, Manufacturing Revolution: The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), ProQuest Ebook Central, 29-33.
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