Speculation and Its Importance in the American Economic History

Speculation is something that was analyzed even by economists such as John McVickar. It was a big part of the American culture, and the approach of the United States regarding enterprise was different compared to that of Europe.

America has taken many risks back in the day concerning economy – and history backs it up. But what is the situation in the United States when it comes to speculation, and what is its cultural significance? This article will help you find out. If you still doubt if history is that important or not, try read this “why is it important to study history essay” and you will know for sure that it’s importance never were overvalued.

America and Its Love for Speculation

Many foreign visitors have noticed that the Americans are, for some reason, drawn to speculation. American merchants are eager to venture their fortune, even though they know it has many risks. They don’t fear to keep trying, despite failing sometimes.

People from different countries have been talking about how everything has become an object of speculation, and how the streets were filled with land speculators. Every project found subscribes and, apparently, trading upon speculation became an American custom.

Additionally, Americans were apparently more prone to speculation compared to Europeans. In the United Kingdom, for instance, there was a higher frequency of individual failures and general commercial revolutions. Apparently, English tradesmen, bankers or merchants would abandon their rightful trades. Moreover, they wouldn’t engage in things such as doubtful speculations. Considering this, the bankers’ magazine thought that Americans could learn something from the English.

Also, the speculation fever wasn’t as high in other countries like it was in America. The Americans were the ones who had a thing for it, while it was different in other parts of the world. However, one of the leading judges of the early republic, James Kent, has declared that things weren’t really like that.

Basically, he said that Europe is not short of speculation either. According to him, speculation would drive people into madness and dreams. It wasn’t only America that was fond of speculation. It prevailed on each side of the Atlantic, and it was a disease in his eyes.

Land Speculation

Land was the primary commodity that Americans loved to speculate into. It could be found everywhere, so it wasn’t hard to find it and speculate. There were either developed lands or small parcels, and even scarcely populated western territories. In addition, prices weren’t always the same; they would fluctuate a lot.

In America, land was definitely the biggest object of domestic speculation. According to Justice Hugh Henry Brackenridge, there were lots sold in the new capital city of Washington. Apparently, most of the initial purchases were on the speculation of an under sale to others until the money was paid.

Also, things were happening in Maine as well, according to promoter Moses Greenleaf. A big number of landholders were nonresident speculators. They bought the land thinking that they would retain it for quite some time – therefore expecting a big amount of cash from the sale.

Prominent Americans, on the other hand, used land to build some of the largest business enterprises of the era. Additionally, they would also buy a lot of land in the West. They hoped that potential settlement in the future would give more value to the land.

J.P. Brissot, a French lawyer, toured the new nation back in 1788 and took a closer look at it. According to him, land was a very smart investment, and placing money on the cultivated soil of the United States was a wise precaution. It was, in his eyes, better than putting money in the bank for someone’s children.

Were America and Europe so Different in This Regard?

Contemporaries thought that America and Europe weren’t as different as people think when it comes to speculation. Robert Hare said that a real estate in Europe has a rather fixed value. However, speculation is always in people’s mind. Although a large portion may be unproductive, it is held with the thought that the future may bring value to it.

Isaac Parker explained that, in Britain, there was nobody who owned forest sections that were far from their house. In America, on the other hand, many people owned uncultivated lands, but they didn’t attempt to improve them. They rather considered them as subjects of sale and speculation.

Financial speculation has become a regular part of the American commercial life. Many citizens would throw money at new corporations very quickly. People were eager to subscribe to any type of project, hoping they would benefit from it as soon as the stocks went up. However, these subscriptions weren’t without consequences.

To conclude with, land speculation ingrained into the American culture. Many people purchased lands in hopes that their value would increase in the future. They would even engage in risky subscriptions, hoping that they would gain something. It was a thing that remained in history.