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American System

clay president james monroe

American System, term used by Henry Clay (1777–1852) for his program of economic nationalism, which provided protective tariffs and internal improvements such as roads and canals. For a time the American System had considerable support, and in President James Monroe's second term tariffs were increased and a national bank was reestablished. President John Quincy Adams's ideas went far beyond Clay's, but they antagonized westerners, who wanted the price for the public lands lowered, and Southerners, who were fearful of interference with slavery and who needed cheap imported manufactures. After Andrew Jackson became president in 1829, the provisions of the American System were not put into effect.

See also: Clay, Henry; Monroe, James.

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