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By Michael H. Hunt

An easy query lurks amid the huge controversy created through fresh U.S. coverage: what highway did americans shuttle to arrive their present international preeminence?

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Extra resources for The American Ascendancy: How the United States Gained and Wielded Global Dominance

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Machinery, trained and supervised a local force, promoted installment purchases, and stayed in close touch with the home office. By 1874 more than half of Singer’s total machine sales were abroad. To keep prices low and to circumvent national tariffs, Singer moved some of its production overseas. S. firms heavily committed abroad (notably Standard Oil of New Jersey, International Harvester, and New York Life), Singer’s strength lay in technical sophistication and organization. Those advantages translated into competitive prices, good marketing, and innovative advertising.

The East Coast was the other front in the battle for Anglo cultural dominance over newcomers. Despite decades of rising immigration, calls for exclusion did not become strong until the 1890s. A string of economic depressions, culminating in the severe downturn of 1893–97, had put a question mark over the need for adding to a labor force that was showing signs of revolutionary agitation. At the same time, the increasing proportion of newcomers from southern and eastern Europe sparked discussion of whether they were as culturally digestible as the northern Europeans who had previously dominated the immigrant ranks.

The Hamilton-Jefferson exchange proved only the first round in a match that repeatedly and deeply divided Americans over the course of the nineteenth century and persisted into the twentieth.

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