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Path Dependence and the Origins of Cotton Textile Manufacturing in New England

  • Joshua L. Rosenbloom

During the first half of of the nineteenth century the United States emerged as a major producer of cotton textiles. This paper argues that the expansion of domestic textile production is best understood as a path- dependent process that was initiated by the proetction provided by the Embargo Act of 1807 and the War of 1812. This intial period of protected ended abruptly in 1815 with the conclusion of the war and the resumption of British imports, but the political climate had been irreversibly changed by the temporary expansion of the industry. After 1815 nascent manufacturers sought to protect the investments they had made by lobbying Congress. Their efforts had an important impact on the provisions concerning cotton textiles in the tariff bill of 1816, and during the 1820s manufacturers won increasingly strong protection, culminating in the passage of the Tariff of Abominations' in 1828.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9182.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9182
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