Henry Clay's American System

What was the American system?

The American System was a plan to strengthen and unify the government. There were three parts to Henry Clay's American System. Henry Clay's American System includes internal improvements, protective tariffs, and chartering the Second bank of United States. Under the American System the government would deposit its funds in the bank, accept bank's notes as payments for government land, taxes, and other transaction. Also, under the American System the government would buy 1/5 of the bank's stocks. Protective tariffs were put increasing the taxes of imported goods from Britain, so consumers were forced to buy American-made products. These tariffs allowed the prosperity of the  nation's small industries, but negatively impacted foreign trade and American consumers. The American System would also provide money for roads, canals, and railroads.

The Diversity of the north, south, and western region of America
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The western region of America was considered the backcountry. To the people living in the Northern and Southern region of America, settlers of the backcountry were just as uncivilized as the Native Americans.Settlers of the backcountry like Daniel Boone adopted the culture of the native Americans. Like the Native American they went on long hunts while the women took care of the house, farms, and gardens. The backcountry males did not do much work. They mostly went hunting and engaged in a lot of fights. Drinking was a big problem among the backcountry males. The men got into fights where each other would rip apart the other's ears and arms and gouge the other's eyes. The Southerners were the farmers of the country and were pro-slavery. To southern families honor and respect was the two most important morals. Children were taught at a young age that their job was to protect these two things. The Southern farmers still followed the patriarchy system. They defended slavery by saying that they treated slaves as part of the family, like a son or daughter. In the North there was the rise of the Yankee middle class where the men and women had distinct jobs. The life style of the North was more elegant. There was more furniture, books and had little families. The women only did house work, which was a tremendous amount of work. Men dealt with political issues and other matters of society.    

In the pictures below, the top represents a southern family. As you can see the wife doesn't not look directly at the husband if she did, it would be disrespectful and she would be shunned. The servant and the slave are comfortable but at the same time obedient. The picture on the bottom is a picture of a Northern famliy. The image displays a well decorated and sophisticated home where the wife is entertaining her only child, which one of the job of northern women.                     
 
How would the American system unify the nation and create a self sufficient interdependent country?

Chartering the Second Bank of United States would create a national currency and centralize the control of money and credit. The centralization of currency would make trade easier because they wouldn't be any currency conversion for interstate trade. Internal improvement such as roads, canals, railroads would connect the west to the North East and New England markets. Since the protective tariffs made the cost of imported goods higher than the cost of American- made goods, America started to depend more on American goods than on foreign goods.  With railroads and canals the culture of New England would spread to the West where people were considered to be uncivilized. Railroads and canals would be able to transport the cotton grown in the south to northern mills where they can be manufactured and resold throughout the country. The American System would unify the country and create and create a self-sufficient, interdependent country because American citizens were forced to depend on American goods and with transportation development, the culture of one region can easily be spread to other regions in America.

The image below is a graphical representation of Henry Clay's platform, the American System painted by Ambrose Andrews.
http://www.henryclay.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/fotashenry-clay.jpg
The link leads to Henry Clay's speech in defense of American System.
http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/Speeches_ClayAmericanSystem.htm/carey95.htm
 

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