1783-1815: Business and the Economy: Chronology
1783-1815: Business and the Economy: Chronology
- 30 Apr. Gouverneur and Robert Morris prepare a proposal on American currency, basing the new monetary unit on the value of the Spanish dollar and British pound sterling.
- 2 July Great Britain issues the Orders in Council closing the British West Indies to American ships and ending exports of rum, molasses, sugar, coffee, and spices to the United States.
- Great Britain and the United States sign the final terms of the Treaty of Paris, ending the American Revolution, setting the nation’s western boundary at the Mississippi River, and allowing American exports of manufactured goods to the British Isles.
- New York City ship carpenters form a guild.
- Oliver Evans begins constructing an automated flour mill near Philadelphia.
- Simon Willard acquires the exclusive privilege of manufacturing clock-jacks in Massachusetts.
- 22 Feb. Empress of China leaves New York for China.
- 17 Mar. Recognizing the importance of codfish to the state’s economy, the Massachusetts House of Representatives hangs a wooden cod from the ceiling of their chamber.
- 15 June Elias Derby’s ship Light Horse sails from Salem to Russia, the first ship to sail under an American flag into the Baltic Sea.
- July Spain closes the lower half of the Mississippi River to American traffic.
- Aug. Empress of China is the first American vessel to arrive in Canton, China; it earns a $37, 000 profit trading American ginseng root, liquor, tar, and turpentine for Chinese tea, silk, nankeens, and porcelain.
- 30 Aug. France opens its West Indian ports to American shipments of salted fish and meats.
- Nov. Elias Derby’s ship Grand Turk sails for the Cape of Good Hope.
- Nov. Robert Morris resigns as superintendent of finance, frustrated by Congress’s inability to raise money under the terms of the Articles of Confederation.
- 20 May Congress passes the Land Ordinance of 1785, providing for the surveying of western lands into six-mile-square tracts, each with 36 sections of 640 acres.
- 23 June Massachusetts forbids exports in British vessels.
- Sept. The Grand Turk reaches Canton.
- 11-14 Sept. An interstate commercial convention is held at Annapolis, Maryland, and calls for a revised constitution.
- The first coin authorized by Congress, the Fugio cent, is minted with “Mind Your Business” as the motto.
- Massachusetts grants a fifteen-year monopoly to Boston Glass House to manufacture window and plate glass.
- A British whaler with a crew from Nantucket, Massachusetts, makes the first voyage to the Pacific Ocean to hunt sperm whales.
- 22 May The Grand Turk returns to Salem.
- 13 July Congress passes the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, creating one large territory and providing for the development of three to five states from it; slavery is not allowed in the area.
- Sept. The first American expedition to the Pacific Northwest begins when Columbia and Lady Washington sail from Boston.
- A wool-manufacturing plant is established in Hartford, Connecticut, but it closes because of the high price of wool, lack of capital, and British competition.
- Mar. Massachusetts bars the export of green calf-skins to keep the tanning industry in the state.
- Aug. Columbia and Lady Washington reach Nootka Sound, trading an assortment of goods for otter skins.
- Congress adopts a coinage system based on the Spanish dollar rather than the British pound.
- 8 Apr. James Madison introduces a tariff bill into Congress.
- 4 July Congress grants cod fishermen a bounty on exports of dried or pickled fish.
- 4 July President George Washington signs the first national tariff, enacted to raise money and protect American manufacturing; it imposes a 5 percent tax on all imports.
- 31 July Congress establishes the value of foreign coins circulating in the United States.
- 2 Sept. Congress creates the Treasury Department and confirms Alexander Hamilton as the first secretary.
- 21 Sept. Congress requests Treasury Secretary Hamilton to report on the state of public credit.
- Columbia returns from its voyage to Canton, China, the first American ship to circle the globe.
- 9 Jan. Alexander Hamilton issues the Report on Public Credit, calling for federal assumption of state Revolutionary War debts.
- 10 Apr. Congress passes the first patent law, and the first patent is granted to Samuel Hopkins for a process for making potash.
- 12 Apr. The House of Representatives defeats Hamilton’s proposal for assumption of state debts.
- 31 May President George Washington signs the first copyright act to protect written materials and maps.
- 22 July The first Trade and Intercourse Act provides for the regulation of Indian trade by the federal government.
- 24 July Congress agrees to build a capital city on the Potomac River, part of a compromise measure to ensure Virginia’s support for assumption of state debts.
- 4 Aug. Congress passes the Funding Act, consolidating federal and state Revolutionary War debts and providing for the payment of interest.
- Philadelphia carpenters unsuccessfully strike for a ten-hour workday and over-time pay.
- Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton issues the Report on a National Bank, supporting the formation of a large government bank to bolster economic development.
- 1 Feb. Thomas Jefferson issues the Report on Fisheries.
- 25 Feb. George Washington signs a bill creating the Bank of the United States.
- 3 Mar. Congress approves an excise tax on whiskey.
- Aug. Alexander Hamilton and Tenche Coxe issue a prospectus for the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures.
- Oct. Twenty-five directors are chosen for the Bank of the United States.
- 5 Dec. Hamilton issues the Report on Manufactures, an assessment of the American economy.
- 12 Dec. The Bank of the United States opens in Philadelphia.
- The New York Stock Exchange is founded.
- Feb. Congress grants a subsidy to whale and cod fisheries.
- Mar. A new tariff law enacts some of Alexander Hamilton’s recommendations for the economy.
- Mar. Overspeculation in Bank of the United States stock causes a financial panic.
- 2 Apr. Congress passes the Coinage Act, establishing a federal mint to coin gold and silver money.
- 8 May Congress authorizes the minting of copper coins.
- 12 May Capt. Robert Gray of the Columbia discovers the Columbia River.
- Salem, Massachusetts, merchants open the pepper trade in Sumatra; by 1805 Americans will handle seven-eighths of Sumatra’s pepper crop, 7.5 million pounds each year.
- Eli Whitney perfects the cotton gin.
- The Lehigh Coal Mine Company is founded to extract anthracite coal in Pennsylvania.
- William Foster brings three prized Merino sheep from Spain to the United States, one of many improvements in agriculture and animal breeding in this era.
- The Massachusetts legislature refuses to grant a charter to Boston mechanics who want to regulate apprentices.
- 22 Mar. The federal government bans the slave trade to all foreign ports.
- July-Aug. The Whiskey Rebellion breaks out in western Pennsylvania in opposition to the federal tax on liquor.
- The Connecticut Land Company buys a large tract of land in Ohio along Lake Erie.
- North Carolina is the first state to adopt a general incorporation law, making it easier for business associations to form.
- Newburyport, Massachusetts, investors open a canal connecting their town with Chelmsford and Dracut, further inland on the Merrimac River; their corporation ultimately will form the industrial city of Lowell.
- The Massachusetts Turnpike Corporation is chartered to improve roads in western Massachusetts.
- Apr. Congress establishes the factory system for trading with Native Americans.
- The ship Eliza of New York makes the first American trading voyage to Japan.
- The ship Recovery from Salem, Massachusetts, opens the American coffee trade in Mocha, Arabia.
- The Russian American Company is chartered to gather furs in Alaska.
- 4 Apr. Congress passes the first federal Bankruptcy Act, applying only to merchants and traders.
- 10 May Congress passes the Land Law of 1800, reforming the procedures for selling public land in the Northwest Territory.
- The Margaret of Salem, Massachusetts, is the last American ship to visit Japan before the 1850s.
- The Boston bark Lydia is chartered by the Spanish government to carry the new governor of the Mariana Islands to Guam.
- Eleuthère Irénée du Pont starts a powder mill on Brandywine Creek in southern Pennsylvania; within ten years it becomes the largest industrial business in the nation.
- A New York sawmill is the first American business to use steam power.
- The governor of Australia forbids American whalers to build and refit vessels on the Tasmanian coast.
- 22 Dec. The Embargo Act is in force, forbidding American vessels to sail for foreign ports.
- 1 Jan. End of the transalantic slave trade.
- 4 Apr. Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin submits a report to Congress, calling for the federal government to build better roads and canals.
- 6 Apr. New York State charters John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company.
- 1 Mar. The Non-Intercourse Act replaces the Embargo Act and opens American shipping to all nations except France and England.
- Cornelius Vanderbilt begins operating a ferry service between Staten Island and Manhattan, initiating one of the largest family businesses of the nineteenth century.
- Apr. Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin presents a report on manufactures to Congress, noting that two-thirds of rural America’s clothing and linen is made at home.
- 1 May Macon’s Bill No. 2 temporarily reopens trade with Great Britain and France.
- June John Jacob Astor and partners establish the Pacific Fur Company to exploit the fur trade in the Pacific Northwest.
- Sept. Astor sends the Tonquin from New York to establish a trading post on the Columbia River.
- 20 Feb. Congress fails to renew the charter of the Bank of the United States.
- A Boston trading firm receives a monopoly on Hawaiian sandalwood from King Kamehameha I.
- 19 June Congress raises taxes on imported goods and issues $5 million in bonds to fund the War of 1812.
- Dec. To prevent trade with English territories, Congress passes a new embargo law.
- Boston Associates, headed by Francis Cabot Lowell, open a mill in Waltham, Massachusetts, that produces cotton cloth, doing both spinning and weaving in one place. The mill represents a major innovation in factory production and in labor relations, as it sets a pattern by employing young women who board nearby.
- 14 Apr. Congress repeals the Non-Intercourse Act, replacing it with a new system of protective tariffs.
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