Government Promotion of American Canals and Railroads, 1800-1890

By Carter Goodrich | Go to book overview

PREFACE

Publication of a book on government promotion is made timely by the current interest in economic development. During the century in which the United States transformed itself into a great industrial nation, the most important and the most widely employed measures by which American governments attempted directly to promote economic growth were devoted to the construction of canals and railroads. The analysis of this experience may be of service to those who are considering what should be the roles of government and of private enterprise in the nations now striving for development.

The writing of the book has been made possible by the large amount of monographic research that has been carried on in recent years by a number of scholars, particularly on the activities of state and local governments. A decade or two ago, a general book on the subject could hardly have been ventured. Now, although much remains to be done in the collection and analysis of data, it appears possible to present the main outlines of the history of public promotion in nineteenth century America and to offer some interpretation of the part it played in the economic development of the country.

The study has received generous support from the Council for Research in the Social Sciences of Columbia University, which made a series of grants beginning in 1946. Earlier findings have been published in four articles in the Political Science Quarterly, three in the Journal of Economic History, and two in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society

-vii-

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Government Promotion of American Canals and Railroads, 1800-1890
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The: Spirit of Improvement 3
  • Federal Debate and Decision 1801-1830 17
  • 2 - An Era of National Projects 19
  • The Emulation of States and Cities 1815-1861 49
  • 3 - The Appalachian Competition 51
  • 4 - From Boston to Mobile 121
  • Federal Debate and Decision 1850-1872 167
  • 5 - An Era of National Subsidy 169
  • The Emulation of States and Cities 1861-1890 205
  • 6 - The State Programs of the Reconstruction South 207
  • 7 - The Patronage of Local Legislation 230
  • Conclusion 263
  • 8 - Public Promotion and Private Enterprise 265
  • Notes 299
  • Bibliography 353
  • Index 365
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