By Sean Patrick Adams
In 1796, famed engineer and architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe toured the coal fields outdoors Richmond, Virginia, stating enthusiastically, "Such a mine of Wealth exists, i think, nowhere else!" With its ample and obtainable deposits, starting to be industries, and community of rivers and ports, Virginia stood poised to function the guts of the younger nation's coal exchange. by way of the center of the 19th century, notwithstanding, Virginia's management within the American coal had thoroughly unraveled whereas Pennsylvania, at the start sluggish to use its titanic reserves of anthracite and bituminous coal, had turn into the country's best producer.
Sean Patrick Adams compares the political economies of coal in Virginia and Pennsylvania from the overdue eighteenth century throughout the Civil warfare, reading the divergent paths those states took in constructing their considerable coal reserves in the course of a serious interval of yankee industrialization. In either situations, Adams unearths, country fiscal guidelines performed a massive position. Virginia's failure to use the wealthy coal fields within the western a part of the kingdom should be traced to the legislature's overriding predicament to guard and advertise the pursuits of the agrarian, slaveholding elite of jap Virginia. Pennsylvania's extra factious legislature enthusiastically embraced a coverage of financial development that led to the development of an in depth transportation community, a statewide geological survey, and help for personal funding in its coal fields.
Using coal as a barometer of monetary swap, Old Dominion, commercial Commonwealth addresses longstanding questions on North-South fiscal divergence and the function of nation executive in American business improvement, supplying new insights for either political and fiscal historians of nineteenth-century America.
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