History Summaries

Fuller Brush Company

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Fuller Brush Company produced its own high-quality goods for sale, based on what the users needed, raising the level of door-to-door sales of household, cleaning, and personal products. Like many revolutionary movements in American entrepreneurial history, the Fuller Brush Company began with a remarkably simple premise: Design a quality product that will last. In […]

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French and Indian War

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The British victory in the French and Indian War led to greater economic opportunities for Great Britain’s North American colonies, but it ironically also helped the nation’s thirteen American colonies eventually to become independent. It also facilitated the ability of the American colonists to trade. The French and Indian War was the North American portion […]

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Benjamin Franklin

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Before becoming one of America’s Founders, a scientist, and a statesman, Franklin was one of America’s first entrepreneurs. Business practices he developed have continued to be successful tools almost three hundred years later. Benjamin Franklin was a self-educated, self-made man. As a young boy, he worked as an apprentice in his brother’s printing shop in […]

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401(k) retirement plans

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Most businesses with pension plans have replaced traditional defined-benefit plans with 401(k) retirement plans, or what are classified as defined-contribution pension plans. They have thus become the primary method whereby private-sector employees save for retirement. Section 401(k) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code was created by the Revenue Act of 1978Revenue Act of 1978. The […]

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  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Fortune was the first true American financial magazine. Although the existing trade periodicals of the 1930’s were black-and-white compilations of statistics and facts, Fortune offered artistic covers, beautiful photographs, compelling advertisements, and literary articles with economic, political, and social analyses. Fortune became a global business brand, with significant franchises, worldwide readership in the millions, and […]

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Fort Knox

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Although four other sites also store the nation’s gold bullion holdings, the federal depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky, has served as the primary U.S. gold safeguarding facility since the first years of the New Deal, with assets during the early twenty-first century estimated at 147.3 million ounces of gold valued at more than $123 billion. […]

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Forestry industry

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The forestry industry in the United States dates back to the colonial era and remains integral to the economy. An abundance of wood aided in the rapid expansion of the United States. Wood was used to build everything from homes and factories to ships and wagons, and it also supplied chemicals such as tannin, potash, […]

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Ford Motor Company

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The first successful mass-production automaker, Ford Motor Company introduced a number of manufacturing and sales techniques that revolutionized production and sales of automobiles worldwide. When Henry Ford, HenryFord and a group of investors incorporated the Ford Motor Company in 1903, they began a transportation revolution. An automobile enthusiast who began building prototypes in 1896, Ford […]

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Ford Model T

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Ford Model T was the first automobile to be manufactured on an assembly line. This innovation not only made it the most affordably priced automobile on the market at the time but also made it possible for more of the members of the middle class to purchase automobiles. The Ford Motor CompanyFord Motor Company […]

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Henry Ford

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The methods Ford used to make and sell cars revolutionized American manufacturing and marketing. Consumer mobility provided by his cars and the increase of leisure time provided by his farm machinery helped create suburban sprawl and spawned roadside eateries, motels, and other consumer-oriented enterprises. Henry Ford’s early life was spent on the family farm in […]

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  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Forbes is one of the most influential business and financial magazines in the United States, known for its many lists, including its list of the world’s richest people. In large measure, the history of Forbes is the history of the magazine’s founder, B. C. Forbes, B. C.Forbes, and his famous family. A Scottish immigrant and […]

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Food Stamp Plan

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Because of widespread unemployment during the Great Depression, many families in the United States were unable to buy enough food. The Food Stamp Plan increased the purchasing power of these families and reduced the agricultural surplus, thereby stimulating the economy. The Food Stamp Plan of 1939 began during the Great Depression under the administration of […]

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Food-processing industries

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

From its modest beginnings during the American Industrial Revolution, the food-processing industry in the United States evolved into a trillion-dollar enterprise exercising enormous economic, political, social, and cultural influence over people’s eating habits as well as their health. Throughout the early history of the American colonies and the United States, food production and processing were […]

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Food for Peace

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Food for Peace succeeded in facilitating the sale of increasingly large American agricultural surpluses to foreign buyers. It also established the principle that promoting American business abroad was linked to U.S. national security goals and demonstrated the political clout of U.S. agricultural producers. The Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act (Public Law 480, 83rd Congress) […]

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Food and Drug Administration

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The oversight provided by the Food and Drug Administration affects directly such businesses as agriculture, tobacco, meat processing and packing, pharmaceuticals, the cosmetics industry, and the makers of much of the biomedical hardware commonly found in modern medical facilities. The creation of a federal agency to oversee the food and drug industries is largely a […]

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Fishing industry

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The American fishing industry expanded in response to the growing popularity of seafood, but many of the areas rich in seafood have become overfished. As fisheries decline, the world fish supply will decrease, driving up prices and rendering a significant, nutritious part of the human diet inaccessible to many people. In 2008, the American fishing […]

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Financial crisis of 2008

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The crisis disrupted housing markets, mortgage markets, and finance and credit markets generally. These developments reduced aggregate demand and brought on an economic recession that adversely affected most businesses and shook public confidence in financial institutions and government. Beginning during the summer of 2007, worsening conditions in the United States housing and home-finance sectors led […]

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Films with business themes

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Films treating economic subjects tend to reflect popular American attitudes toward business during the periods in which they are made. For example, during eras of social and economic unrest, cautionary tales are popular. Rags-to-riches narratives have always been popular but are especially so during hard economic times, such as the Great Depression. In a scholarly […]

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Fiber-optic industry

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The fiber-optic industry transformed communication and data transmission, allowing more data to be sent using a greater bandwidth for longer distances with lower interference and attenuation. This increased the efficiency of business communications and allowed the formation of businesses that used this technology to provide services or products. The fiber-optic industry developed during the 1970’s […]

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FedEx

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

FedEx was the first company to integrate air and ground transportation to enable overnight, door-to-door delivery of time-sensitive parcels. Until the 1960’s, the transportation of freight by commercial airliners was an adjunct to the transportation of passengers. Because accommodating freight was a lower priority than was accommodating passengers’ luggage, deliveries could easily be delayed. Thus, […]

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Federal Trade Commission

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Federal Trade Commission is charged with protecting consumers from unfair competition and unfair or deceptive acts in commerce. It promotes free and fair competition through the prevention of price-fixing agreements, combinations in restraint of trade, interlocking directorates, unfair acts of competition, false advertising, and other deceptive business practices. The passage of the Federal Trade […]

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Federal Reserve

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

As the central bank of the United States, the Federal Reserve is the institution in which the federal government and private banks do their banking. Central banks are responsible for monitoring banks and ensuring they remain solvent. They also control interest rates and thus borrowing costs for consumers and business firms. This, in turn, affects […]

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Federal Emergency Management Agency

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Through mismanagement, waste, cronyism, budget slashing, and fraud, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been largely ineffectual, causing businesses as well as individuals to suffer needlessly in the wake of disasters. Created on April 1, 1979, by President Jimmy Carter, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was a federal government response to the need for […]

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Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Establishment of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation helped eliminate bank panics, which had been a major contributor to business depressions. There has been no repetition of the deluge of bank failures that occurred in 1929-1933. Although federal Bankingdeposit insurance did not formally begin until 1933, there had been numerous earlier attempts to achieve the same […]

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Federal Communications Commission

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Because the Federal Communications Commission has the power to allocate frequency bands and to grant (or deny) licenses to radio and television stations, it has had a profound effect on these and other communications businesses, which commission officials are legally required to monitor so that they serve the public interest. Before the formation of the […]

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Fast-food restaurants

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

During the twentieth century, fast-food restaurants, or quick service restaurants (QSR), became one of the fastest-growing American industries. The major chains and franchises purchased prime real estate, thus transforming the American landscape. Along with the rise of automobiles, QSRs changed consumer behavior and spending. Major QSRs invested billions of advertising dollars to create brand-name recognition, […]

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Farm subsidies

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Farm subsidies help control the price of crops, ensure farmers of a consistent income, and keep the United States free from dependence on foreign countries for its food supply. During the 1930’s, the United States had 6 million farms on which one-quarter of the population lived. However, by the end of the twentieth century, only […]

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Farm protests

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Although the population of the United States grew dramatically during the late nineteenth century, the vast expansion of land being farmed and the beginnings of mechanized agriculture soon led to overproduction and falling prices. Farmers protested these developments, blaming government policies, the railroads, and the processors of agricultural products. During the 1870’s and 1880’s, a […]

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Farm labor

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The United States is one of the most productive agricultural nations in the world, and its ability to produce food and other cash crops has been a direct function of the labor available and its relationship to the means of production. The southern states in particular have found themselves at various points dependent on slavery […]

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Farm Credit Administration

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Farm Credit Administration is the federal agency that regulates all other government entities providing credit facilities for farmers, other rural landholders, and rural-based businesses. After the end of the U.S. Civil War in 1865 and the opening of the West for settlement, homesteaders needed access to long-term credit to purchase farmland. They also needed […]

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Export-Import Bank of the United States

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Export-Import Bank of the United States helps encourage and maintain trade between the United States and other nations by reducing the risks associated with that trade. The bank guarantees transactions that are too risky for commercial banks but that still have a reasonable assurance of repayment, thereby helping maintain employment in the U.S. manufacturing […]

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Exploration

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Before 1492, the Americas were a largely unexploited region, full of resources that promised opportunity and prosperity. Early European explorers were often motivated by curiosity about unknown and undiscovered lands, but most great exploration ventures were essentially business trips, in which the search for new resources, new trade routes, and new trading partners were the […]

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European trade with the United States

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Europe has always been an important trading partner of the United States, consistently providing a major import-export market. As the United States and Europe have increased investment in each other’s domestic economy through corporate globalization, their trading relationship has become more open and free of barriers, resulting in economic growth for both. The United States’ […]

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Erie Canal

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Erie Canal allowed goods to be shipped between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean faster and cheaper than by mule-drawn carts. It resulted in the settling of western New York and helped establish New York City as the main port on the East Coast. Until the construction of the Erie Canal, travel westward […]

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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The EEOC is responsible for many late twentieth century changes in the hiring, promotion, and dismissal procedures of American businesses. By enforcing antidiscrimination laws, the agency has forced businesses to diversify their workforces and to follow regulations that allow the government to intervene into some of the most basic business decisions. The Civil Rights Act […]

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Environmental Protection Agency

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Environmental Protection Agency regulates and punishes companies whose practices damage the environment, while it encourages businesses to research and develop environmentally friendly technologies and products. Its oversight has forced many companies to change the way they do business, costing individual firms money but saving the nation billions of dollars in environmental damage control. The […]

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Environmental movement

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The environmental movement has often been criticized by business interests for hampering the growth of American business. Environmentalists, by contrast, argue that the movement has helped point out the true costs of economic development and in doing so has helped make some industries more efficient. The environmental movement in the United States dates from the […]

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Enron bankruptcy

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The collapse of Enron, an energy conglomerate with reported revenues of $100 billion, is one of the largest bankruptcy and accounting fraud cases in U.S. history. Enron Corporation began as a traditional natural gas supplier in 1985 in Houston, Texas. In less than two decades, it evolved into the seventh largest of the Fortune 500 […]

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Energy crisis of 1979

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The sharp rise in prices after the Iranian Revolution, combined with the Iran-Iraq War and U.S. government actions that exacerbated the problem, produced gas lines, shortages, and dramatically higher energy prices for U.S. businesses and consumers. World crude oil prices rose sharply after the Arab oil embargo of 1973 and continued a steady climb through […]

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U.S. Department of Energy

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Department of Energy is charged with developing the overall energy policy for the United States. Much of its attention is directed toward coal, nuclear energy, and oil policy, although it also concerns itself with alternative sources of energy. It is also in charge of administering the repositories for nuclear waste and the operational aspects […]

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Embargo Acts

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The embargoes created an economic recession, but ultimately American industry became more reliant on the domestic market and less dependent on foreign trade. When the nineteenth century began, Britain had mobilized to stop Napoleonic France’s increasing control of continental Europe and sought to stop trade with France. British warships overpowered ships of other countries, demanded […]

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E-mail

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

E-mail has replaced voice and physical mail as the primary means of communication in many businesses. It has spawned support industries that earn billions of dollars per year. E-mail started in 1965 as a way for users who were time-sharing a single mainframe Computer industry;e-mail[email]computer to communicate with one another. The ability to communicate with […]

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Electronics industry

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The electronics industry, from its start in telephones, to the development of the transistor, the microchip, and the microcontrollers embedded in automobiles, appliances, and power tools, has had a profound influence on telecommunications, entertainment, and the products people use everyday. Modern electronics began with Alexander Bell, Alexander GrahamGraham Bell’s Telephonestelephone, which could transmit the human […]

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U.S. Department of Education

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Because it is the responsibility of the Department of Education (ED) to establish and disseminate educational policy and to inaugurate and oversee federal funding designated for educational assistance, this department has direct responsibility both for identifying the needs of personnel to join the American workforce and developing means to train people to fill these needs. […]

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Education

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Education has played a central role in shaping the abilities and attitudes of owners, managers, workers, and consumers. It also has become a major business, encompassing private schools at all levels, technical and trade institutes, and producers of educational supplies and books. Education is a search for ways in which society can both benefit from […]

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Thomas Alva Edison

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Using his entrepreneurial skills to implement business diversification and divisional structure in the format of mass production, Edison dramatically influenced modern society by developing, manufacturing, and marketing practical products, particularly electric lightbulbs, electric generating systems, phonographs, and motion-picture projectors. Selling newspapers, candy, and vegetables on the Grand Trunk Railway and later working as a telegraph […]

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  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

With more than half of its 1.3 million subscribers in the United States, The Economist represents and influences the economic and sociopolitical views and interests of American corporations and executives as part of an Anglo-American, free-market business tradition. The neoliberal perspective it espouses has come to penetrate the greater part of globalized commercial operations and […]

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eBay

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

During the mid-1990’s as more and more people gained access to the Internet, online retailers began to proliferate. On September 3, 1995, computer programmer Pierre Omidyar and businessman Jeffrey Skoll launched AuctionWeb, later known as eBay, and the largest online auction house was born. In concept, eBay is very similar to traditional Auctions, onlineauction houses, […]

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Dust Bowl

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Dust Bowl caused hundreds of thousands of Americans to become homeless and resulted in millions of inhabitants leaving the Great Plains in search of better living conditions elsewhere. It also led to a greater awareness of the negative impact that industry can have on the environment. Although the precise date of origin of the […]

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Drug trafficking

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The illegal production and distribution of drugs has become a multibillion-dollar industry that has allowed criminal organizations to generate exorbitant profits while evading payment of taxes, thereby placing additional tax burdens on American citizens and legitimate business enterprises. Further, the illegal drug trade has taxed the resources of law-enforcement organizations at the local, state, and […]

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Drive-through businesses

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

With the rise of American automobile culture and consumers’ increasing need for convenient and speedy services during the twentieth century, drive-through businesses proliferated and revolutionized major industries. Drive-through establishments became a profitable part of the American landscape and economy, from fast-food dining to banking and more. In 1923, J. G. Kirby and Dr. Reuben Wright […]

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Dow Jones Industrial Average

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tracks stock market trends and, by extension, economic trends in American business, thereby providing an overall indication of the status and health of the stock market and of the U.S. economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), devised by financial analyst Charles Henry Dow, Charles HenryDow, first appeared in Dow’s […]

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Dot-com bubble

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

During the 1990’s, Internet-related businesses were viewed as a way for investors to make quick profits, and millions of dollars were pumped into nascent businesses. After the bubble burst and many of these businesses failed, dot-coms were regarded as bad investments. Ultimately, as the markets settled, it became clear that Internet stocks offered both good […]

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Disneyland

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Disneyland set a new standard for theme parks, combining rides and other attractions with famous Disney characters and themes to create a magical, otherworldly setting for family entertainment. The park became a tourist destination, bringing visitors to Southern California, and it helped perpetuate Disney’s brand, demonstrating that the brand could be successful in a variety […]

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Walt Disney

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

A commercial artist and cartoonist, Disney founded the Walt Disney Company, which would become one of the most influential media and entertainment corporations in the world. Walt Disney was an influential force in the entertainment industry in the twentieth century. At the beginning of his entrepreneurial days, during the early 1920’s, Disney collaborated with another […]

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Diners Club

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

As the first multiple-business charge card, Diners Club revolutionized the American economy and consumer culture by creating a means of effecting cash-free transactions and permitting consumers ready access to credit. The use of charge cards began during the 1920’s, when department stores and gasoline retailers began issuing cards to their customers. By the 1930’s, some […]

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Digital recording technology

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Digital recording has made possible much higher quality sound reproduction on much smaller and less expensive media but, at the same time, has made it easier for users to make high-quality copies of copyrighted materials, thereby cutting into sales of these materials. Digital sound recording required several important developments seemingly unrelated to audio reproduction. The […]

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Derivatives and hedge fund industry

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Financial derivatives and hedge funds have played an increasingly important and often interrelated role in American business history. Hedge funds in particular have exploded in size, number, and relevance since the beginning of the twenty-first century. The funds have been leaders in financial innovation and have helped reduce overall risks in the economy. Financial derivatives […]

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Deregulation of financial institutions

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Deregulation contributed to efficiency and innovation in the financial sector, but also to economic crises. Deposit institutions became less differentiated from one another, but each offered more diverse services to business and household customers. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the federal government imposed many restrictions on the conduct of banks and other deposit […]

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Depression of 1808-1809

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The depression of 1808-1809, brought on by an embargo that cut off international markets for U.S. business, led to the development of a number of domestic industries. The 1780’s were a period of great difficulty for the American colonies. Although they had secured a military victory, formally recognized in 1783 in the Treaty of Paris, […]

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Depression of 1784

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Depression of 1784 helped convince the nation that the central government created by the Articles of Confederation was too weak and that a new, stronger federal government with the power to issue currency, create tariffs, and regulate commerce was essential to national prosperity. At the end of the Revolutionary War, the United States faced […]

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W. Edwards Deming

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Through his innovative ideas about quality control, Deming helped rebuild the Japanese economy after World War II, and decades later his ideas contributed to the transformation of American business as well. After earning his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Wyoming in 1921, W. Edwards Deming studied mathematical physics, receiving a master’s […]

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Eugene V. Debs

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Perhaps America’s best-known socialist, Debs offered a strong critique of American capitalism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His role as a strike leader–most notably during the Pullman Strike of 1894–and as a five-time candidate for president gained him both notoriety and a sizeable political following. Although Eugene V. Debs was considered bright […]

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DDT banning

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

DDT’s ban signaled a new political strength for the growing environmental movement. Organic pesticides such as dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) came into widespread use after World War II. DDT played a major role in the Allied war effort, helping the troops control malaria and other insect-borne diseases during the war. It became so popular among returning servicemen […]

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DC-3 aircraft

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The DC-3 provided the developing airline industry with a reliable and versatile craft. It was so popular with both customers and companies that it consolidated the industry’s place in America’s transportation network. The DC-3 was the result of cooperation between a business,Douglas Aircraft CompanyDouglas Aircraft Company, and a customer, American AirlinesAmerican Airlines. American Airlines wanted […]

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Daylight saving time

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Daylight saving time was instituted in the United States as an energy-saving measure to allow people to take maximum advantage of available daylight. Although its effects in that regard remain questionable, the practice has been a boon for summertime retail business, increasing the length of the shopping day for consumers and thereby allowing stores to […]

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Dams and aqueducts

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Pure water is essential for human health and the functioning of many businesses, and throughout American history aqueducts have been built to supply water to agricultural areas and to large urban areas, such as New York and Los Angeles. Many dams have been constructed to prevent floods, improve the navigability of rivers for commercial transportation […]

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Dairy industry

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Because of the importance of milk products in American diets, the dairy industry occupies a special place in the national economy. Since the mid-nineteenth century, the government has played a growing role in policing and supporting the industry, which has been largely removed from the dynamics of normal market forces. At the same time, government […]

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Currency

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The money supply is an important determinant of aggregate demand and business conditions in general. Until 1935, a significant proportion of U.S. paper money was issued by commercial banks. The opportunity to issue banknotes was an important source of lending power for banks. Before the United States gained its independence, paper money was issued by […]

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Cumberland Road

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

One of the first toll-free highways in the United States, the Cumberland Road offered Americans overland passage and access to new markets. A stable road surface made the route attractive for entrepreneurs looking to transport people and goods to the expanding western frontier. As early as 1802, the U.S. Congress discussed the need for a […]

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“Cross of Gold” speech

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Attacking the gold monetary standard in favor of bimetallism, Bryan defended Western farmers and the “common man” against banks and the wealth of the Eastern United States. U.S. representative William Jennings Bryan, William JenningsBryan of Nebraska spoke at the Democratic National Convention of 1896, contending that the gold standard should be abandoned in favor of […]

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Credit unions

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Initially designed to provide credit to needy households, credit unions gradually became more like banks, representing a viable alternative to banks for consumers seeking a community-based financial establishment. Credit unions were created as a means of dealing with the credit problems of low-income families, particularly industrial workers. Each institution formed around a cohesive social group, […]

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Crédit Mobilier of America scandal

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Crédit Mobilier of America scandal entered the annals of American business as an example of corruption typical in post-Civil War commerce, especially in railroad construction. During the 1860’s, westward expansion of the railroad system was of prime importance to the economy of the United States, and the government was prepared to provide substantial subsidies […]

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Credit card buying

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

General-purpose credit cards, unknown in the United States before 1958, have become an essential feature of commerce. Credit card purchases totaled more than $4 trillion in 2007, and total indebtedness on credit cards stood at $880 billion. Revenue from interest, cardholder fees, penalties, and merchant interchange fees made the institutions responsible for issuing credit cards […]

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Coxey’s Army

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Coxey’s Army advocated the then-radical notion that the federal government should take direct responsibility for aiding in economic recovery by creating programs for the unemployed. The demonstration was the first national protest by unemployed persons in response to what they perceived as employers’ indifference to their welfare, and their use of the Capitol as a […]

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Counterfeiting

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Counterfeiting of money weakens the foundation of a financial system by devaluing its currency. Counterfeiting products causes loss of profits, damage to a brand, and possible injury to unwitting consumers. Counterfeiting of currency has very deep roots. Coinage was the only form of currency issued by governments for most of history. The early European Americans […]

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Cotton industry

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The cotton industry, aided by the invention of the cotton gin, enriched the American South before the Civil War. Although it suffered setbacks during the war, the industry recovered to provide a significant source of American exports. The early history of the cotton industry revolves around the introduction of African slaves to the American South […]

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Cotton gin

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

By reducing the time required to process raw cotton into usable stock, the cotton gin revolutionized the economy of the antebellum South, quickly establishing cotton as the dominant American export. The corresponding enormous increase in the demand for cotton helped make the institution of slavery an entrenched part of the southern economy. In addition, the […]

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Copyright law

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Copyright law, which promotes and protects creative expression by rewarding authors and artists for their efforts with exclusive legal rights to control the use of their work, has played an important role in the development of the media, publishing, and entertainment industries. Copyright is a form of legal protection for authors and creators of original […]

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“Coolie” labor

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

During the second half of the nineteenth century, Chinese immigrants played a significant role in the economic growth and development of the western part of the country. However, their presence also led to an outpouring of racial prejudice and violence, and to the eventual passage of legislation at both the state and national levels to […]

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Contract law

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Contracts are vital to and at the heart of business and business dealings. Millions of contracts are made and executed daily to facilitate the completion of work and the distribution of goods and services. Without enforceable contracts, the American enterprise system could not operate. So important is the right to contract that the U.S. Constitution […]

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Construction industry

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

All aspects of American business require locations at which businesspeople can work and the means to travel among these locations. The construction industry creates both these locations (buildings) and the roads and other infrastructure that make travel between them possible. In the earliest days of European colonization, all building resembled that of Native Americans in […]

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U.S. Constitution

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The U.S. Constitution provides a stable rule of law and an economic framework that makes American business and finance possible. From the earliest recorded times, successful business activities have depended on the existence of peaceful and stable legal environments. When human societies moved beyond the hunter-gatherer stage to primitive agriculture, their members recognized that peace […]

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U.S. Congress

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

As the lawmaking body of the U.S. national government, Congress is responsible for all legislation that affects American business. Its investigative powers and role in the appointment process also affect business. Since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, Congress has had a powerful impact on economic policy in the United States. That impact […]

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Confederate currency

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Confederate currency–produced by the Confederate government and by individual states in the Confederacy–was critical to the South during the U.S. Civil War in its attempts to establish its own union. This currency was to be credited after the Confederacy’s victory but became worthless after its defeat. The Confederate government began to issue Civil War, U.S.;currencycurrency […]

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Computer industry

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The computer industry is a major locus of innovation that has enabled all kinds of American businesses to manage information more efficiently. The computer industry had its beginnings during the 1880’s, when the United States government faced an insurmountable problem in counting its population. By law, the government was required to perform a census every […]

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Commodity markets

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The establishment of commodity markets allowed for efficient trading. As the United States grew, commodity trade and pricing drove the creation of standards for agricultural products, as well as transportation systems that could ensure their delivery. The development of futures contracts by the Chicago Board of Trade greatly facilitated agricultural development throughout the Midwest. The […]

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U.S. Department of Commerce

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Probably no office of the United States government relates more directly to the American business community than does the Department of Commerce, which arranges for loans to businesses, monitors business opportunities both domestic and international, takes positive steps to control unemployment, and offers guidance to the nation’s workforce and to the businesses that employ that […]

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Colorado River water

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Diversion of the Colorado River has helped make possible the economic growth of the American West, particularly Southern California and the city of Los Angeles. The river’s water is used for irrigation and the generation of electric power, and the lakes created by damming the river are recreation centers. Without the Colorado’s water, it would […]

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Colonial economic systems

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

During the years from 1607 to 1775, farmers and merchants in colonies on mainland North America developed a market economy and commercial practices that provided the basis for material success comparable to the most advanced nations of Europe and made possible nineteenth century expansion. The earliest British settlements on the North American continent were business […]

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Cola industry

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The cola industry produced one of the earliest nationwide, mass-produced consumer products that appealed to popular tastes. Driven in part by consistently innovative advertising campaigns, the giants of the industry, Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola, grew to become international brands, selling their products throughout the world. The Soft drink industrysoft drink industry is one of the most […]

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  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Coin’s Financial School popularized the ideas of the Populist Party and the free silver movement. It formed the basis for presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech in 1896. The 175-page Coin’s Financial School, originally published by the Coin Publishing Company of Chicago, explains a technical financial issue in a manner that can […]

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Coca-Cola Company

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Coca-Cola Company is one of the largest American corporations, and its iconic, eponymous beverage is the best-selling soft drink in the world. Through the years, the company has deployed memorable advertising in all media, the latest technology, and a model production and distribution system to increase and maintain its success. On May 8, 1886, […]

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Coal strike of 1902

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The strike negotiations marked the first time a sitting president intervened in a strike, citing national safety as the reason. Following 1897’s successful bituminous coal strike, JohnMitchell, JohnMitchell, president of theUnited Mine Workers of AmericaUnited Mine Workers of America (UMWA), led a Strikes;minersstrike in 1900 to benefit Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal miners. Hoping to avoid an […]

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Coal industry

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

An important component of American industrial development since the early nineteenth century, coal has provided energy to industry and remained a major source of electrical power into the early twenty-first century. Coal mining has provided numerous jobs, and it served to spur railroad construction during the late nineteenth century, while persistent health and safety concerns […]

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CNBC

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Since its inception, CNBC has developed into a principal U.S. business and financial cable television network and one of the world’s most important financial news sources. The number of U.S. citizens owning stocks and bonds–often through various retirement plans–grew substantially in the second half of the twentieth century. It was thus probably inevitable that a […]

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Clayton Antitrust Act

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Along with the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, the Clayton Antitrust Act protected competition in the marketplace by proscribing various anticompetitive business practices. It also exempted certain union activities from antitrust prosecution, preserving the ability of unions to exert reasonable pressure on employers during negotiations. During the initial period following the enactment of the first […]

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Clay’s American System

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Clay’s system helped define the nature and drive the development of U.S. business from the nineteenth through the twenty-first centuries. Henry Clay, HenryClay, a nineteenth century U.S. representative and later senator from Kentucky, devised the American System to fashion a compromise to unite the United States into a single political unit by providing a way […]

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U.S. Civil War

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

During the U.S. Civil War, the Union government demonstrated its capacity to raise large sums of money, and it established a national currency, a national banking system, and the nation’s first income tax. The war promoted the economic growth of the Northern states, while it retarded development in the states of the Confederacy. With the […]

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Civil Rights movement

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Long after the U.S. Civil War, many African Americans were still working in low-paying jobs that required few skills and had no opportunities for advancement. They faced discrimination in education and the workplace that limited their progress. The Civil Rights movement helped transform the place of African Americans in the economy. The South has historically […]

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