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Dighe, R. American Economic History Before 1900
MWF 1:50-2:45, in Mahar 203
|Ranjit S. Dighe||Mahar 425; 341-3480|
"The one duty we have to history is to revise it."
-- Oscar Wilde
"Memory says, 'I did that.' Pride replies, 'I could not have done that.' Eventually, memory yields."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
This course explores issues in United States history from an economic perspective. We will study the development of economic institutions, markets, and industries, as well as economic interpretations of historical phenomena such as the American Revolution, slavery, the Civil War, and the robber-baron era. We will employ basic microeconomic and macroeconomic tools in analyzing and seeking explanations of historical events and outcomes. The coverage runs from the pre-colonial era to the turn of the twentieth century.
Tuesdays & Thursdays 10-noon, and by appointment
ECO 101 (introductory microeconomics) and ECO 200 (introductory macroeconomics); also, ENG 102 (Composition II) or ENG 204 (Writing About Literature) or passage of exemption examination.
Atack, Jeremy and Peter Passell. A New Economic View of American History. 2nd edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994. $30.
Baum, L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. New York: Dover, 1996 . $1.50.
Hacker, Diana. A Writer's Reference. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford Books, 1999 (You might own this already.) $28.
Mitchell, Margaret. Gone With the Wind. New York: Warner Books, 1999 . $12.
Strunk, William Jr. and E.B. White. The Elements of Style. 4th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1999. $7.
Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States. New York: Harper Perennial, 1995. $15.
(Prices given are list prices of new copies. Total cost of buying all-new copies: $94.)
Additional required readings
Eco 326 course reading packet, available at the College Store. Cost: $6.65.
-- The required reading for each week will often include one article or book chapter from a source other than your textbooks. The reading packet contains all of the required outside readings. You could get by without buying the packet, because three copies of each of these readings will be available at the reserve desk at Penfield Library for two-hour, in-library use. On the other hand, many students prefer to have their own copies of the readings, and the cost of the packet is much less than the cost of photocopying the readings yourself at the library.
James W. Loewen. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: Simon and Schuster (Touchstone division), 1995. $14. Revisionist left-wing history at its best, this passionate and witty book practically out-Zinns Zinn, combining a critique of high school American history textbooks with renderings of numerous crucial events and details that those textbooks typically ignore.
Course web site
This site, which is also accessible through my home page, is worth checking periodically. It will include any future updates to this syllabus, a complete list of course materials on reserve at the library, and links to related sites.
Another useful web site
This site is devoted entirely to "Common Errors in English" and is the brainchild of an English professor named Paul Brians. Aside from a long list of common grammatical errors, it includes links to several online grammar books and resources. The guy has a pretty good sense of humor, too.
The College Writing Center
... is a strongly recommended resource for anyone who finds the writing component of this course to be a struggle. The tutors at the College Writing Center can offer valuable help in writing and revising your papers. The Center is located in room 203 of Swetman Hall and is reachable by phone at x2570 or x4234.
Assignments and grading
Since this course is an expository writing class, written assignments will constitute the bulk of your grade. On every written assignment, content and writing will count equally toward your grade. The single largest component of your course grade will be a term paper (about 10 pages). You will write two drafts of this paper, so when you turn in your final draft on the last day of class, it will be a polished product. Along the way you will complete a short assignment or two that relate to the term paper and/or the economics of slavery. All of your written work for this class should be typed, proofread, and stapled.
Your term paper can be on any important topic in American economic history, provided that you clear it with me first. The article by Robert Whaples (see Week 1's reading) is an excellent place to look for a topic, since it lists forty propositions in economic history on which there is at least some disagreement among economic historians.
You will also write a "team paper," together with three or four of your classmates, about the process of emancipation in the slave states and territories that did not secede from the Union in the 1860s. Each team will be assigned one of those states: Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and the District of Columbia. This paper should have three to five pages of text, plus a bibliography and appropriate footnotes, endnotes, or in-text citations. One or more people from each team will do a short presentation of their paper in class.
Prep papers: You will write a short (1½ - 2 pages) discussion prep paper, based on your reactions to the assigned reading for the week. The due date for each week's prep paper is Monday, unless otherwise indicated. You are required to write five prep papers in all. The papers should include reactions to all of the assigned readings for the week at hand. At least three of these papers should be done in weeks for which there is some outside reading, i.e. an assigned paper or chapter that is not from the required books (Atack and Passell, Zinn, Strunk and White, Mitchell. All of the outside readings, except the annotated Wizard of Oz, are in the reading packet). Since the class will ideally include a lot of discussion, class participation will also enter into your final grade.
The course will also have a midterm and a final exam. The weighting of the different items will be as follows:
|Prep papers and class participation||20%|
|Term paper (first draft)||15%|
|Term paper (final draft)||25%|
Draconian policy on cheating
Students who are caught cheating on the term paper or on either of the exams will automatically fail this course and, possibly, will have their misdeeds reported to the college authorities. Students who are caught cheating on a prep paper or another item will receive a zero for the item in question, as well as zeroes for two other, equivalently weighted items (e.g., the two prep papers before it; think of it as a "treble damages" policy).
Course outline and schedule
|What Is Economic History?
American Economic Development: A Quick Overview
What to read:
|2||Sept. 6-10||The Writing of Economics
The "Discovery" of America
Strunk and White, The Elements of Style
Note well: This week's prep paper (on Strunk and White) is mandatory and due on Mon., Sept. 6.
|3||Sept. 13-17||Labor in the Colonies
David Galenson, "Labor Markets in Colonial America: Servitude, Slavery, and Free Labor," pp. 52-96 of Galenson, ed., Markets in History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
|4||Sept. 22-24||Talkin' Bout a Revolution
Marc Egnal and Joseph Ernst, "An Economic Interpretation of the American Revolution," William and Mary Quarterly 24:3-31 (1972).
NO CLASS ON MON., SEPT. 20: YOM KIPPUR
|Birth of a Nation
Zinn, Chapter 5 ("A Kind of Revolution")
|6||Oct. 4-6||Mass. Production: The Beginnings of Industrialization
Charles Dickens, "Lowell and Its Factory System," pp. 84-89 of American Notes. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith / Fawcett Publications, 1968 .
NO CLASS ON FRI., OCT. 8: DIGHE OUT OF TOWN
|7||Oct. 11-15||The Political Economy of Slavery
Atack and Passell, Chapter 12 ("How the Southern Slave System Worked")
|8||Oct. 20-22||Economic Aspects of the Civil War
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, "The War to Abolish Slavery?", Chapter 8 (pp. 204-216) of Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men. Chicago: Open Court Press, 1996.
NO CLASS ON MON., OCT. 18: FALL BREAK
|9||Oct. 25-29||Emancipation and Reconstruction
Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind
Parts of Monday's and Wednesday's classes will be devoted to student presentations of their "team papers" on Emancipation in the border states.
All of Friday's class will be devoted to discussion of Gone With the Wind and Reconstruction.
|10||Nov. 1-5||The South After the Civil War
Lee J. Alston, "Issues in Postbellum Southern Agriculture," Chapter 9 (pp. 207-227) of Lou Ferleger, ed., Agriculture and National Development: Views on the 19th Century. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1990.
|11||Nov. 8-12||Railroads and the Nineteenth-Century Transportation Revolution
Atack and Passell, Chapter 6 ("The Transportation Revolution and Domestic Commerce")
|12||Nov. 15-19||Industry and Finance in the Robber-Baron Era
Atack and Passell, Chapter 17 ("The Changing Structure of American Industry")
|13||Nov. 22||Welcome to the Jungle: Labor in the Robber-Baron Era
Zinn, pp. 234-246 of Chapter 10 ("The Other Civil War")
WED. - FRI., NOV. 24 - 26 - THANKSGIVING BREAK
|The Other Side of the Frontier: The American Indians
Anderson, Terry L. and Fred S. McChesney, "The Political Economy of Indian Wars," pp. 206-223 of Linda Barrington, ed. The Other Side of the Frontier: Economic Explorations into Native American History. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999.
|15||Dec. 6-10||Money and Banking and the Politics Thereof
Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (with Dighe's annotations)
Last revised on 16-September-1999