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The foreign trade in naval stores, which had long lost its prominent position, increased in value from less than $1,000,000 to nearly $4,000,000. Exports of fish and whale products likewise advanced slightly, but the once controlling position of the fisheries in the foreign trade was permanently taken by the cotton of the South, the grainfields and packing-plants of the West, and the factories of the East.
The export trade flowed in growing volumes to nearly all the great markets of the world. England afforded a large foreign market for cotton, flour, wheat, corn, and provisions. In 1846, American exports to England were valued at $42,781,000, and by 1860 they reached a total of over $187,000,000. The exports to France rose to over $59,000,000. In Ireland and Scotland, in Bremen, Hamburg, Holland, Russia, Norway and Sweden, and even in Spain and Italy, the market for American agricultural exports increased. In no part of commercial Europe did the American trade fail to grow except in Denmark, Austria, and Belgium. Many other parts of the world bought, in constantly increasing quantities, the products of the United States. The reciprocity treaty with Canada and the treaty of peace with Mexico opened the markets of the nearest neighbors of the nation, while Commodore Perry's famous visit to Japan and the treaty with China following the British-Chinese opium war secured the free admission of American vessels and products to various ports of the two great nations of the Far East; the "sugar-trade period" of the Hawaiian Islands began in 1853, and the discovery of gold in Australia in 1851 soon created in that continent a market for American foodstuffs and mining machinery. Larger markets were found in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, in Cuba and the British West Indies, in the British East Indies, and in Africa. In fact, with but one important exception there was a constant expansion of the export trade to all markets. The exception was the West Indies. In Cuba and the British islands alone was there an increasing trade, the shipments to Haiti, the Dutch, French, and Danish islands either remaining about the same or declining to a lower level. The development of the import trade was in a somewhat different direction. While 77.5 per cent of the export trade centered in the Old World markets, less than 60 per cent of the imports came from European countries. The excess of exports over imports, which had come to be a regular feature of the foreign trade of the United States during this prosperous era, was due almost entirely to the favorable balance which appeared in the European trade. The import trade with England and all the north European countries, except Denmark, Russia, and Norway and Sweden, gradually increased, but in no case, except in the trade with Germany, did the imports increase as rapidly as exports, and the imports from the countries south of France actually declined in volume. Except in the case of the trade with Australia and Africa, in which the imports and exports were practically
equal, the import trade with non-European countries increased at a more rapid rate and was larger than the export trade. The imports from South America rose from $16,647,000 in 1850 to nearly $36,000,000 in 1860; those from foreign North America during the same decade grew from $24,136,000 to over $75,000,000; those from the Orient advanced from $10,315,000 to $26,202,000. Aside from the imports of rough Canadian lumber after 1854, there were no marked changes in the nature of the commodities imported. The relative proportion of tropical and subtropical foods and of raw materials for use in American industries increased to some extent, and that of manufactures declined, but in 1860 over 57 per cent of the imports still consisted of foreign manufactures.
One of the notable features of the growth in the foreign commerce of the nation during these fourteen years was the revival of the foreign carrying trade. Nothing serves better to show the increase in the volume of the foreign commerce than the fact that the aggregate vessel entrances and clearances rose from 6,300,000 gross tons in 1846 to 17,067,000 in 1860. Of the entrances and clearances in 1860, 71 per cent was made by American vessels, and 66.5 per cent of the value of the total foreign trade for the year was carried in American bottoms. The relative proportion carried in American ships was less than it had been in the past, but nevertheless the American vessel tonnage engaged in the foreign trade reached the highest point in its entire history. During the three decades following the war of 1812, American shipping, suffering from the reverses caused by the loss of the European carrying trade after the close of the Napoleonic wars, the substitution of shipping reciprocity for shipping protection under the acts of 1815 and 1828, and the many years of unsteady foreign trade, did not prosper greatly, and in 1846 the total burden of vessels engaged in foreign. trade amounted to only 943,000 tons, which was less than the tonnage owned in 1810. After 1846, however, the gross tonnage of the ocean fleet rapidly increased, reaching the unprecedented total of 2,379,000 tons in 1860. In the following year it aggregated 2,496,000 tons-the highest point in the history of American shipping.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
The foreign commerce of the United States had a remarkable growth during the forty-five years prior to the Civil War. The nation saw its exports rise from $52,558,000 in 1815 to over $400,000,000 in 1860; its imports from $113,041,000 to over $362,000,000; its deep-sea entrances and clearances from 1,735,000 to 17,000,000 tons. The gross tonnage of its ocean fleet rose from 854,000 to 2,379,000 tons. Though the course of this development was rendered irregular on account of the recurring years of depression and stagnation, the period
'Year 1821; official data for previous years not available.
as a whole was nevertheless one of great expansion, and in the general prosperity which marked the closing years the foreign trade reached the highest stage of development ever attained up to that time.
During these years of prosperous growth the general character of the foreign commerce was in many respects considerably altered. First of all, there was a permanent relative decline in the volume of foreign re-exports. The yearly re-exportation of foreign commodities, which had been such a prominent feature of the American over-sea trade during the Napoleonic wars, dwindled away, and domestic commodities, the products of the farms, forests, and factories of the United States, made up most of the cargoes for the export trade. The constant growth in the exportation of domestic products brought about, as another noteworthy change, a great rise in the importance of exports as compared to imports. Though the import trade was, throughout the greatest part of the period, of larger value than the export trade, the steady development of the manufacturing and agricultural industries of the United States and the altered commercial policy eventually created conditions which produced an excess of exports. Radical changes occurred in the nature of the domestic exports. Though the leaf-tobacco crop increased in volume, the increase was not so much in Maryland and Virginia as in the Middle West, and the relative importance of tobacco as an export was permanently lost. Exports of fish and naval stores likewise increased to some extent, but relatively they occupied an unimportant position in the total foreign trade. Indigo exports all but disappeared, and the fur and rice trades declined to insignificance. The place of these long-standing exports was taken by new products. Throughout this entire period cotton was the undisputed king of exports; western flour, wheat, corn, and provisions gradually became important items; the foreign lumber trade, which had been light for many years, revived during the fifties, when the lumber industry moved into new regions; and gradually some of the factories and mills which were fostered by congressional aid sought foreign as well as domestic markets. These changes were the inevitable consequence of the fundamental industrial transition which was slowly taking place. The South turned from tobacco, naval stores, indigo, and rice to cotton; the North from fishing and the fur trade to agriculture and manufacturing. The vast farming resources of the Mississippi Valley were tapped, and improved transportation facilities connected this western empire with the large seaports to the east and south.
In addition to the marked alteration in the volume of the foreign trade, there was a great change in its geographical bases. The country itself grew in area. Florida was added to the national domain in 1819, Texas in 1845, the Oregon country in 1846, California and the region between Texas and the Pacific in 1848 and 1853, and with the acquisition of this immense territory the export trade ceased to be confined to
the Atlantic States from North Carolina to New England. Texas and California in 1860 had a greater export trade than Pennsylvania or Virginia; New Orleans during various years exported greater quantities of domestic products than New York; and the exports of Alabama also exceeded those of every Atlantic State except New York. The import trade confined itself more nearly to its old-established channels. The South did much of its importing indirectly through the ports of the North Atlantic. In 1860 New York handled 70 per cent of the entire import trade of the country, an aggregate of $248,000,000. Massachusetts was second with imports valued at $41,000,000, and Louisiana third, with less than $23,000,000.
As the foreign trade grew larger, it gradually lost much of its adventurous character. Instead of being obliged to develop a speculative and hazardous trade in far-off, unknown lands, most of the exporters were able to turn their attention chiefly to the possibilities of trade with Europe. The markets in the Orient, South America, Canada, and Australia became larger, but the bulk of the cotton, grain, flour, and provision exports could most readily be sold in Europe. The old markets of the West Indies, which had been the mainstay of the New England and middle colonies, gradually declined, relatively and actually. During these years, as before, China, Manila, the East Indies, Africa, Brazil, and the newer regions of the world offered opportunities to the importer rather than to the exporter.
A great change took place in the relative positions of the domestic and foreign commerce. Great as was the growth of foreign trade, the internal commerce grew more rapidly, and before 1860 it had far surpassed in volume the commerce with foreign nations. During the period from 1815 to 1860 the "American system" arose in response to the demand for home manufactures and home markets for agricultural 1 crops. A large number of populous industrial and commercial cities grew up to provide a domestic market for the agricultural, sea, and forest products of the country. A sectional specialization of industry led to an ever-increasing volume of exchanges among the various parts of the Union, and American producers, with the exception of the cotton planters, were freed in a large measure from the dependence upon a foreign market, which had characterized their economic condition of former years.
CHANGES EFFECTED BY THE CIVIL WAR.
Effects of the war upon export trade, 54. Trade of the blockade-runners, 57.
Throughout the period from 1830 to 1860, when both foreign and internal commerce were expanding and the country as a whole was prosperous, there was discontent in the South. Having few products at that time to sell in the domestic market and few manufacturing industries to protect, and producing large quantities of cotton to sell in foreign markets, and having to purchase many wares abroad or in the North, the Southern States were hostile to the protective tariff. With heavy investments in slaves and with agricultural industries based upon slave labor, they bitterly resented the growth of the antislavery sentiment in the North. To the people of the Southern States, the interests of the North and South appeared to be wholly apart.
As might have been expected, the secession of the Southern States occasioned a temporary panic among the business houses of the entire country. The wonder is that the business of the Northern States recovered so soon. The foreign as well as the domestic trade of the South was almost completely demolished by the invading armies and the blockading men-of-war; but in the North the domestic trade soon recovered from the first shock and the foreign trade became unusually active.
EFFECT OF THE WAR UPON EXPORT TRADE.
The recorded export trade of the country as a whole, as is shown in table 53, fell from over $400,000,000 in 1860 to $227,558,000 in 1862, but this decline was due quite largely to the almost complete absence of southern cotton exports. It is no less than remarkable that the official exports of the country, aside from cotton, actually increased in value from $208,315,000 in 1860 to $215,294,000 in the following year, and to $261,469,000 in 1863. The North Atlantic ports were busier than they had ever been in their entire previous history, for various events directed an unusual volume of surplus goods in their direction.
(1) The agricultural crops of the North, instead of declining when great armies of men left the farms in answer to the call of President Lincoln, were very greatly increased. Women worked in the fields, farm machinery was rapidly introduced, immigrants came from abroad, thousands of families migrated northward from the border