Selections From American Economic History

Adam Smith's landmark text, The Wealth of Nations, was published late in the 18th Century, around the same time that the American Revolution was taking place. It was also around this time that the structure of the American economic system was being formulated. Unlike many great works, Smith's opus had a profound impact on its contemporary readers. Indeed, the US was the only economy in the history of the world to have been founded entirely on the principles of free market economics. It is therefore very instructive to look at the history of American economics for evidence of the practice of free market economics. But the history of the American economy is riddled with examples of the importance of regulation. Some of these numerous examples will be discussed in detail here: the colonization of America, slavery, convict leasing, child labor and a discussion of some of the great monopolies.



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