The American System Proposed by Henry Clay Was a Plan to Do What?

The American System was presented by Speaker Henry Clay in 1824 as a plan to strengthen and unify the nation through national development. The plan was advanced by additional leading politicians, including John Quincy Adams and John C. Calhoun.

Clay stood firm in his evolving belief of protecting American industries through raised tariffs. The core of his belief was that raising tariffs would help boost American industries through internal federally funded programs and national banks. These tariffs would also generate additional revenue to support the federal government, Clay believed.

The American System was Clay's firm belief of bettering the nation. He charted various potential improvements that could be made by revenue gained from the proposed raised tariffs. Major improvements included building roads and canals to knit the nation together. Preserving the Bank of the United States was also charted as a means of stability regarding currency and oversight over local and state banks.

Clay began addressing the House with, “The object of the bill under consideration is to create this home

market, and to lay the foundations of a genuine American policy.” Forty pages and two legislative days later, The Tariff of 1824 passed through the house by a narrow margin and strong opposition from the southern portion of the United States. After narrowly being carried through the Senate, the bill was signed into law in May 1824.