Over the past few months, Canadians have watched in disbelief as the Canadian dollar came
tumbling down. This, of course, is a myopic point of view; the Mexican peso, the Euro, and the
yen have suffered exactly the same sort of decline, because the real story is how the American
dollar has undergone an amazing climb from the disaster of 2008 to its rise today. The deeper
story is how the United States of America has been a continuous adventure of achievement
unlike any other country in the world. A second point, the one that is relevant to our readers,
is what actually has fueled this continuous level of success.

A History Lesson
The original 13 colonies, formed in 1776, a land full of idealism, comprised a fraction of the territory that is
America today. Only a few years separated the American Revolution from the French Revolution, so at
that time both America and France felt they had much in common. The U.S., trying to pull away from
British domination, saw in France a likely ally and a common bond. The U.S. could pit the big boys (Britain
and France) against each other politically, and create competition to aid the U.S. to import much needed
investments. The U.S. capital, Philadelphia, was flooded by key political Frenchmen to help Americans in
mischief against Britain. Since most of these French were from the aristocratic side, they were not
welcome at home – with the guillotine waiting for some of them. French actually was spoken in
Philadelphia at some point. Meanwhile such French people did not adopt the U.S. as their new home;
instead they bided their time until the political situation eased for them in France and then they returned
at the first opportunity. Hence no real French legacy was left, just vestiges of the French presence in

By 1803, the U.S., with the advantage over Britain of already being in North American, competed
successfully against its former master to gain the Louisiana purchase from France, a huge tract of land
several states wide (by today’s geography) extending from Montana and the Dakotas in the north down to
Louisiana (today) in the south – a swath of 14 states, doubling the size of the U.S. overnight.

Political Principles

How did this new nation form? What were its ideals? A few concepts jumped to the top of its list:

  • Liberty means autonomy. People had to have liberty, the freedom to be innovative and express their
    ideas. Everybody had to be free. Needless to say, slavery, introduced by Britain to the continent
    much earlier, somehow had to be turned into liberation.
  • Break free from the old path. The highly controlling European empire models were anathema to theU.S. psyche. The U.S. leaders felt the country had to fight to avoid any empire’s impingement on or near the U.S. For example, aid was provided to Juarez in Mexico to defeat the French/Austrian effort which was gaining a stronger foothold. Result: Maximillian, Emperor of Mexico, the son of the
    Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Franz-Josef, was executed by Juarez. A later effort was formed by the
    U.S. volunteers (the Rough Riders1 – led by Teddy Roosevelt) joining the Cubans to cast off the yoke of Spain on that island. Aid was passed by the U.S. to many parts of South America to help rid the Americas of such European control. A firm stamp of U.S. interest, in the early 1800’s was its Monroe doctrine, which stated that intervention by external powers in the affairs of the Americas was
    a potentially hostile act against the U.S.
  • Fight the bureaucracy. America wanted to avoid having a bureaucratic state, one that would render itself always able to prevent a corrupt leader from assuming control. The governing body structures, Congress, the House of Representatives, etc. were assembled to ensure such protection.

Gluing the pieces together
In 1818 and 1819 a piece from Britain (Canada) – part of present day Minnesota – and a piece from Spain
(Florida) were added to the mosaic. Then in 1845 Texas was annexed, followed in 1848 by ceding
California, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada from Mexico with a further piece of Arizona added in 1853.
When Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. in 1867, a transformation from 800,000 square miles of the original
13 colonies to more than 4 times larger, at 3,500,000 square miles, had taken place.

Reaching out to the World
As early as Thomas Jefferson’s time (early 1800’s), the U.S. reached out internationally intervening against
North African pirates to provide security to the growing global commerce of the U.S. and to declare its
willingness to impose its will internationally. Other early international involvement took place in the
Philippines, China and Japan in the mid 1800’s. Promoting the American way, even with muscle, has
continued to this day.

The Modern Miracle
By 1914 the U.S. had become the largest producer of goods in the world. Its production then was greater
than the three largest European powers combined – U.K., France and Germany. By 1918, the U.S.,
an importer of capital over most of its prior history, had now become the world’s largest capital exporter.
This amazing feat was accomplished in less than 140 years, an economic growth rate unprecedented in
the history of the world. Even today, the U.S. accounts for almost half of the world’s consumption.

Lessons Learned
While the continuous acquisition of land contributed significantly to the U.S. growth, the deeper reason,
we feel, for the astounding position of the U.S. was brought about by the three principles noted earlier,
all of which fit the CCCC mantra, one way or another.

  • Liberty means autonomy. CCCC’s basic premise of Bottom-Up Management is to use the wide range of talents of all your company’s employees, not just a chosen few, i.e. to listen seriously to them all.
  • Break free from the old path. Resist the temptation to think that the larger, older companies are
    setting a good example for you. Have the courage to take your own path when it makes sense.
  • Fight the bureaucracy. CCCC introduces checks and balances at every step of the way in its client
    organizations, for example, to question policies, and to revamp or eliminate them if they are not
    contributing to the progressive path forward. As important as process and procedure are, they must
    be assessed continuously to prevent the weeds from taking over the garden – the common trait
    associated with the demise of commercial enterprises.

Good luck with your company’s political business.