Describe the idea of Henry Clay’s “American System.”

First of all, it should be noted that this was a federal policy based on a market economy. Certain parts of the country produce certain goods that they sell to other regions. To a certain extent, Clay’s moderate-statist aspirations ran counter to the classical liberal concept of non-interference of the state in the economy and caused sharp rejection among his contemporaries and many later researchers. The policy consisted of three main components:

  1. Transport. For the development of trade between the regions, North, South, and West, it was necessary to improve transport. The American system included financial support for roads, canals, and bridges. These improvements to the national infrastructure will facilitate trade and increase access to markets.
  2. Income. The money will be received from the sale of state land and the introduction of tariffs. In addition to raising money, tariffs will protect American goods from imports.
  3. Federal Bank. A stable national currency will help interstate trade and make the Bank of the United States more stable. The bank will be used as a depository for federal money collected from tariffs and land sales.

The fundamental argument in support of the program was that by protecting the local business from international competition, domestic markets would continue to expand, stimulating the expansion of American industry. Thus, the main essence of the program was moderate protectionism of the national economy. All this was due to the fact that, based on the events taking place in the world, it was necessary to create a sustainable economy. Its main criterion would be the creation of a solid domestic market that would not depend on external factors.

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