Wednesday, September 12, 2012
280. Why China Became the First Trade Partner?
There was a great deal of uncertainty in the newly founded country. After the war for independence was over, the nation's fiscal system was on the brink of chaos. Many small farmers, the broad base of the new nation, were being thrown into jail for debt and many others were forced to lose their farms. The Congress, established under the Articles of Confederation, was attempting to bring order out of the turmoil. In Massachusetts, an agrarian revolt spread quickly.
In the meantime, Britain, which lost the war militarily, was seeking to defeat the Americans economically. It strengthened its economic pressure on individual states to compel them, one by one, to return to "Mother England". Britain closed all traditional trade partners to the new nation, and American merchants could no longer trade with Spain, Africa and West Indies. In the aftermath of the victory of the American revolutionary war, France, Holland and other European countries were willing to use the US as their market, but not anxious to take American wares in exchange.
Given the situation, commerce became "the lifeblood of America's recovery from its economic slump". New trade partners had to be discovered, new trade routes had to be opened and new connections had to be established. Otherwise, political independence wouldn't last long. It was in this critical situation that the first American voyage to China started.