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Canals Trains and Knick-Knacks Initially prominent American figures did not want the nation to be dependent on manufacturing They feared the poverty they witnessed in European factory towns would be mimicked and feared that it would erode American ideals But as people realized that a stronger economy was needed to ensure the future of the nation they began to advocate industrialization and feel that it was vitala Alexander Hamilton can be said to have been a proponent of facilitating industrialization Heilbroner speculates that Alexander Hamilton the Secretary of the Treasury sought to encourage manufacturing by solving the debt problems of the United States He wanted to refinance all outstanding bonds with a money reserve built on fixed taxes and have the federal government absorb all state debts He also established a national bank This he felt would be a secure place for tax generated revenues and would at the same time provide credit for people willing to take risks in the manufacturing industry Despite his efforts it was too easy for people to continue with their established economic tendencies and few felt compelled to move away from agriculture Not until the Embargo Act of 1807 would people really begin to change1 The Embargo Act of 1807 encouraged Americans to find ways of producing needed materials at home Heilbroner has asserted that the Embargo Act which prohibited US ships from leaving port for foreign countries and called for the monitoring of coastal trade ruined anyone and everyone involved in exporting Simultaneously importation became heavily retarded This left many people jobless and idle and the economy he says ground to a halt The result People began to turn to manufacturing to make the goods that were no longer available Fifteen cotton mills that had been built by 1808 turned into eighty-seven within a year2 For all intents and purposes manufacturing in America was not
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