In Capitalism We Trust: American Business History from Cotton to Foreclosure (Proseminar in United States History)

History 103D.005

Fall 2016
262 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
W 2-4P

When President Calvin Coolidge declared in 1925 that “the chief business of the American people is business,” he was not making a historical argument, though it would have been a defensible one. Nearly a century earlier, French visitor, Alexis de Tocqueville, made a similar observation. Indeed, America was colonized by joint-stock corporations! Understanding the history of American capitalism therefore unlocks a great deal about America itself. How did capital become capitalism and how did capitalism affected Americans’ lives? How have capitalist markets been constructed socially and legally? What is the relationship between capitalism, gender, race, and inequality? We will explore these questions on a chronological journey from seventeenth-century cotton trading to twenty-first century foreclosure.

Note: many of the textbooks are available online via the Library.  Please check Oskicat!

Course Books

To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise by Moreton, Bethany Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. ISBN: 978-0674057401 Required
Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies by Stein, Judith New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN: 978-0300171501 Required
Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan by Phillips-Fein, Kim New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN: 978-0393059304 Required
Sloan Rules: Alfred P. Sloan and the Triumph of General Motors by Farber, David Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 978-0226238043 Required
Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink by Hyman, Louis Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN: 978-0691156163 Required
Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Credit by Calder, Lendol Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN: 978-0691074559 Required
American Welfare Capitalism by Brandes, Stuart Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 978-0226071220 Required
Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery in American Big Business by Marchand, Roland Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN: 978-0520226883 Required
Socializing Capital: Rise of the Large Industrial Corporation in America by Roy, William Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN: 978-0691010342 Required
The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business by Chandler, Alfred Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press. ISBN: 978-0674940529 Required
Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America by Levy, Jonathan Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN: 978-0674736351 Required
Beyond the Typewriter: Gender, Class, and the Origins of Modern American Office, Work, 1900-1930 by Strom, Sharon Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. ISBN: 978-0252018060 Required
Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America by White, Richard New York: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN: 978-0393342376 Required
Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture by William Leach New York: Random House. ISBN: 978-0679754114 Required