History of Domestic and Foreign Commerce of the United States - Vol. 1

By Emory R. Johnson; T. W. Van Metre et al. | Go to book overview

a transportation system within the State as well as assist in the construction of the transcontinental railroad line to connect the Far West with the loyal States of the East.


SUMMARY.

The expansion of the volume of the internal trade of the United States during this era of industrial and agricultural expansion more than justified the expectations existing in 1830. The improvement of the facilities for communication and transportation permitted a continually increasing accentuation of territorial division of labor, which fostered the growth of mutual dependence between regions where geographic, social, or other conditions led naturally to the predominance of a special type of industry. The manufacturing and commercial population of the Northeastern States was fed by the farm products of the Central States, and the inhabitants of the Central States drew their imported supplies, clothing, shoes, and large quantities of general merchandise from the eastern markets. The South relied almost entirely upon the North for food, manufactures, and imported goods. In 1860 the wheat production in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas amounted to only a peck for each inhabitant. Food for the entire cotton-belt was raised in northern fields, and the clothing, tools, and machinery consumed in the Southern States were made in northern factories. The North in turn bought from the South raw materials for northern sugar and cotton industries, and northern shipping interests carried to European markets the heavy exports of southern cotton, the proceeds from which paid the southern debts in Northern States and settled the large unfavorable balance of the northern foreign trade.

Domestic trade was several times larger than the foreign trade. Foreign exports comprised but a small fraction of the great volume of wealth annually produced. In the treasury report of 1847-48, Secretary Robert J. Walker said:

"The value of our products exceeds three thousand millions of dollars. Our population doubles once in every twenty-three years and our products quadruple in the same period. Of this $3,000,000,000 only about $150,000,000 are exported abroad, leaving $2,850,000,000 at home, of which at least $500,000,000 are annually interchanged among the States of the Union."

In 1854 DeBow estimated the value of home and foreign commerce at $1,500,000,000. It is probable that in 1860 the interstate commerce alone amounted to almost $1,000,000,000.

Israel D. Andrews gave the estimate of the amount and value of domestic trade that is presented in table 16.1

Before 1830 the chief problem in regard to internal commerce had been the creation of a market for the agricultural produce of the great

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1
Report on Coknial and Lake Trade (prepared in 1852). p 905.

-250-

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