The 9 Things That Actually Made America Great (Part 1)

Part 1: Prepare For The Future By Learning From The Past

Many aspects of the “great America” that Donald Trump invokes in his speeches and campaigns took shape when he was just a young boy in the 1950s. During the post-war economic boom in American industry, the “American Dream” became a reality, providing secure jobs and financial prosperity to create a growing middle class.

But should we be traveling back a mere 60-70 years to frame our vision of a great America?

Let’s travel back even further to explore…

In the 60 years following the signing of the Constitution in 1787, America tripled in size, increased our population eight-fold, and expanded our economy by a factor of twenty.

Compare Mr. Trump’s vision to the transformation our country experienced during our years of infancy, and observe how these lessons from over 200 years ago can still be applied today.

Following are nine powerful lessons from “young America” that continue to impact our world (and can inform your business success) today.

1. Industrial Espionage

2. Innovation

3. Risk

4. Job Destruction

5. Scarcity

6. Political Greed

7. Objectivity

8. Gold

9. The Survivor Of A Duel

Following is a discussion of the first four in greater detail, and we will unpack the remaining five factors in Part 2.

Industrial Espionage

The Industrial Revolution began with the textile industry in England. To maintain market superiority, Britain banned the export of textile machinery and plans.

So how could America participate in the Industrial Revolution? Reinventing such equipment was one option… but stealing was easier, and a British mill supervisor named Samuel Slater did just that.

America offered significant rewards for those willing to set up factories in the U.S., so Slater capitalized on his good memory by recreating every detail of the machinery, and founded the first cotton spinning mill in the United States in 1790. Now the American Industrial Revolution was underway!

Apply To Your Work

Should you engage in industrial espionage? No! But you should remain vigilant to changes in your industry so you are always ahead of the curve instead of following your competitors.


If you wanted to travel to Europe in the early 1800s, you went to a dock in New York and waited until a cargo ship was full and ready to sail. No schedule; it left when it was full and not before.

Did you ever hear of the Black Ball Line? No? Well Jeremiah Thompson had a revolutionary idea: He formed a syndicate with four other businessmen that enabled passengers to sail between New York and Liverpool on a scheduled day every month.

It was an immediate success and established New York as the country’s leading port, not only for passengers, but also for freight.

Apply To Your Work:

What frustrations are your prospects or customers facing that you can help resolve to create new business opportunities?


How’s this for a risky idea:

Let’s dig a ditch 40 feet wide and four feet deep and 363 miles long. Oh, and we have to do it by hand? It should only take us 10 years!

That was the bold and audacious idea behind the Erie Canal, and here’s how successful it was:

Before the canal, it took 21 days to send a ton of flour from Buffalo to New York City at a cost $120 per ton. But the risk paid off, because the canal reduced the cost to $6 per ton… and the shipping time to only eight days!

P.S. The construction was also completed two years ahead of schedule.

Apply To Your Work:

Invest in your infrastructure technology to increase efficiencies and economies of scale.

Job Destruction & Disruption

In the mid-1800s, New York City had about 5000 clothing workers because it took 14 hours for a worker to sew each one.

Jobs were “destroyed” and an industry disrupted after Isaac Singer improved on a machine invented by Elias Howe: the sewing machine, which enabled a shirt to be produced in one hour!

The cost of ready-made clothes was drastically reduced, and demand obviously skyrocketed. The industry adapted by retraining seamstresses as machine operators, and the industry grew at a much greater and more scalable pace.

Apply To Your Work:

Technology makes certain skills obsolete, which can cause short-term suffering for those workers. But how can you anticipate such changes to prepare your workforce for the future job destruction?

Learn From The Past, Deal With Today, Prepare For The Future

MindPrep Resource Center is dedicated to timeless solutions that work. We offer workshops, mini-courses, and publications to develop your skills and implement these insightful lessons from our past into your business of today.

Start on your path of greatness now!

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