53. FOREIGN COMMERCE. The for eign commerce of the United States has ex panded with even greater rapidity than that of the other parts of the world.' World com merce increased from $1,000,000,000 in 1789, the year of our birth as a nation, to $40,000, 000,000 in 1913, the year preceding the great war which disarranged all commercial move ments, while the foreign commerce of the United States grew from $43,000,000 to $4,300, 000,000 in that same period. World commerce in 1913 was 40 times as great as in 1789, while United States commerce in 1913 was 100 times as great as in 1789.
Exact and continuous records of our for eign trade did not come into existence until the adoption of the Constitution. Indeed, one of the most important reasons for the formation of that "more perfect was in order that the government might have a greater control over the records of the commerce and the col lection of the revenue arising therefrom. Prior to the Revolution, which transformed the 13 colonies into a Confederation, whatever record was made of their commerce was that of the individual colonies, kept in an irregular manner and sometimes drawn from that of the mother country with which most of the commerce oc curred. Under the Articles of Confederation the various States were, permitted• to fix their respective tariff duties subject to the provision that they should not "interfere with any stipula tions in treaties entered into by the United States in Congress assembled with any king, prince or state in pursuance of any treaties already proposed by Congress to the courts of France or With the various States privileged to fix their own taxation both upon imports and otherwise, the Congress soon found that it was unable to obtain from them their proportionate part of the revenues required for the maintenance of the government, while for eigngovernments were disinclined to make treaties with the States or the Union under these circumstances. The request of Congress i that it be permitted to levy and collect uniform rates of duty on imported merchandise was re jected by the State of New York, and this with sundry other reasons led to the substitution of the Constitution for the Articles of Confedera tion.
The first record of the commerce .of the United States under the Constitution is that of the year 1790. Prior to that time there were occasional compilations of the records of the various States, but no continuous record of the imports or exports of the colonies or States. MacPherson's 'Annals of puts the imports of the colonies in 1769 at $12,760,000 and the exports $13,870,000. Of the imports $7,867,000 were from Great Britain, $3,840,000 from the West Indies, $734,000 from Africa and $373,000 from southern Europe. Ot the
exports $7,445,000 went to Great Britain, $3,635,000 to the West Indies, $2,686,000 to southern Europe and $98,000 to Africa. Dur ing the Revolutionary War the commerce fell to a very small total, and during the period of the Confederation had slowly advanced to ap proximately $40,000,(00, about evenly divided between imports and exports. In 1790, the first year under the Constitution for which a full was made, the imports were $23,000,C00, and the exports $20,000,000.
From the adoption of the Constitution for ward the commerce steadily advanced. By 1800 the imports were $91,000,000, and the ex ports $71,000,000, though about one-half of the exports were foreign merchandise drawn chiefly from the West Indies and re-exported to Europe.
During the first half of the century, 1800 19W, the growth of the foreign commerce of the United States was comparatively slow. The people were busy developing the interior of the country and thinking out and applying to prac tical use the necessary methods for transporting the products or possible products of the interior to the water's edge, whence they could be trans ported to foreign countries. In 1819 occurred an incident which had a profound effect upon the commerce, not only of the United States, but also upon that of the whole world. In that year a little steamer, which had been built in New York at the suggestion of Daniel Dod, an engine builder of Virginia, sailed out of the port of Savannah, and pushed boldly out upon the ocean, heading for the ports of Europe, which had never, up to that time, been reached by a steam vessel from the western shores of the Atlantic. The voyage was successful. and the lessons taught by it resulted in the establish ment in 1838 of regular steam navigation be tween the United States and Europe. Mean time the railway systems of the United States and of the world were slowly developing and by 1850 a railway line connecting the Atlantic with the Mississippi Valley was opened, the Boston and Albany road, and this was quickly followed by the New York and Erie, the New York Central, the Pennsylvania and the Balti more and Ohio. During that same time the people of the United States were transferring a part of their population to the Mississippi Valley, and as a result of these occurrences, the development of transportation facilities and thus the cheapening of cost of transportation, the commerce of the country in the year 1850 was over $300,000,000, the imports being $174, 000,W0 and the exports $144,000,000.