History of United States Business, history of business in the United States from the colonial period to the present day. During this period, U.S. businesses grew from small, family-owned farms and merchant trading to global corporations employing hundreds of thousands of workers in industries and services.
United States businesses created the highest standard of living in world history. At the same time U.S. business came under government directive in response to popular concern about workers' rights and safety, environmental harm, fair competition, honest accounting, and partiality against minorities, women, and others. Though it has been credited with creating a high standard of living, it has also been blamed for widening the income gap between the rich and the poor in the United States and exploiting low-wage labor in developing countries.
Throughout its history business in the United States has collected contrasting views. In 1925 the president of the United States, declared that "the chief business of the American people is business."
Yet in American motion pictures, literature, and television programs the villains are often business people. The relentless growth in the scale of business has led to more government regulation of business. But at the same time the ability of business owners to influence laws and governmental policy in ways favorable to business has been well documented. If one narrative runs through the history of American business, it is the story of how government regulation of business has expanded or decreased depending on the performance of the economy.
Hate it or love it, business in the United States plays a key economic, social, and cultural role. Corporations organize most economic activity in the United States today. As part of doing business, these firms assume the search for new technologies and products. New technologies, in turn, tend to lead to...