Explain the ways in which GB contributed to American economic development. How was American industry both similar to and different from British ways?

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Being that our country originated as British colonies, Great Britain has influenced American economic development from the beginning.  First, and by design, Britain was our best customer.  That is, the mother country became the market for our raw materials and cash crops, and remained so into at least the late 19th century.  So our economy began and expanded on British money, and grew largely because of British business.

While our textile machines were copied directly from British design, by the mid to late 1800s, American industry had surpassed Britain in production and innovation.  Labor practices were similar, for the most part, but as an island country, Britain has always been dependent on outside resources, while American business was able to grow without such restrictions.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that the previous thoughts were quite accurate.  The factory system that helped to bring about the American Industrial Revolution was a British construct.  The factory plans that Samuel Slater stole and brought to the United States was almost as significant as the colonization of the new world.  The idea of developing urban centers as ready sources of labor for factories is a British idea, as well as the idea of urbanization and movement from farms to cities.  The emergence of industrialization as an expression of capitalism is one where the influence of British ideas is present in American economic growth.