Jul 25, 2016 - 9:00am

Democrats Can Make History by Looking at America’s Past

After rocking the issues in Cleveland, the political world’s eyes are on Philadelphia, site of the Democratic National Convention.

“Let’s Make History Again” is the convention’s theme. Being a city rich with history—think Ben Franklin, the Declaration of Independence, and Rocky Balboa—Philadelphia inspired us to look back at great moments in American business history and how they helped us become the world’s biggest economy.

Hopefully this will inspire the Democratic Party to get Back to Business and build off our nation’s success in order to build a stronger economy.

Innovation


From having the foresight to invent bifocals to the world-changing invention of the personal computer, American inventors have always been successful in creating innovative technologies.

Founding father, Ben Franklin invented the bifocals in the 1700s.


In 1837, John Deere invented the first steel plow, which modernized the agricultural industry in America. 

John Deere Plow ASABE Landmark No 7


Alexander Graham Bell, transformed communications by inventing the telephone in 1876.


Henry Ford invented the first moving assembly line for mass production in 1913.

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1913 photo of a Ford Model T assembly line.
1913 photo of a Ford Model T assembly line.


The transistor, which revolutionized electronic devices—and later brought us the Computer Age--was invented by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley in 1947.


Apple, led by co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, released the first Macintosh computer in 1984.

 

Energy


America has been blessed with energy abundance.  With centuries of experience under our belt along with new innovations, America continues be a world energy leader.

In 1821 William Hart drilled the first natural gas well. Today, natural gas generates one-third of U.S. electricity.


The first oil well  was drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859.


George Westinghouse, licensed the steam turbine in 1895 and used it to generate electricity. Today, about 80% of the world’s electricity is generated by steam.


Daryl Chapin, Gerald Pearson, and Calvin Fuller invented the solar cell in 1955, turning the power of the sun into electricity.


In 1997, George Mitchell led a team that combined horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing to unleash oil and natural gas from shale formations. The U.S. is now the world’s top petroleum producer.

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An oil jack near Corpus Christi, Texas.

 

Infrastructure


Through its history, America has led the world in infrastructure wonders like canals, dams, and highways.

Canals became imperative to trade when the Erie Canal was built in 1825, followed by the Panama Canal in 1914 which linked the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.


Construction of the Hoover Dam was finished in 1935, making it the largest in the world when it was completed.


President Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System, dubbed the “greatest public works project in history,“ revolutionized American travel.

 

Trade


These accomplishment brought us closer together helped shape America into the world trade leader we are today.

With his Clermont sailing up and down the Hudson River, Robert Fulton launched the first commercially successful steamboat in 1807.


The establishment of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 made transporting goods remarkably easier, cheaper, and more flexible.


Eight years after the Wright Brothers’ first successful airplane flights, the first U.S. airmail delivery took place in 1911. Shipping has never been the same since.


Abby Kelly, Erica Roberts and Katie Powers contributed to this piece.

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About the Author