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Olney, M. American Economic History
Department of Economics
University of California-Berkeley
ECONOMICS S113: AMERICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY
M Tu W Th 3-5 p.m., 9 Evans
Professor Olney, 607 Evans Hall, 642-6083
Drop-in: Tu Th 2-3 p.m. Other times by appointment.
Economics 113 is an upper-division course in the study of the history of the U.S. economy. We will survey over three hundred years of history but, of necessity, will focus more intensely on some periods and incidents in U.S. history than on others. The emphasis will be on economic factors and explanations. A primary goal for this course is to demonstrate the applicability of the study of history to the analysis of present-day events.
Economics 113 is equivalent to History 135; credit cannot be received for both courses. Economics 113 counts toward the economics major as one of the "Economic History and History of Economic Thought" (group III) courses. The course must be taken for a grade if it is to be used toward the requirements for the major.
Economics 1 (Introduction to Microeconomics and Macroeconomics) is the only prerequisite for this course. Some familiarity with the broad outlines of U.S. history will be presumed.
Required Textbook and Reader
Gary M. Walton and Hugh Rockoff, History of the American Economy, 6th edition, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.
Economics S113 Reader. Available at Copy Central (Northside only), 1862 Euclid Avenue, Berkeley. 849-0700.
Responsibilities and Requirements
My responsibilities are to come to class prepared, respond to and encourage questions and other appropriate class participation, fairly grade and promptly return papers and exams, to be available during scheduled office hours and as possible for scheduled appointments, and to stimulate an enthusiasm for economics and for learning.
Your responsibilities are to attend class eight hours per week, to complete the assigned readings and other assignments in a timely manner, to participate in class discussions and small group activities, to keep a reading journal, to take a quiz, midterm and a final examination, and to write a term paper.
Your course grade will depend upon your performance on the following,
with weights as indicated:
Class participation 10 %
Reading Journal 10 %
Quiz (Thursday July 1) 10 %
Midterm exam (Monday July 19) 20 %
Term paper (due Monday August 2) 20 %
Final exam (Monday, August 9) 30 %
Academic Honesty Policy In fairness to students who put in an honest effort, cheaters will be treated harshly. Any evidence of cheating will result in a score of zero (0) on the entire exam or assignment. Cheating includes but is not limited to bringing notes or written materials into an exam, using notes or written materials during an exam, copying off another person's exam, allowing someone to copy off of your exam, having someone take an exam for you, and plagiarism (copying or paraphrasing source materials without proper citation). If you are unsure if your actions will constitute cheating, please talk with Professor Olney.
Regarding the Reading Journal
Most Thursdays through and including August 5, you will turn in a journal. Your journal can be a spiral binder, stapled sheets of paper, or something similar. You should be sure there are plenty of blank pages on which I can write my responses. Writing by hand is preferred, as you will then be more likely to share your thoughts informally, as they occur. If you want to use a word processor (if, for instance, your handwriting is atrocious), be sure to include a couple of blank sheets of paper at the back. Each week, turn in not only what you have written that week, but also all previous entries.
Each week, your journal should contain one or two entries. In total over the term, you will turn in 5 or 6 "reading reaction" entries, and also 5 or 6 "article reaction" entries. In both cases the sixth entry is optional; it can be used to increase your grade. Your journals will be read, marked, and returned with comments on the following Monday. No late journals will be accepted. Each entry will be marked with a +, check or [[thorn]]. A + will count for 1 point, a check for << point, a [[thorn]] for 0 points. Of the 12 points thus possible (six entries of each type), a maximum of 10 points can be earned.
Reading Reaction Entries. The first type of entry will be a reaction to that week's readings. This could be in the form of questions raised by what you read, your thoughts and reactions to the reading, things you learned (perhaps surprisingly), and so on. If you have no idea what to write, pose a question pertinent to the readings (or some section of the readings) and answer it. Each reaction should be at least one page long. You need to write five of these reading reaction entries over the term. The sixth entry is optional.
Article Reaction Entries. The second type of entry will consist of an article from a newspaper or news magazine, and your comments on historical events, arguments, or issues that may provide insight into the contemporary issues raised in the article. Each comment should be approximately one page in length. You need to write five of these article reaction entries over the term. The sixth entry is optional. The attached sheet is provided for you to use to keep track of whenyou turn in your journal entries. You may wish to tape this to the inside front cover of your journal.
Regarding the Quiz, Midterm, Term Paper and Final
On the second day of class, please bring a one-page paper of introduction in which you introduce yourself to me. Include your name and any other information you would like to include.
There will be an in-class quiz at the beginning of class on Thursday, July 1. There will be no make-up quiz. The quiz will consist of a number of short questions in which you will be asked to define or identify an item, and discuss its relevance to U.S. economic history. It will cover the material presented in class and in the readings through and including Wednesday, June 30.
The midterm exam will be held on Monday, July 19, in class. It will cover the material presented in class and in the assigned readings through and including Thursday, July 15. The exam will be a closed book, closed note exam. It will consist of several short-answer or essay-type questions and a map identification question. There will be no True/False or multiple choice questions. Study questions will be distributed the week before the exam.
The term paper will be due on Monday, August 2. It should be 10 to 12 pages in length, typed, double-spaced, with 1 inch margins on all sides, printed with between 10 and 12 characters per inch. In your paper you should raise and address some question in U.S. economic history. Possible topics will be discussed during the first or second week of class. You are not limited to these topics. As resource material, you should use journal articles and books, and government or other documents for empirical evidence (as appropriate).
Preliminary deadlines are:
Topic idea Thursday July 8
Outline and at least 5 item bibliography Thursday July 15
The final will be comprehensive in nature, covering all course material presented in class and in the assigned readings. It will be an in-class final on Monday August 9, 3-6 p.m. (note the additional hour scheduled for the exam). No notes or other written materials may be brought into the exam.
Course Outline and Reading Assignments
The reading assignments are either from the textbook (shown below as "W/R, Chapter ...") or the Economics S113 Reader (shown below as "Reader #..."). Class discussion will generally supplement (not duplicate) the material in the readings. You should be prepared on the day shown to discuss the reading(s) shown for that day.
Monday, June 21 Introduction to Course, The Study and Relevance of Economic History
READ: W/R, Chapter 1
Tuesday, June 22 British Colonization; Native American History in and before the Colonial Period
Due: Paper of Introduction
READ: W/R, Chapter 2
Reader #1 (Brown, "America Before Columbus")
Reader #2 (Axtell, "Colonial America Without the Indians")
Wednesday, June 23 British vs. Spanish Property Rights Systems; Colonial Activities
READ: W/R, Chapter 3
Reader #3 (C‚spedes, Latin America: The Early Years)
Thursday, June 24 Mercantilism and Revolution
READ: W/R, Chapters 4 and 6
Monday, June 28 Westward Expansion; Transportation Developments
READ: W/R, Chapters 8 and 9
Tuesday, June 29 Early Industrialization; Population Growth, Immigration Patterns, Fertility Decline
READ: W/R, Chapters 10 and 11
Wednesday, June 30 Poor Relief; Using the Library for Research
READ: Reader #4 (Hannon, "Poverty in the Antebellum Northeast)
Thursday, July 1 Banking and Finance
READ: W/R, Chapter 12
Reader #5 (Lamoreaux, "Banks, Kinship, and Economic Development")
Monday, July 5 Independence Day Holiday
Tuesday, July 6 Agriculture; Slavery; Regional Conflict
READ: W/R, Chapter 13
Reader #6 (Wright, Political Economy of the Cotton South)
Wednesday, July 7 Civil War; Postbellum Southern Development
READ: W/R, Chapter 14
Reader #7 (Ransom and Sutch, One Kind of Freedom)
Thursday, July 8 Nineteenth Century Agriculture; Populism; Railroads
Due: Paper Topic Idea
READ: W/R, Chapters 15 and 16
Reader #8 (Magliari, "Populism, Steamboats,
and the Octopus")
Monday, July 12 Industrialization; Rise of Big Business
READ: W/R, Chapter 17
Tuesday, July 13 Immigration, Discrimination, Labor
READ: W/R, Chapter 18
Reader #9 (Cloud and Galenson, "Chinese
Reader #10 (Hannon, "City Size and Ethnic
Wednesday, July 14 Banking and Finance
READ: W/R, Chapter 19
Thursday, July 15 International Trade, Protectionism, and Economic
Due: Outline & Bibliography
READ: W/R, Chapter 20
Monday, July 19 MIDTERM EXAMINATION
Tuesday, July 20 World War I and the 1920s
READ: W/R, Chapter 21
Wednesday, July 21 The 1920s and the 1930s
READ: W/R, Chapter 22
Thursday, July 22 The Great Depression
READ: W/R, Chapter 23
Reader #11 (Sundstrom, "Last Hired, First
Monday, July 26 New Deal
READ: W/R, Chapter 24
Tuesday, July 27 World War II; Rosie the Riveter
READ: W/R, Chapter 25
Reader #12 (Kossoudji and Dresser, "Working
Wednesday, July 28 Government Macro Policy
READ: W/R, Chapter 26
Thursday, July 29 Post-World War II Industry in the U.S.;
READ: W/R, Chapter 27
Monday, August 2 Rise of the Service Sector; Deindustrialization
Due: Term Paper READ: W/R, Chapter 30
Reader #13 ("'Flexible' Jobs on the Rise")
Reader #14 ("Fewer Jobs Filled as Factories
Rely on Overtime Pay")
Tuesday, August 3 Women in the Labor Force; Post-WWII Immigration and
READ: Reader #15 (Goldin, "Why Did Change Take So
Reader #16 ("The Immigrants")
Wednesday, August 4 Government Budget Deficits and Saving
READ: W/R, Chapters 29 and 31
Reader #17 (Richman, "Getting America to
Thursday, August 5 The Banking and The Savings and Loan Crises of the
READ: Reader #18 (Davis, "Chronicle of a Debacle
Monday, August 9 FINAL EXAMINATION
Readings in Reader
Department of Economics Summer 1993
University of California Economics S113
Berkeley Professor Olney
Economics S113 Reader
(1) Brown, James A. "America Before Columbus." In Indians
in American History: An Introduction. Edited by
Frederick E. Hoxie. Pp. 19-45. Arlington Heights,
Illinois: Harlan Davidson Inc., 1988.
(2) Axtell, James. "Colonial America Without the Indians: A
Counterfactual Scenario." In Indians in American
History: An Introduction. Edited by Frederick E. Hoxie.
Pp. 47-65. Arlington Heights, Illinois: Harlan Davidson
(3) Cspedes, Guillermo. Selected pages from Latin America:
The Early Years. Pp. 3-23, 62-79. New York: Alfred A.
(4) Hannon, Joan Underhill. "Poverty in the Antebellum
Northeast: The View from New York State's Poor Relief
Rolls." Journal of Economic History 44 (December 1984):
(5) Lamoreaux, Naomi R. "Banks, Kinship, and Economic
Development: The New England Case." Journal of Economic
History 46 (September 1986): 647-67.
(6) Wright, Gavin. "The Structure of the Cotton-Slave
Economy." Selections from Chapter 2 (pp. 10-24, 26, 28,
31) of The Political Economy of the Cotton South:
Households, Markets, and Wealth in the Nineteenth
Century. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1978.
(7) Ransom, Roger L. and Sutch, Richard. "What Did Freedom
Mean?" Chapter 1 (pp. 1-13, 317-319) of One Kind of
Freedom: The Economic Consequences of Emancipation.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.
(8) Magliari, Michael. "Populism, Steamboats, and the
Octopus: Transportation Rates and Monopoly in
California's Wheat Regions, 1890-1896." Pacific
Historical Review 58 (November 1989): 449-69.
(9) Cloud, Patricia and Galenson, David W. "Chinese
Immigration and Contract Labor in the Late Nineteenth
Century." Explorations in Economic History 24 (January
(10) Hannon, Joan Underhill. "City Size and Ethnic
Discrimination: Michigan Agricultural Implements and
Iron Working Industries, 1890." Journal of Economic
History 42 (December 1982): 825-45.
(11) Sundstrom, William A. "Last Hired, First Fired?
Unemployment and Urban Black Workers During the Great
Depression." Journal of Economic History 52 (June 1992):
(12) Kossoudji, Sherrie A. and Laura J. Dresser. "Working
Class Rosies: Women Industrial Workers during World War
II." Journal of Economic History 52 (June 1992): 431-46.
(13) Burdman, Pamela. "'Flexible' Jobs on the Rise." San
Francisco Chronicle (August 10, 1992): C1, C5.
(14) Uchitelle, Louis. "Fewer Jobs Filled as Factories Rely
on Overtime Pay." New York Times (May 16, 1993): 1, 18.
(15) Goldin, Claudia. "Why Did Change Take So Long?" Chapter
6 (pp. 159-184) of Understanding the Gender Gap: An
Economic History of American Women. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1990.
(16) "The Immigrants: How They're Helping to Revitalize the
U.S. Economy." Business Week (July 13, 1992): 114, 116-
(17) Richman, Louis S. "Getting America to Save More."
Fortune (December 16, 1991): 67-69, 72, 76.
(18) Davis, L.J. "Chronicle of a Debacle Foretold: How
Deregulation Begat the S&L Scandal." Harper's Magazine
(September 1990): 50-56, 58-60, 62-64, 66.
Martha L. Olney
Economics Department, UC Berkeley