Harvesting Power: Transatlantic Merchants and the Anglo-American Grain Trade, 1795-1890

Finger, Thomas, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Thomas, Mark, Department of History, University of Virginia
Onuf, Peter, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, University of Virginia
Carlson, W, Department of Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Russell, Edmund, Department of History, University of Kansas

Between 1795 and 1889, the Anglo-American grain trade grew to provide Great Britain with most of its food imports. At first, bottlenecks in transportation and markets limited trade. Between the 1820s and 1870s, merchants built infrastructure by mobilizing business associations, capital, technology, and nature. British and American merchants invested in American transportation and participated in free trade debates during the 1840s. Following the repeal of the British Corn Laws in 1846, American and British merchants stitched together regional markets to send American wheat to Britain. By the 1870s, three key American regions supplied Britain with grain: the Great Lakes Corridor, California, and the Spring Wheat Region of the northern plains. In the late 1870s, American exports increased as British crops failed. Between 1875 and 1890, American wheat exports rose further as British merchants invested in American milling and transportation. By 1890, the American and British wheat markets converged. This convergence encouraged large commercial agriculture in the United States and a reliance on imports to feed industrial Great Britain.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: