America's Economic Development

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Following the Civil War, the United States reported remarkably strong economic development. In fact, the actual per-capita product doubles. Similarly, from 1865 to 1920, the actual GDP (gross domestic product) rose more than seven fold. In turn, the incorporation of new inputs into the economy helped it flourish faster than the growth in productivity did. The growth rate of capital goods has been higher than ever before in the history of the US. In fact, between 1870 and 1920, it was around 1.7 percent. After the Civil War, Americans wanted to expand domestically.

The Six Places in Geography and Chronology

Figure 1: An picture of economic ties in the United States Economic Relation between with the World 1865-1920.

Hawaii 1842-1849

The interest of American in the Hawaiian island dates back to the days of the post-revolutionary when her traders began to traverse the Pacific. Ships bound for Japan and China considered Hawaii a convenient stopping-off. In the early 19th century, the American missionaries started to arrive in the islands. In effect, the climate, scenery, as well as other valuable crops such as fruits and sugar attracted the investors’ attention.

Mexico Boarder 1866-1867

Initially, Napoleon III sent general Philip Sheridan with 50,000 troops to the border of Mexico. However, they later pulled out in 1867. Meanwhile, Russia owned Alaska territory. This land was later purchased by US Secretary of State, William Seward for $7.2 in light of improving their economy.

Cuba 1871

Since before the Civil War, US had an eye on Cuba. This issue was reopened by the Secretary of State, Fish. Eventually, the United States was awarded $15.5 million in damages by the tribunal. It was noted that Great British violated the policies of neutralities.

Paris Treaty 1898

This treaty resulted in an end to the Civil War. In effect, it granted Cuba independence. Guam, Philippine, and Puerto Rico were turned to the US by Spain. Here, the Spain received $20 million payment from the US.

Puerto Rico 1898-1914

Under the Nelson Miles’s command, the United States managed to occupy Puerto Rico with a force of the military. Consequently, the Puerta Ricans were given the US citizenship following the 1917 Jones Act.

The Panama Canal 1850-1901

The war between the Americans and the Spanish led to the renewal of the interest to build the isthmian canal. Other nations including the United States had been contemplating about such a project for half a century. In 1901 when Theodore Roosevelt took place, Panama was Colombia’s part. At this point, the US secretary of State called for an annual repayment of $250,000.


Even though entrepreneurs have always been admired by Americans, such attitude increased during the years 1865-1920. As already noted, US had to involve the rest of the world in trying to enhance their economy. Some of the locations involved include Hawaii, Mexico Border, Panama Canal, Cuba, Paris, Puerto Rico among others. At this point, the incorporation of the western resources and lands, as well as the expansion of the railroad networks into the national economy resulted in the enormous opportunities.

Traders and farmers were forced to move out onto the new western lands that were opened for prospectors search for gold, settlement, and other valuable minerals. Thousands of new technological ideas were patented by the investors. For most of the period, the primary role of the government in the economy was a promotional charter.


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October 25, 2022

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