By Andy Serwer, David Allison, Peter Liebhold, Nancy Davis, Kathleen G. Franz

What does it suggest to be an American? What are American principles and values? American Enterprise, the significant other booklet to an incredible exhibition on the Smithsonian’s nationwide Museum of yankee background, goals to respond to those questions about the yankee adventure via an exploration of its financial and advertisement historical past. It argues that via the intersection of capitalism and democracy, we will see the place we as a kingdom have come from and the place we would be getting in the future.

Richly illustrated with photographs of items from the museum’s collections, American firm includes a 1794 buck coin, Alexander Graham Bell’s 1876 phone, a brass money sign up from Marshall Fields, Sam Walton’s cap, and lots of different items and providers that experience formed American tradition. old and modern ads also are featured, emphasizing the evolution of the connection among manufacturers and shoppers through the years. Interspersed within the historic narrative are essays from today’s leaders—including Sheila Bair, Adam Davidson, invoice Ford, Sally Greenberg, Fisk Johnson, Hank Paulson, Richard Trumka, and Pat Woertz—that pose provocative questions on the country of latest American company and society. American Enterprise is a multi-faceted survey of the nation’s company historical past and corresponding social results that's basic to an realizing of the lives of the yank humans, the background of the U.S., and the nation’s function in worldwide affairs.

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George Catlin painted this view before the arrival of settlers. The painting shows the Sioux encampment with its six hundred skin lodges. Here Indians traded furs at the American Fur Company post. William Clark, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark expedition, was named Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the Louisiana territory in 1807, a post he would hold until 1838. Negotiating with the Kansa fell under his jurisdiction. In a treaty in 1825, he convinced the tribe to accept $4,000 in livestock and goods, $3,500 annuity for twenty years, and a reservation along the Kansas River, in exchange for any claims to what is currently half of the state of Kansas.

Fur traders in the Western territories purchased beads made in Amsterdam or Venice. One of the most lucrative businesses was the most horrifying—slave trading. It ranked among the largest and most capital-intensive enterprises in America until slavery was abolished. Embargo Act miniature teakettle, metal and copper, 1807–1809. This tiny teakettle, likely made to demonstrate an artisan’s skills, expressed sentiments responding to Thomas Jefferson’s 1807 Embargo Act. The engraving of “mind your business” admonished the trade person to focus and work with diligence.

THE BUSINESS OF SLAVERY In the Merchant Era, slavery created enormous profits for businessmen in both the North and South. It was an important part of the market revolution. With the closing of the African slave trade in 1808, domestic commerce in slaves escalated. At that point, most slaves lived in the Chesapeake region, but the need for their work in tobacco fields had greatly lessened with the soil’s depletion. Consequently, slave owners looked for a new market for their surplus hands. They found it in the lower South, where the rise of cotton created a growing need for labor.

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