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American System

 Related Terms

• Henry Clay
Bank of the United States
John C. Calhoun
Andrew Jackson


Definition: Idea that the federal government should take an active role in promoting and protecting the national economy. Three of the main ways of doing this at that time were promoting a vast network of internal transportation (roads, railroads, and canals), a large protective tariff (a tax on goods imported from other countries), and a central currency and economic strategy run by the Bank of the United States, a federal bank. Henry Clay was a champion of the American System.

Related Resources:
The 19th Century
Get a glimpse of what life was like in the exciting 1800s.

Elsewhere on the Web:
Henry Clay: In Defense of the American System
Read what Clay said about the big-government program.

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