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Sullivan, T. American Economic Development
AMERICAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Office:101J Stephens Hall
Office Hours:10:00-11:00 M W,10:00-11:30 T, and by appointment
e mail: tsullivan @ towson.edu
Life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backwards.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.
--Franklin Pierce Adams
I don't see that anyone save a sap-head can now think he knows any history until he understands economics.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
Jeremy Atack and Peter Passell, A New Economic View of American History, 2nd edition, W. W. Norton, 1994.
This course examines the economic development of the United States from Colonial Times to approximately the Second World War and uses elementary economic analysis as a tool for illuminating historical events and their economic origins and consequences.
Throughout American economic history alternative policies have had mixed successes and failures. The central theme of economic history is not that one particular policy is destined to succeed or fail but rather that there are always viable choices. The goal of this course is not to provide you with standard interpretations but to offer you alternative and economic views to historical events. Moreover, you may discover that many of these past events have very real consequences and implications for current policy.
First Exam:100 points (25%)
Second Exam:100 points (25%)
4 to 6 page Paper: 100 points (25%)
Final Exam: 100 points (25%)
Your course grade will be based on the total number of points earned out of a possible total of 400 points.
In the absence of any curve the grading scale will be:
A 90-100 360-400
B 75-89 300-359
C 60-74 240-299
D 50-59 200-239
F 0-49 0-199
Course Outline and Readings
Required readings (from your textbook) are marked by an asterisk. Other readings are recommended for those with an interest in the topic.
*Atack and Passell: introduction and chapter 1
Donald McCloskey, "Does the Past Have Useful Economics?" Journal of Economic Literature (June 1976): 434-61.
2.Colonial Society and the Colonial Economy
*Atack and Passell: chapter 2
Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft, Harvard University Press, 1974.
David Galenson, "Immigration and the Colonial Labor Supply," Explorations in Economic History (October 1977): 360-77.
3.Causes and Consequences of the American Revolution
*Atack and Passell: chapter 3
Winifred Rothenberg, From Market-Places to a Market Economy: the Transformation of Rural Massachusetts 1750-1850, University of Chicago Press, 1992.
4.Trade, Commerce, and Economic Growth Before the Civil War
*Atack and Passell: chapters 5, 7, and 8
Paul David, "Learning by Doing and Tariff Protection: A Reconsideration of the Case of the Antebellum United States Cotton Textile Industry," Journal of Economic History (September 1970): 521-601.
5.Land Policy, Westward Expansion, and the Transportation Revolution
*Atack and Passell: chapters 6 and 9
Robert Fogel, Railroads and American Economic Growth, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1964.
George Taylor, The Transportation Revolution 1815-1860, Rinehart, 1951.
6.Antebellum Banking and Economic Crisis
*Atack and Passell: chapter 4
Peter Temin, "The Economic Consequences of the Bank War," Journal of Political Economy (March 1968): 257-74.
Marie Sushka, "The Antebellum Money Market and the Economic Impact of the Bank War," Journal of Economic History (December 1976): 809-35.
7.Agriculture in the North
*Atack and Passell: chapter 10
Clarence Danhof, "Farm-Making Costs and the Safety-Valve: 1850-60," Journal of Political Economy (1941): 317-59.
Atack and Fred Bateman, To Their Own Soil: American Agriculture in the Antebellum North, Iowa State University Press, 1986.
8.Slavery and Southern Development
*Atack and Passell: chapters 11 and 12
Charles Ramsdell, "The Natural Limits of Slavery Expansion," Mississippi Valley Historical Review (September 1929): 151-71.
Alfred Conrad and John Meyer, "The Economics of Slavery in the Antebellum South," Journal of Political Economy (April 1958): 95-130.
Robert Fogel and Stanley Engerman, Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery, Little Brown, 1974.
Paul David, Herbert Gutman, Richard Sutch, and Gavin Wright, Reckoning with Slavery, Oxford University Press, 1976.
Fred Bateman and Thomas Weiss, A Deplorable Scarcity: The Failure of Industrialization in the Slave Economy, University of North Carolina Press, 1981.
9.The Economic Impact of the Civil War
*Atack and Passell: chapter 13
Thomas Cochran, "Did the Civil War Retard Industrialization?" Mississippi Valley Historical Review (September 1961): 197-210.
Stanley Engerman, "The Economic Impact of the Civil War," Explorations in Entrepreneurial History (Spring 1966): 176-99.
Patrick O'Brien, The Economic Effects of the American Civil War, Humanities Press, 1988.
10.Reconstruction and the Postbellum Economy
*Atack and Passell: chapters 14 and 15
Anne Mayhew, "A Reappraisal of the Causes of Farm Protests in the United States, 1870-1900," Journal of Economic History (June 1972): 464-75.
Hugh Rockoff, "The 'Wizard of Oz' as a Monetary Allegory," Journal of Political Economy (August 1990): 739-60.
11.Industrialization, Immigration, and Urbanization
*Atack and Passell: chapters 16 and 19
Atack and Fred Bateman, "How Long was the Workday in 1880?" Journal of Economic History (March 1992): 129-60.
Larry Neal and Paul Uselding, "Immigration, A Neglected Source of American Economic Growth: 1790 to 1912," Oxford Economic Papers (March 1972): 68-88.
12.The Structure of American Industry
*Atack and Passell: chapters 17 and 18
Thomas Ulen, "The Market for Regulation: The ICC from 1887 to 1920," American Economic Review (May 1980): 306-10.
Atack, "Industrial Structure and the Emergence of the Modern Industrial Corporation," Explorations in Economic History (January 1985): 29-52.
13.Transition and World War
*Atack and Passell: chapter 20
Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Harcourt Brace, 1919.
14.A Return to "Normalcy" or Prelude to Disaster: the 1920s
*Atack and Passell: chapter 21
David Wheelock, "Government Policy and Banking Market Structure in the 1920s," Journal of Economic History (December 1993): 857-79.
Lee Alston, Wayne Grove, and David Wheelock, "Why Do Banks Fail? Evidence from the 1920s," Explorations in Economic History (October 1994): 409-31.
Martha Olney, Buy Now Pay Later: Advertising, Credit, and Consumer Durables in the 1920s, University of North Carolina Press, 1991.
15.The Great Depression
*Atack and Passell: chapters 21 and 22
E. Cary Brown, "Fiscal Policy in the 1930s," American Economic Review (December 1956): 857-79.
Gavin Wright, "The Political Economy of New Deal Spending: An Econometric Analysis," Review of Economics and Statistics (February 1974): 30-38.
Peter Temin, Did Monetary Forces Cause the Great Depression? W. W. Norton, 1976.
Charles Calomiris, "Financial Factors in the Great Depression," Journal of Economic Perspectives (Spring 1993): 61-85.
William Sundstrom, "Last Hired, First Fired? Unemployment and Urban Black Workers during the Great Depression," Journal of Economic History (June 1992): 415-29.
J. R. Vernon, "World War II Fiscal Policies and the End of the Great Depression," Journal of Economic History (December 1994): 850-68.
16.The Modern Mixed Economy
*Atack and Passell: chapter 23
Peter Lindert, "The Rise of Social Spending, 1880-1930," Explorations in Economic History (January 1994): 1-37.
Juliet Schor, The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline in Leisure, Basic Books, 1991.
Studs Terkel, American Dreams: lost and found, Pantheon, 1980.