Economic Transformations in American history

Timeline created by jesswinters
In History
  • Jan 1, 1492

    Joint-Stock Companies

    Joint-Stock Companies
    The original forerunner to modern corporations, joint-stock companies allow investors to finance international travels, while providing them with capital and managing risk. The first travels made to America by both the Spanish and the English were financed with funding through the Virginia joint-stock company as well as others. Later companies included the Dutch East India Company in the early 1600's and the British East India Company.
  • Jan 1, 1492


    Originally used as a means to survive, agriculture blossomed into the most powerful and economically prosperous industries in American history. After industry began booming in the North, agriculture remained the main business of the South. It is still extremely important there to this day.
  • Indentured Servitude

    Indentured Servitude
    Indentured servants first arrived with the Virginia Company in 1607, when colonists were funded to travel to America through richer folks, and repaid they through years of labor, where they would be released afterwards. This was the first real American business other than the joint-stock companies, and it encouraged more people to come to America, as well as a rising middle class.
  • Slavery

    Slavery, which quickly started to replace indentured servitude, was a system of labor that forced individuals into hard labor with little to no pay. Slaves were seen as the owner's property, and slavery coming into America marked a business that was economically prosperous all the war up until it's final closing in the civil war.
  • Electricity Discovered

    Electricity Discovered
    This new invention caused businesses and households to be exponentially more productive, allowing to work at night and providing a power source for machines. This huge technological advancement changed the way all things were done in America, from farming to industry and everything in between.
  • Rise of Capitialism

    Rise of Capitialism
    A system based on private property and free-enterprise, capitialism took the place of mercantilism in America by providing competition and individual businesses to compete in trying to sell their product to the public. This system has changed our mindset about the American dream, allowing someone to rise to the top through an individual small business instead of a large monopolistic corporation.
  • Consumerism

    Luckily for the businessmen, around the early 1800's, families started to acquire more wealth than needed for the family to just sustain itself, and thus consurmerism was born. Now instead of just buying nessecities, the American economy could now include leisure items such as art, literature, and entertainment in society.
  • Industrrial Revolution

    Industrrial Revolution
    While industries didn't really start to boom until the first 30 years of the 1800's, the first factory was built by Samuel Slater in 1790 as a way to make American-made manufactured products, so that we could stop purchasing them from Europe. Industry would then evolve to be more prominent than agriculture in America, forming millions of corporations to fit the needs of the American people.
  • California Gold Rush

    California Gold Rush
    Many flocked to the San Francisco area as news spread aroung that gold was to be found in California. This important event expanded colonization in western America, as well as establishing a need for the transcontinental railroad, which comes along later on.
  • Corporations

    Although America tried to limit corporations after breaking ties with Britain in 1776, the rise of the industrial age brought along many Southerners searching for jobs in the big cities, and a perfect opportunity for those big business men to exploit them for work. This new idea of individuals managing their own businesses brought around the rise of many corporation and smaller business enterprises in the 19th century, since they no longer had to worry about government interference.
  • Trusts

    Trusts, or negotiations made between two companies to mutual benefit both parties, were seen as early as the beginning of major corporation start-ups. Like allies in a war, these trusts made sure that no company was completley fighting the economic war by itself. Although it was later outlawed in 1889 and discredited by the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, it did help ease big businesses into fending for themselves, while still having something to fall back on.
  • Monopolies

    Naturally, when there are different businesses to choose from, people will choose the ones suggested by others. This in turn leads to an eventual use in a limited number of companies that dominate in their certain areas of business, giving them a monopoly over that business. Monopolies, however, actually hurt the economy more than helped it because those businesses tended to corrupt with the amount of power they held, and also, competition is good for producing new ideas, products, and concepts.
  • Sharecropping

    After the Civil War, newly-freed blacks were assimilated into Southern society through sharecropping, where a farmer could loan out land the the black in return for part of the crop sales. This not helped African-Americans get their own land, but helped them ease them into this new society by having them do their same duties, but now as a free individual.
  • Transcontinental Railroad

    Transcontinental Railroad
    The railroad, built in 1869, connected the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast and changed business practices forever. Now, businesses would not just have to think about how to sell locally, but could now open up the expansion of their business to the entire country.
  • Unions/ Union Strikes

    Unions/ Union Strikes
    Unions, popular in the late 1800's, were composed of employees who wanted to bargain with their employers over salary rates and better working conditions. Often when things didn't go their way, they went on strikes where they would refuse to work until their demands were met. This caused business to have to re-evaluate their priorities and make sure their business could stay economically sound through better business practices.
  • Mining Camps

    Mining Camps
    Also known as coal camps, these small localized camps were strategetically placed along the transcontinental railroad. Predominantly made up of cheap chinese labor, these camps made sure that building the railroad would be a quick and economically stable process. These small camps later developed into prosperous cities that were located along the railroad.
  • Automobile Created

    Automobile Created
    The entire manufacturing industry changed with the invention of the automobile. As one of the greatest techonlogical innovations in American history, the economy to start revolving even more around corporations and monopolies with technological breakthroughs such as this one.
  • Assembly Line

    Assembly Line
    Revolutionized by Henry Ford, the assembly line provided a faster and cheaper way of making things by having each person just do one job of the manufacturing process, thus enabling factories to produce hundreds of products at the same time. Because of this process, business boomed and employment rates skyrocketed.
  • Great Depression/ Stock Market Crash

    Great Depression/ Stock Market Crash
    Happening just after America became a world power, one of the worst economic crisis of the century occured. Too much trust and power placed in the stock market caused every business to be impacted when it fell. After this event, the country was in an economic depression for the next decade and a half.
  • Keynesian Economics

    Keynesian Economics
    Keynesian economics are based on the ideas of John Maynard Keynes, stating that the government should increase business and spending in periods of economic slumps, and decrease their involvement when the economy is booming. This ensures the transfer of money, even in times of depressions, and it helps to avoid a great slump happen again like in 1929. Plus, the American public wouldn't mind the government involvement since they would only be there when needed to serve as a safety net.
  • New Deal

    New Deal
    The New Deal was FDR's attempt at repairin the economy after the catastrophe of the stock market crash, as well as Hovver's lack of help during his term. He created more jobs and encouraged the flow of currency to make the economy boom again. Without these, who knows how long it might have taken for the economy to fix itself. It is thanks to him that our Depression didn't last for much more than 5 to 7 years before it was getting increasingly more stable.