10 Facts for a Thesis on the History of American Business

Topics and ideas
Posted on January 17, 2017

From the dawn of the automobile revolution to the innovation of electronic consumer products, the history of American business is in continuum ― never at ease, never at rest. In that light, we’re going to discuss the history of American business in greater detail so you can write a thesis that’s not only concise but admired by your professor as well.

This is the first of three guides you’ll find here on the history of American business.

In this first, 10 facts for a thesis on the history of American business, we share ten significant facts on the history of American business which will form the foundation of your thesis statement.

In our second guide, 20 topics for a thesis on the history of American business, which will allow you to start writing your thesis statement right away. It will also give you an idea of how a thesis statement is actually written.

Finally, in our third guide, how to write a thesis on the history of American business, we discuss the methodologies, formats and strategies to make your thesis stand out in a major way. This third guide especially is a must read if you want to know how to write a thesis statement, as we will be discussing one of the key components of thesis writing.

Without further ado, here are 10 facts on The history of American Business:

  1. One of the best moments in history that paved the way for business growth was in the 1790s when the federal government, ruled by George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, encouraged the enterprise of businesses. George Washington had been a business-oriented person. He was known for getting involved in numerous projects that lead to the development of transportation to Western lands. His main goal was to make America an industrial nation.
  2. Right after the American Revolution, banks started to thrive in America. The Bank of North America is among the oldest of American banks in the United States of America. Of course, there were banks before that, but organized banking only started after the American Revolution. It started out on a small scale in Boston and New York and now has deep roots entrenched in American soil.
  3. Alexander Brown was the main business innovator known for transitioning traditional merchants into modern merchants and played a key role in forming the nation’s first investment bank.
    The first investment bank in the US, Alex. Brown & Sons, started out as a cotton, exporting and shipping company. When Brown expanded his business to Liverpool, England, New York and Philadelphia, it provided sufficient financing for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which in turn, tapped into the hinterlands of Philadelphia and Ohio ― expanding its growth even more. By monopolizing Baltimore’s shipping trade with Liverpool, Brown financed Baltimore Importers, which allowed him to specialize in merchant banking.
  4. Railroads were one of the biggest commercial and financial successes that had a dramatically large-scale impact on American business. It provided a highly efficient way to ship freight and passengers over a large national market, becoming the basis of the private financial system. Brown became the sole inventor of modern management, allowing young men between the ages of 18 and 20 to embrace a career path. However, this led to America developing a love-hate relationship with railroads.
  5. Before automobiles started getting manufactured in 1910, general stores and itinerant peddlers were the most profitable businesses in rural America. There was no criterion on the quality of foods; instead, it was based on credit since most customers shopped on credit ― not credit borrowed from the bank but by paying bills when customers were able to harvest their crops, cattle or hogs[1] . Stores were also a point where men were typically found instead of women. It became a chatting point for men, where they passed around the local newspaper and talked politics.
  6. Towns and small cities were the main avenue for marketing. Many entrepreneurs at the time opened small stores that offered a variety of reasonably priced, high quality products. This allowed middle-class women to start shopping for day-to-day goods. These stores offered limited credit purchases, but also other attractive things such as seasonal sales, high turnover, and branded merchandise.
  7. Advertising is one of the key factors that allow businesses to thrive exponentially. It is deemed worthy to mention it here since we’re talking American business history. N.W. Ayer and Son was the instigating power that assumed responsibility for creating advertising content. As industrialization expanded after 1900s, so did advertising. From a mere $200 million advertising volume in 1880 to about $3 billion in 1920, advertising agencies grew rapidly, allowing them to influence the population’s economic behavior on a major scale.
  8. According to Juliet Walker, the year between 1900 and 1930, were the golden years of “black business”. The National Negro Business League confirms that through statistics which indicate that businesses owned by African Americans had experienced a 200% increase, going from 20000 to 40000 in just 14 years (1900 – 1914). Booker T. Washington was one of the pioneers who promoted African American entrepreneurship. Booker also ran the National Negro Business League and moved between city a large number of cities to sign contracts with local business owners to join his network.
  9. Carnegie Steel has been one of the biggest steel industries in the United States. It’s still remembered today for its Eads Bridge that’s found across the Mississippi river. Carnegie Steel was also the world’s biggest manufacturer of steel rails, coke and pig iron at the time. Behind this successful industry was a young leader, Andrew Carnegie. The industry became so successful that it bought its rival Homestead Steel Works in 1888, before becoming the largest manufacturer in 1890. Eventually, it bought all other steel mills and became known as U.S. Steel.
  10. Railroads were also behind the invention of the American Pension System. When young 18-year-old men were hired, trained and promoted in their respective field, they became a high-value asset for the railroad firm. To discourage employees from leaving the company, they offered pensions that would be given right after retirement.

We’re certain you must have found the facts interesting and informative. Let’s continue to our next guide, 20 topics for a thesis on the history of American business, where we will give you topic examples along with a sample essay on one of those topics to assist you in writing a great thesis.

Don’t forget to read our final guide, How to Write a Thesis on the history of American business, which would add perfect flair to your thesis statement, making it more interesting, convincing  and profound in every sense of the word.


  1. John R. Nelson, (1979) “Alexander Hamilton and American Manufacturing: A Reexamination.” Journal of American History 65.4: 971-995.
  2. Dora L. Costa, 1880-1990 “The evolution of retirement.” in Costa, The Evolution of Retirement: An American Economic History, (U of Chicago Press, 1998), pp 6-31
  3. Sylla, Richard. 1790-1840 “US securities markets and the banking system.” Review-Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis 80 (1998): 83-98
  4. Licht, Working for the Railroad pp 262-63. 269
  5. Dora L. Costa, 1880-1990 “The evolution of retirement.” in Costa, The Evolution of Retirement: An American Economic History, (U of Chicago Press, 1998), pp 6-31
  6. Lewis E. Atherton, (1971) The Frontier Merchant in Mid-America
  7. Juliet E.K. Walker, (2009) The history of black business in America: Capitalism, race, entrepreneurship p 183.
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