The American Economy

Agricultural Programs Adjustment Act of 1984

  Legislation that froze target price increases provided for in the 1981 act; authorized paid land diversions for upland cotton, rice, and feed; and provided a wheat payment-in-kind (PIK) program for 1984. Signed into law on April 10,1984, this overhaul of the federal crop program sparked controversy between the administration of President Ronald Reagan and […]

Agricultural Policy

  The evolution of the federal government’s efforts to stabilize agricultural markets. The federal government had always maintained policies designed to encourage the development of agriculture, but not until the 1920s did it formulate policies to specifically regulate fundamental market forces in the agricultural sector. Intensifying urbanization at the turn of the twentieth century generated […]

Alliance for Progress

Economic program designed to improve relations between the United States and its southern neighbors, thereby combating the spread of communism. Shortly after John F. Kennedy became president in 1961, he appointed Adolph Berle to establish a commission to investigate ways to improve relations between the United States and Latin American nations. This commission recommended expansive […]

Aldrich-Vreeland Act (1908)

Act meant to remedy perceived inadequacies of the U.S. banking structure revealed during the bank failures and panics of 1873, 1893, and 1907, which occurred because of the lack of regulatory federal legislation. In January 1908, Senator Nelson Aldrich, Republican from Rhode Island, introduced a bill to permit the creation of emergency currency backed by […]


Forty-ninth state of the United States, known for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. “Seward’s Folly” no longer has a place—if it ever did—in the lexicon as a nickname for Alaska, given the actual and potential reserves of Alaskan oil and gas, not to mention the abundance of coal. The oil field at Prudhoe Bay, discovered by Atlantic […]

American Inventors Protection Act of 1999

Act passed to modify existing patent law. In November 1999, Congress passed the Intellectual Property and Communication Omnibus Act of 1999. Title IV of the act contains the American Inventors Protection Act. President Bill Clinton signed the bill on November 29,1999, and it became effective in 2000. The American Inventors Protection Act established a first-to-invent […]

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)

Largest labor union in the United States. The AFL-CIO formed in 1955 when the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged. During the 1950s and 1960s, the AFL-CIO concentrated on increasing the wages of union members and on improving employee benefits. Collective bargaining, legal under the Wagner Act, provided labor with […]

American Economic Association (AEA)

Organization of professional economists established in 1885. Founded primarily by a group of younger professors led by Richard Ely of Johns Hopkins University, the American Economic Association (AEA) challenged the economic orthodoxy of laissez-faire espoused by David Ricardo. However, to attract membership from a wide range of academics (including the organization’s first president, the Massachusetts […]

American Stock Exchange (AM EX)

Second-oldest stock exchange in the United States. The American Stock Exchange (AMEX) originally began as an outdoor trading center for government securities and for other companies in the mid-1850s. Known initially as “the Curb” because all transaction occurred outside, by 1908 it organized formally under the name of the New York Curb Agency after federal […]

American Revolution (1775-1783)

  Event that severed the political ties between Great Britain and its 13 North American colonies, setting the stage for the development of the United States of America. In its Navigational Acts of the latter half of the seventeenth century, England created a closed mercantile system designed to control, regulate, and tax trade with its […]