Nov 22, 2010

How Economic Brawn Transformed a Nation

(NYTBR) It has often been noted that while the American union was established by the Revolution, the American nation was forged only upon the awful anvil of the Civil War. Far less noted, however, is that this nation’s extraordinary power and influence in the 20th century and beyond has been largely a product of the remarkable 35 years that followed the Civil War.
In those decades the American economy exploded in size, becoming by far the largest, most productive and most technically advanced in the world. In 1860 the United States had imported almost all its steel — the product that was increasingly the measure of economic power at that time — from Britain. By 1900 it was producing more steel than Britain and Germany combined and exporting it profitably to both those countries.
H. W. Brands tells this story of extraordinary economic transformation in his new book, “American Colossus.” Continued