"On the eve of the Civil War the United States had already achieved rapid and sustained economic expansion. We had filled out our territorial boundaries, and the frontier was already encroaching upon the parched lands in the lee of the Rocky Mountains and moving east of the Sierra Nevadas. We were an industrial nation second only to Britain in manufacturing. Our expansion had been matched by an acceleration of economic well-being. The obstacles to American economic growth had been removed before the Civil War took place. That war was a costly and bitter interruption." Integrating economic theory, history, and statistics in this provocative study, Professor North develops a fresh interpretation of the sources and determining factors of United States growth from the founding of the nation to the Civil War. From 1970 to 1814 economic development is seen primarily as a result of external influences. From 1815 to 1860 the westward movement and the transformation to an industrial economy provided accelerating influences on the nation's growing prosperity. Professor North concludes that the export trade, particularly in cotton, was of prime importance as a stimulant to the economy. And he emphasizes the cornerstone of growth was the spread of a market economy, which attracted "an increasing percentage of resources into production for the market and out of pioneer self-sufficiency."