A History of Small Business in America by Mansel G. Blackford

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By Mansel G. Blackford

From the colonial period to the current day, small companies were an essential component of yank existence. First released in 1991 and now completely revised and up to date, A heritage of Small company in America explores the valuable yet ever-changing position performed by means of small firms within the nation's fiscal, political, and cultural development.

Examining small companies in production, revenues, prone, and farming, Mansel Blackford argues that whereas small enterprises have consistently been vital to the nation's improvement, their importance has diversified significantly in numerous time classes and in numerous segments of our economic system. all through, he relates small company improvement to alterations in America's total enterprise and financial structures and provides comparisons among the expansion of small enterprise within the usa to its improvement in different nations. He locations specific emphasis at the significance of small company improvement for ladies and minorities. designated in its breadth, this publication presents the one accomplished evaluation of those major topics.

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By 1840, there were 901 banks in the United States; by 1860, 1,562; in 1880, 3,355. With few economies of scale adhering to larger banks, banking was conducted as small business everywhere except in the largest cities, such as New York. In addition, America’s legal system—the lack of any federal laws that encouraged national banking and the existence of state laws that made interstate banking difficult—contributed to the spread of small, independent banks. 32 Small Business before 1880 Women in Business Women were active in nearly all types of preindustrial business in America —as artisans, farmers, and traders—and these businesses were predominantly small ones.

Massachusetts farmers, for instance, carefully considered the best markets in which to sell their produce, often traveling considerable distances, up to 150 miles, to make the most advantageous sales. Even many tenant farmers were entrepreneurially motivated. For many, tenancy was simply a temporary stage in their lives before they bought their own farms, and they invested a considerable share of their earnings in producSmall Business before 1880 21 tive assets, such as slaves and livestock, before coming into possession of their own land.

Artisans plying their trades in shops they owned supplied colonists with a wide variety of handicraft goods. Composing about 10 percent of all of the white workers in colonial times, artisans included coopers (barrel makers), tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, tinsmiths, and silversmiths. Many artisans owned their tools and shops, maintained inventories of raw materials and goods-in-process, and handled their own accounts. In short, they operated as small business people. The most successful also often owned a few acres of farm land, and many possessed a few head of livestock.

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