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How did the United States become so powerful?

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asked Sep 8, 2015 in History by anonymous
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There are a number of factors that contributed to the relatively swift rise to power of the United States. Here are just a few:

 

Location

 

The U.S. is separated from Europe and Asia by two major oceans. This allowed the U.S. to come out of both World War I and World War II relatively unscathed. While the other countries had to spend time and money rebuilding, the U.S. was able to focus on economic growth. [1]

 

Additionally, the U.S. had made a substantial amount of money during World War II selling military supplies to its allies. This helped bolster the economy, and put in place countless factories that were able to continue to be used for manufacturing long after the war. [2]

 

A Strong Military and a Strong Economy

 

The growth of the country's own military, along with the fact that they had nuclear weapons made them a military force to be reckoned with. The combination of the strong economy and strong military at a time when most other countries in the world were struggling to rebuild after the war led to the U.S. becoming a major world power. [2]

 

Economic and military growth that resulted from war are only one part of the equation, however. There are other factors that helped fuel the rapid economic growth of the United States. For one thing, its tremendous number of ports and inland waterways made it easy and inexpensive to transport goods, allowing for trade with many other countries.

 

An Abundance of Natural Resources

 

Another major contributing factor to the rise in power of the United States is its incredible abundance of natural resources. Not only does it produce fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil, but it also has rich farmland, plenty of wood for building, metals that can be mined from the ground for trade and countless other natural resources. It produces practically everything it needs to survive without having to rely on other countries. [1]

 

The United States is also located in a relatively temperate climate, with weather that is well-suited to agriculture, but cool enough that it does not harbor tropical diseases. Its vast size means that it spans across a number of different growing zones, allowing farmers to grow a tremendous variety of crops.

 

Other factors that have helped fuel the United States' rise to power include the form of government that the country adopted, the determination and ambition of the immigrants who moved to the U.S. to start a new life, the protection of personal freedoms offered by the Constitution and too many other factors to name.

 

Here are a couple of videos that help shed more light on America's rise to power:

 

 

 

References: 

1. http://www.slate.com/blogs/quora/2014/10/31/what_made_the_u_s_so_powerful.html

2. http://economics.about.com/od/useconomichistory/a/post_war.htm

answered Sep 9, 2015 by blueskies (57,070 points)
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In short - because we did not fully take up socialism like much of the world. [1]
The United States became powerful due to it's embrace of Individualism and laissez-faire capitalism over the popular global trends of collectivism and socialism (centrally-planned, state-controlled economies). Fueled by the wealth our capitalist system created in the 19th century, we were able to mount an effective defense against the totalitarianism and socialist political trends of the 20th century, resulting in a strong post-war country.
Ludwig Von Mises said in his 1958 speech, Liberty and Prosperity, "In the market economy the individuals are free to choose the way in which they want to integrate themselves into the frame of social cooperation. As far as the sphere of market exchange extends, there is spontaneous action on the part of individuals. Under this system that is called laissez-faire, and which Ferdinand Lassalle dubbed as the nightwatchman state, there is freedom because there is a field in which individuals are free to plan for themselves." [2]


Unfortunately, socialist thought did not leave us completely unscathed. Many, on both the political left and right, still embrace it's principles, like Bernie Sanders for example. The popularity of collectivism as opposed to individualism, has eroded much of our philosophical foundations, so that we now find ourselves with a massive welfare state, a bloated governmental bureaucracy and a heavily planned and regulated economy with only the vestiges of capitalism remaining. I think we can recover our prosperity by embracing individual liberty and capitalism once again.



[1] http://www.hoover.org/research/turn-out-lights-partys-over-why-socialism-didnt-happen-united-states

[2] http://capitalismmagazine.com/2015/06/liberty-property/
answered Sep 15, 2015 by tangolady1 (4,230 points)

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