HIST/AMST 2051 The United States as a Developing Nation: American Capitalism from Alexander Hamilton to J.P. Morgan (HA-AS)
Tuesday and Thursday: 11:40-12:55
Visiting Professor Noam Maggor
The nineteenth-century United States was a developing nation. Newly independent, Americans struggled to create government institutions, build basic infrastructure, define the country’s territorial boundaries, forge foreign policy, mobilize labor, and nurture economic prosperity. This seminar revisits the United States during those “take-off” decades. Interrogating some of the teleologies that often shape our thinking about American ascendency, it invites students to reflect on the key decisions, policies, and events that shaped the country’s unlikely trajectory, from a marginal colonial outpost to a dominant, perhaps even imperial, political and economic presence on the world stage. Topics will range widely from the expansion of slavery to the rise of American cities; the shifting position of the United States in the world economy to the role of the government in fostering development; the extraction of natural resources to the extension of financial networks; changing business practices to the impact of capitalism on issues of race and gender; the transformation of work and labor to the emergence of the world of leisure and consumption.