Political economy was the original term used for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth. Political economy originated in moral philosophy. It was developed in the 18th century as the study of the economies of states, or polities, hence the term political economy.
In the late 19th century, the term economics came to replace political economy, coinciding with the publication of an influential textbook by Alfred Marshall in 1890. Earlier, William Stanley Jevons, a proponent of mathematical methods applied to the subject, advocated economics for brevity and with the hope of the term becoming "the recognised name of a science."
Economic liberalism is the ideological belief in organizing the economy on individualist lines, meaning that the greatest possible number of economic decisions are made by individuals and not by collective institutions or organizations. It includes a spectrum of different economic policies, but it is always based on strong support for a market economy and private property in the means of production. Although economic liberalism can also be supportive of government regulation to a certain degree, it tends to oppose government intervention in the free market when it inhibits free trade and open competition. However, economic liberalism may accept government intervention in order to remove private monopoly, as this is considered to limit the decision power of some individuals (most often the poor). While economic liberalism favors markets unfettered by the government, it maintains that the state has a legitimate role in providing public goods.
Economic liberalism is often associated with support for free markets and private ownership of capital goods, and is usually contrasted with similar ideologies such as social liberalism and social democracy, which generally favor alternative forms of capitalism such as welfare capitalism, state capitalism or mixed economies. Economic liberalism also contrasts with protectionism because of its support for free trade and open markets. Historically, economic liberalism arose in response to mercantilism and feudalism. Today, economic liberalism is also generally considered to be opposed to non-capitalist economic orders, such as socialism, market socialism and planned economies.
The colonial history of the United States covers the history of European settlements from the start of colonization of America until their incorporation into the United States. In the late 16th century, England, France, Spain and the Netherlands launched major colonization programs in eastern North America. Small early attempts—such as the English Lost Colony of Roanoke—often disappeared; everywhere the death rate of the first arrivals was very high. Nevertheless successful colonies were established. European settlers came from a variety of social and religious groups. No aristocrats settled permanently, but a number of adventurers, soldiers, farmers, and tradesmen arrived. Diversity was an American characteristic as the Dutch of New Netherland, the Swedes and Finns of New Sweden, the English Quakers of Pennsylvania, the English Puritans of New England, the English settlers of Jamestown, and the "worthy poor" of Georgia, came to the new continent and built colonies with distinctive social, religious, political and economic styles. Occasionally one colony took control of another (during wars between their European parents). Only in Nova Scotia (now part of Canada) did the conquerors expel the previous colonists. Instead they all lived side by side in peace. There were no major civil wars among the 13 colonies, and the two chief armed rebellions (in Virginia in 1676 and in New York in 1689–91) were short-lived failures. Wars between the French and the British—the French and Indian Wars and Father Rale's War—were recurrent, and involved French-support for Wabanaki Confederacy attacks on the frontiers. By 1760 France was defeated and the British seized its colonies.
The four distinct regions were: New England, the Middle Colonies, the Chesapeake Bay Colonies (Upper South) and the Lower South. Some historians add a fifth region, the Frontier, which was never separately organized. By the time European settlers arrived around 1600–1650, the majority of the Native Americans living in the eastern United States had been decimated by new diseases, introduced to them decades before by explorers and sailors.
The economic history of the United Kingdom deals with the economic history of Britain after 1700.
Britain led the industrial revolution and dominated the European and world economy during the 19th century. It was the major innovator in machinery such as steam engines (for pumps, factories, railway locomotives and steamships), textile equipment, and tool-making. It invented the railway system and built much of the equipment used by other nations. As well it was a leader in international and domestic banking, entrepreneurship, and trade. It built a global British Empire. After 1840 it abandoned mercantilism and practised "free trade," with no tariffs or quotas or restrictions. The powerful Royal Navy protected its global holdings, while its legal system provided a system for resolving disputes inexpensively.