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The Development Of Early American Cities

1070 words - 4 pages

Early cities, from late 1600 to mid 1800, in the United States were thought of in two different ways. First, they were though of as a promise land which held opportunity for all inhabitants. They could become a place where prosperity and new and exciting things could take place. Second, on the opposite spectrum, they were thought of as an immoral breading ground which could poison people and the entire United States. People like President Jefferson and Benjamin Rush were quick to state the problems in early cities. However, there were also people, like Henry Harkwell and Francis Makemie, who were ready to state these problems but also to add suggestions in order to fix them. Those opposing early cities and their growth would argue that there were no solutions to the variety of problems that condemned the inhabitants of cities. However, it can be seen that not only were the solutions plausible but that some aided in the fixing the problems of merchants, tradesmen, and even immorality.
In the late 1600’s, Henry Hartwell, James Blair, and Edward Chilton saw a problem with tradesman and merchants in Virginia. The problem was that both were subject to great inconveniences in regard to trade and opportunity. Tradesman had no opportunity without a market where they could buy needed items. Merchants had no opportunity in the way of their trade which could be avoided if they had towns with markets. Solutions to these problems were brought to attention in the mid 1700’s in the New York Gazette. The article stated that it would not be inconvenient for tradesman to settle in or around towns for exportation. Therefore people would be able to supply themselves with needed goods at these towns. Merchants too would be able to keep large assortments of all kinds of provisions which would decrease the need to be obligated to neighboring provinces. The article also included the downfall of cross trades. Explaining that different handicrafts should not be the business of one person but instead the business of many different persons who could then become artisans at their craft and a profit to the country. However, the New York Gazette was not the only entity to find problems with cities in the 1700’s.
When it came to problems with early cities in the 1700’s Francis Makemie had seen them all in Maryland and Virginia. Makemie also had a vision of what they could become and ideas in order to fix them or at least make life more economically constructive and easier for the inhabitants. Woods and timber that were worth little to no value would become a product for many uses. Products of the forests, farms, and waters would need markets. In return towns would fill the country with people of all sorts and add to the strength of settlements. An increase in strength would make the English colonies stronger against the growing French and Spanish colonies. Towns would make it easier and less expensive to carry on trade. In towns the buyers and sellers could meet in a common...

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