John Quincy Adams's Presidency

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The man who created the American System was Henry Clay.

The American System is the name given to a set of three policies that Clay proposed in 1832.  The point of these policies was to strengthen the US economy and to do something to help each of the main sectors of the US economy.  These sectors were commerce, manufacturing, and agriculture.

The American System proposed to help commerce by creating a national bank.  This bank would make a more stable currency and would help to provide credit for merchants.  The system proposed to help agriculture through a program of “internal improvements.”  Internal improvements were what we would now call infrastructure projects.  By improving transportation, these projects would help farmers get their crops to market.  Finally, the system meant to help industry by imposing a tariff.  This would increase the price of imported goods and make domestic goods more competitive.

Together, these three policies were known as Henry Clay’s “American System.”

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