By Mansel G. Blackford

From the colonial period to the current day, small companies were a vital part of yankee existence. First released in 1991 and now completely revised and up-to-date, A heritage of Small company in America explores the crucial yet ever-changing function performed by means of small firms within the nation's monetary, political, and cultural development.

Examining small companies in production, revenues, prone, and farming, Mansel Blackford argues that whereas small agencies have regularly been very important to the nation's improvement, their importance has diversified significantly in numerous time classes and in several segments of our economic climate. all through, he relates small company improvement to alterations in America's total enterprise and monetary structures and provides comparisons among the expansion of small company within the usa to its improvement in different international locations. He areas distinctive emphasis at the significance of small enterprise improvement for girls and minorities. particular in its breadth, this booklet presents the single entire assessment of those major topics.

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The stores contained display counters, open barrels, and shelves for the goods, together with a small office where the storekeeper kept his or her ledgers and accounts. By the mid-1800s, these rude structures were giving way to brick and clapboard stores with bay windows and other amenities in the more settled areas. It was a rare store that stocked more than $10,000 worth of goods at a time (many carried only $1,500 to $3,000 in goods), most of these purchased on credit from wholesalers. The main economic function of the stores was to facilitate the exchange of goods.

For example, in cotton textile production the median Small Business before 1880 29 table one. Number of Employees per Northeastern Manufacturing Firm, 1820 and 1850 Manufactured Good Boots and shoes Cotton textiles Flour and grist milling Glass making Hat making Iron making Liquor distilling Paper making Tanning Wool and mixed textiles Source: Kenneth L. S. Manufacturing Censuses of 1820 and 1850,’’ Explorations in Economic History 21 (October 1984): 354. plant output jumped from $5,000 in 1820 to nearly $100,000 fifty years later, and in iron production it soared from just $2,000 to over $200,000 during the same period.

There was a strong positive correlation between the price of wheat and the sale of public land; when the price of wheat rose, more land was sold, as farmers strove to take advantage of profitable opportunities. By the late 1850s, farmers were raising a considerable crop surplus for sale in American cities and overseas. In 1859, the average midwestern farm grew enough food to support two other families, the average northeastern farm enough for one other family. In that same year, northern farms earned a 12 percent return on their capital investments—more than the 10 percent return then being earned in cotton production but less than the 25 percent return being made in manufacturing.

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