List what were the most significant factors underlying American economic growth and explain why the factors chosen were so important?List what were the most significant factors underlying American...

List what were the most significant factors underlying American economic growth and explain why the factors chosen were so important?

List what were the most significant factors underlying American economic growth and explain why the factors chosen were so important?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To me, it sounds like there is some resource such as text or a teacher’s reflection that is guiding this question. I can only stress that this force should be the primary reference point in answering your question. All others should be secondary, at best. With this in mind, I think that I would say that the desire to amass wealth becomes one of the underlying factors that influenced economic growth. America, as a nation, was built upon the premise of this desire to amass economic wealth and gain material prosperity. Colonization only took place because of this desire. The declaration and fighting for independence from England was done so, in large part, due to the desire to gain economic freedom from the British. When the nation became it’s own entity, the emergence of political parties developed in the difference of opinion as to how money should be amassed and preserved in the nation through the Federalists and Republican ideologies. The restriction of trade and desire to lift embargos and rules that forbade economic growth in the new nation helped to spawn the War of 1812 and the desire to make, keep, and perpetuate greater personal wealth because the underlying motivation to expand the nation and engage in two distinct Industrial Revolutions. Within this desire for wealth that underscored all of these historical expressions, there were sub factors such as the growth of technology, industrialization, urbanization and the emergence of the factory system as helping to underscore American economic growth, but the primary impetus for all of these expressions was the desire to make and keep money.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

And just so we cover our bases, given that we don't know what time frame you are referring to in your question, I am going to come from  a different angle on this issue, and suggest that war was the most significant factor affecting American economic growth.

The Civil War fueled the wealthy class that began and invested in the Gilded Age from 1865 - 1900.  World War I "Merchants of Death" profited billions of dollars in arms sales both at home and abroad, and we were followed by a brand new industrial middle class and the "Roaring 20s".  World War II saved us from the Great Depression and built a lasting prosperity in the years that followed, greatly expanding our industrial capacity and our economy.  The Cold War lasted over 45 years following that, investing trillions of dollars for national defense, highway infrastructure, education and technology and creating the long term national prosperity we are familiar with today.

We have been the long term economic beneficiaries of nearly perpetual war.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would suggest that the largest factor in the economic boom in the US, or in the colonies and then the US is the incredible amount of resources of every kind available so that the country was not dependent on anyone else to continually grow.  Especially once the manufacturing industry grew here in the US, there were no limits given the incredible availablitity of land of various types for every crop, all kinds of mineral and other natural resources, timber, water, even things like gold and other precious metals.

Thanks to our geographic good fortune, the US has had a very large advantage over other nations in terms of having to not look outside our borders to get what we need.  Of course we threw all that way by pandering to GM and the oil industry and allowing them to steer us towards cars and buses and trucks as the ultimate American freedom machines...

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It would really help if you specify what time period you are asking about, because there have been different causes of economic growth at different times in our history.

To me, the first real boom in the American economy was caused by a boom in internal transportation.  When I say "internal" I mean transportation within the US rather than by sea, and especially with other countries.

Early on, the US started to build things like roads and, especially, canals.  These things allowed people to make goods in one area and sell them in other areas of the country.  This was really important because it allowed producers to sell to a bigger market than was previously available to them.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The most significant factors underlying American economic growth are job creation and consumer confidence. Obviously, the two are related. In the age of instant information and shock media, every little piece of news leads to Stock Market fluctuations, and those also affect consumer confidence. It's a viscious cycle.
sinoeforleh | Student

The time frame of this question is between the 1820s-1860.

lit24 | Student

The Industrial Revolution was perhaps the most significant factor which influenced the economic growth and development of the United States. Although the industrial revolution began in Great Britain and Europe during the late eighteenth century. It later on shifted to the United States.

The Industrial Revolution itself refers to the transformation  from hand and home production to machine and factory manufacture. The most important aspect of the industrial revolution was  the invention of spinning and weaving machines operated by water power which was eventually replaced by steam. This helped increase America’s growth. Undoubtedly, the industrial revolution truly changed American society and economy into a modern urban-industrial state.

Eventually, America went to war with Great Britain in 1812. The war with Great Britain in 1812 which resulted in the passage of the Embargo Act made it apparent that America needed a better transportation system and more economic independence.

Industrialization in America involved three important developments. First, transportation was expanded. Second, electricity was effectively harnessed. Third, improvements were made to industrial processes such as improving the refining process and accelerating production. The government helped protect American manufacturers by passing a protective tariff.