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Econ History

by: Madie Schinner

Econ History ECN 111A

Madie Schinner
GPA 3.57


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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Madie Schinner on Tuesday September 8, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ECN 111A at University of California - Davis taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 38 views. For similar materials see /class/191903/ecn-111a-university-of-california-davis in Economcs at University of California - Davis.


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Date Created: 09/08/15
University of CaliforniaDavis TA Jason Lee Economics lllAAmerican Economic History Email jawleeucdavisedu Handout 2 I Review of Week 1 Readings A Three Puritans on Prosperity A Whitney Griswold Question To what extent can the economic success enjoyed by Colonial America be attributed to a Protestant Work Ethic that was popularized by Max Weber Was such a philosophy ever advocated in Colonial America Brief background Max Weber was an economist who advocated that Protestantism actually Calvinism can in uence the development of capitalism Before the Reformation it was widely believed that religious devotion and economic prosperity were in con ict Protestantism argues that this ideal of selfdenial is wrong and that economic success is a sign of God s favor Successful businessmen were God s chosen people and that religion favored the pursuit of economic gain Data The author uses 3 sermons from noteworthy Puritans from different eras to see if such a philosophy was ever advocated in the United States 1 Cotton Mather Puritan preacher who advocated quite strongly that one could serve God by making money Man could not just pray and expect to get into heaven One must also be useful and successful A powerful analogy that he used was that of rowing a boat to the Shore of Eternal Blessedness with two oars Piety and Success In Mather s analogy it is impossible to row the boat with only one oar 2 Benjamin FranklinIn his two famous literary works his Poor Richards Almanac and his Autobiography Franklin echoes many of Mather s themes In his Autobiography Franklin says that he owes the mentioned happiness of my past life to God s kind providence which led me to the means I used and give them success In other words Franklin s success was not due to blind luck but due to hard work diligence frugality and God s good graces In Poor Richards Almanac Franklin repeatedly stresses the virtues of industry and frugality He writes Diligence is the mother of good luck and God gives all through industry Franklin s writings provided assurances to those that followed the Puritan morals that they would be rewarded with material success 3 Timothy DwightHe is a latter day Puritan his sermons are given after the United States has been created He stresses the importance that property must be acquired to make a citizen industrious He writes The same sobriety of mind which is so useful to the advancement of your heavenly interests is the direct means to your earthly prosperity Dwight s importance is that this Puritan philosophy appears to have been advocated even after Independence gt7 Conclusion All three sermons from different eras of early American history do make the argument that individual prosperity is good for the soul Thus we can conclude that early colonialists were at least familiar if not actively following this philosophy of Protestant work ethic B Agricultural Productivig Change in 18m Centugy Pennsylvania Ball and Walton Question The early 17 11 century colonies in North America rose quickly from a subsistence economy in fact on the brink of near starvation to being able to become a major exporter of primary products within 100 years Such transformation would indicate that economic growth and productivity gains must have occurred Two questions arises 1 What was the timing of productivity change and economic growth and 2 What was the rates of productivity change and economic growth Data In order to answer this question the authors looked at agricultural data found in tax records in Chester County PA one of the oldest counties in Pennsylvania that was representative of other rural communities in the Middle Colonies Why agricultural data Agriculture accounted for 8590 of the colonial economy Any changes in growth for agricultural would essentially lead to changes in growth for the overall economy 4 Periods examined 17141731 17341745 17501770 17751790 Was there extensive growth Did an increase in factors of production lead to economic growth Period Capital K Land Z Labor L Weighted 14 10 76 17141731 100 100 100 100 17751790 121 106 88 94 Over the long period there is no evidence of extensive growth How about intensive growth 17141790 Rate of productivity change 008 per year Rate of economic growth real income per capita 03 per year Trends Between 17141770 there was positive growth Between 17701790 there was stagnant or declining growth Conclusion There were only modest changes in agricultural productivity during the l8Lh century The sector was not stagnant but it was also not a period of revolutionary technological innovations Since agriculture was 90 of the overall economy this implies that the overall economy in the colonies was growing slowly during the 18111 century Additionally there is evidence of an economic downturn starting in 17751790 Did Independence have an economic cost C The Economic Development of the 13 Continental Colonies 17201775 Marc E nal Questions What were the economic forces that explain economic development in the 13 colonies between 17201775 Why did the colonial economy grow during this period What factors led to the rise in the standard of living What were the economic factors occurring in 1760 that suggested that the colonies were ready to break with England Data Looking at 2 periods Period 1 17201745 There was strong growth during the 1720s1730s with stagnation in the early 1740s Paper argues that population growth fueled much of this growth during the period Period 2 17451775 There was strong growth during 17451760 with stagnation after 1760 Paper argues that other factors led to this growth during this period Sources of growth of income per capita between 1720 1775 1 Population Growth 0 Between 17201775 the White population increased by 3 a year It went from 466000 in 1720 to 25 million in 1775 The increase in white population is more due to an increase in natural population growth births exceed deaths than to an increase in immigration Immigrants accounted for only 20 of the white population growth It appears for that population growth was closely related to economic growth 0 Black population grew at a faster rate than whites during this period In 1720 blacks were 15 of the population but grew to 21 in 1770 Most of the growth was due to the slave trade than natural increase As with whites black population growth seems to be related with the economic growth rate 2 New Techniques 0 Technological improvements were noticeable but can only explain a small amount of the economic growth In agriculture there was an increase use of horsepower improvement in hand tools better irrigation techniques Overall the agricultural techniques were not much different in 1775 than in 1720 Greater impact of techniques in Southern agriculture than in Northern agriculture Other sectors such as home industry and shipbuilding also saw only minor technological changes 3 Improved terms of trade 0 The prices of the goods the colonies exported rose greater than the cost of the goods that they imported Much of this had to do with a surging British economy that demanded more raw materials provided by the colonies which drove up export prices Additionally technological and business innovations allowed British manufactures to increase output and maintain low prices


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