A200, History of American Capitalisms, Spring 2024

Prof. Konstantin Dierks

January 9


• Learning in a time of crises:  pandemic, climate change, inequality, anti-democracy, neo-fascism....

January 11
› student profile form  


• What Is a University and Why Are You Enrolled in One?
• What Is a Public University and Why Are You Enrolled in One?
• What Is a Research University and Why Are You Enrolled in One?
• Why Study the Humanities?
• Why Study History?

January 16
› response sheet 1 Reading Guide for Week 2


“Modest Declines in Positive Views of ‘Socialism’ and ‘Capitalism’ in U.S.”  Pew Research Center, September 19, 2022

“In Their Own Words: Behind Americans’ Views of ‘Socialism’ and ‘Capitalism’.”  Pew Research Center, October 7, 2019


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of a Single Story.”  TEDGlobal 2009, July 2009

January 18
› response sheet 2 Reading Guide for Week 2


Mitchell, Timothy.  “Economists and the Economy in the Twentieth Century.”  In The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences: Positivism and its Epistemological Others.  George Steinmetz, ed.  Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.  Pp. 126-141.


Peter McIndoe, “Birds aren’t real? How a conspiracy takes flight.”  TED2023, April 2023

January 23
› response sheet 3 Reading Guide for Week 3


Rockman, Seth.  “What Is Historical Reasoning?”  Brown University, August 2014.

January 25
› response sheet 4 Reading Guide for Week 3


Folbre, Nancy.  “The Unproductive Housewife: Her Evolution in Nineteenth Century Economic Thought.”  Signs 16 (1991): 463-484.

Documents and Images:

Buell, Abel.  A New and Correct Map of the United States of North America: Layd Down from the Latest Observations and Best Authorities Agreeable to the Peace of 1783.  New Haven: Abel Buell, 1784.

Benjamin, Asher.  The American Builder’s Companion, or, A New System of Architecture: Particularly Adapted to the Present Style of Building in the United States of America.  Boston: Etheridge and Bliss, 1806.

Downing, Andrew Jackson.  Cottage Residences; or, A Series of Designs for Rural Cottages and Cottage Villas, and their Gardens and Grounds. Adapted to North America.  New-York; London: Wiley and Putnam, 1842.

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, Lincoln City IN [1816-1830].

Wylie House Museum, Bloomington IN [1835].

The American Advertiser: Designed for the Cards and Advertisements of Mercantile and Manufacturing Establishments.  3rd ed.  New-York: Prall, Lewis, 1850.

Catalogue of W.M. McClure & Bro. Building Hardware and Tool Warehouse.  5th ed.  Philadelphia: 1854.

House Beautiful 1 (1896).

January 29
› response sheet 5 Reading Guide for Week 4


Saunt, Claudio.  “Financing Dispossession: Stocks, Bonds, and the Deportation of Native Peoples in the Antebellum United States.”  Journal of American History 106 (2019): 315-337.

Lee, Robert.  “Accounting for Conquest: The Price of the Louisiana Purchase of Indian Country.”  Journal of American History 103 (2017): 921–942.


Bethune, John.  A Map of that Part of Georgia Occupied by the Cherokee Indians, Taken from an Actual Survey Made During the Present Year 1831, in Pursuance of an Act of the General Assembly of the State: This Interesting Tract of Country Contains Four Millions Three Hundred & Sixty Six Thousand Five Hundred & Fifty Four Acres, Many Rich Gold Mines & Many Delightful Situations & Though in Some Parts Mountainous, Some of the Richest Land Belonging to the State.  Milledgeville GA: John Bethune, 1831.

U.S. Supreme Court, Johnson v. M’Intosh, 21 U.S. 543 (1823).

February 1
› response sheet 6 Reading Guide for Week 4

Timelines and Images:

February 6


› response sheet 7 Reading Guide for Week 5


Map Showing the Distribution of the Slave Population of the Southern States of the United States. Compiled from the Census of 1860.  Washington DC: Henry S. Graham, 1861.

Timelines and Images:

• “Slavery and the Slave Trade at the Nation’s Capital” (1846)
• New Orleans, the cotton trade, and slave markets
• “Journey of a Slave from the Plantation to the Battlefield” (ca. 1863).

February 8
› response sheet 8 Reading Guide for Week 5


Einhorn, Robin L.  “Slavery and the Politics of Taxation in the Early United States.”  Studies in American Political Development 14 (2000): 156-183.


“II. Tortures, by Iron Collars, Chains, Fetters, Handcuffs, &c.”  The Anti-Slavery Examiner, January 1, 1838.

Timelines and Images:

• “second slavery”
• the domestic slave trade and family separations
• whiteness, masculinity, and sadism
• financialization of slavery
• resistance and flight

February 13
› response sheet 9 Reading Guide for Week 6


Beckert, Sven.  Empire of Cotton: A Global History.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.  Ch. 5 (“Slavery Takes Command”).


Hammond, James Henry.  “Speech of Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina, On the Admission of Kansas, Under the Lecompton Constitution: Delivered in the Senate of the United States, March 4, 1858.”  1858.

February 15
› response sheet 10 Reading Guide for Week 6

Documents and Images:

Mann, Horace.  Report No. 12 of the Massachusetts School Board.  1848.

“Business Colleges.” Scientific American, December 18, 1880.

Crittenden’s Commercial College in Philadelphia (1844)

February 20
› response sheet 11 Reading Guide for Week 7


Mihm, Stephen.  “Accept No Imitations: The campaign against counterfeits, past and present.”  Common-Place.org 4:4 (July 2004).

Lepler, Jessica.  “Pictures of Panic: Constructing hard times in words and images.”  Common-Place.org 10:3 (April 2010).

Timelines and Images:

• Second Bank of the United States and state-chartered banks
• counterfeit bills and banknote reporters
• American Bank Note Company and banknote manufacturing
• Confederate “graybacks” and Union “greenbacks”

February 22


› response sheet 12 Reading Guide for Week 7

Timelines and Images:

• foreign coins as legal tender
• U.S. Congress, An Act Relating to Foreign Coins (1857)

February 27
› response sheet 13 Reading Guide for Week 8


Zakim, Michael.  “A Ready-Made Business: The Birth of the Clothing Industry in America.”  Business History Review 73 (1999): 61-90.

Timelines and Images:

• accounting entrepreneurs, books, schools
• accounting and the interchangeability of business
• clerks, handwriting, and a proliferation of ledgers

February 29
(Leap Day)
› response sheet 14 Reading Guide for Week 8


Gamber, Wendy.  “‘Reduced to Science’: Gender, Technology, and Power in the American Dressmaking Trade, 1860-1910.”  Technology and Culture 36 (1995): 455-482.

Timelines and Images:

• Genio Scott and ready-made tailoring
• Madame Demorest and the marketing and distribution of dress patterns

March 5
› response sheet 15 Reading Guide for Week 9


Shulman, Peter A.  “Ben Franklin’s Ghost: World Peace, American Slavery, and the Global Politics of Information before the Universal Postal Union.”  Journal of Global History 10 (2015): 212-234.


Lloyd, James T.  Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, and Disasters on the Western Waters.  Cincinnati: James T. Lloyd and Co., 1856.

Timelines and Images:

• canals
• railroads
• transatlantic steamships
• “A Steamboat Race on the Mississippi” (1859)
• U.S. Congress, steamboat acts (1838, 1852)

March 7
› response sheet 16 Reading Guide for Week 9


Channing, William E.  Self-Culture.  Boston: Dutton and Wentworth, 1838.

Freedley, Edwin T.  A Practical Treatise on Business, or How to Get, Save, Spend, Give, Lend, and Bequeath Money, with an Inquiry into the Chances of Success and Causes of Failure in Business.  Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, 1853, c1852.

Combe, George.  Outlines of Phrenology.  7th ed.  Boston: Marsh, Capen, and Lyon, 1838.

Timelines and Images:

• Elihu Burritt and ocean penny post
• American Colonization Society and the Ebony Line
• Lewis Tappan, the Mercantile Agency (1841), and financial doubles

March 11-15

Spring break — no class

March 19
› response sheet 17 Reading Guide for Week 11


Stillman, Sarah.  “Storm Chasers.”  New Yorker, November 8, 2021.

Osnos, Evan.  “The Floating World.”  New Yorker, July 25, 2022.

Cep, Casey.  “Damages.”  New Yorker, September 19, 2022.

Timelines and Images:

• anthracite region (Appalachia)
• Petrolia (Pennsylvania)

March 21
› response sheet 18 Reading Guide for Week 11


Black, Brian.  “Recasting the Unalterable Order of Nature: Photography and the First Oil Boom.”  Pennsylvania History 64 (1997): 275-299.


Nordhoff, Charles.  Whaling and Fishing.  New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1855.  Pp. 121-132.

“The Chincha Islands.”  The Working Farmer, March 1, 1854.  Pp. 17-19.

Timelines and Images:

• whale oil lamps
• kerosene lamps
• U.S. Congress, Guano Islands Act (1856)
• bison skulls and quests for fertilizer

March 26
› response sheet 19 Reading Guide for Week 12


Richardson, Heather Cox.  West From Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.  Chapter 2 (“1868-1871: Conflicting Visions”).


“Editorial and Miscellanies.”  DeBow’s Review, January 1866.  P. 109.

March 28


› response sheet 20 Reading Guide for Week 12

Timelines and Images:

• salt; root cellars
• Tudor Ice Company and the global ice trade
• Frigidaire and home refrigerators
• canning and Thomas Kensett
• tin can manufacturing and Edwin Norton
• can openers
• meat packing and the Union Stock Yards in Chicago
• Gustavus Swift and refrigerated boxcars

April 2
› response sheet 21 Reading Guide for Week 13


“Commerce and Commercial Character.”  The Merchants’ Magazine, and Commercial Review 4 (1841): 143-147.

Stimson, Henry.  “The Small Business as a School of Manhood.”  Atlantic Monthly 93 (1904): 337-340.

April 4
› response sheet 21b Reading Guide for Week 13

Wylie House Museum, 307 E. Second Street

April 8

2024 Total Solar Eclipse

April 9
› response sheet 22 Reading Guide for Week 14

Timelines and Images:

• states and general incorporation laws
• 1893 depression

April 11
› response sheet 23 Reading Guide for Week 14

Timelines and Images:

• sports culture
• intercollegiate sports and associations
• professional sports and leagues
• international competition

April 16
› response sheet 24 Reading Guide for Week 15


Hoganson, Kristin.  “Stuff It: Domestic Consumption and the Americanization of the World Paradigm.”  Diplomatic History 30 (2006): 571-594.

Timelines and Images:

• territorial expansion and statehood
• 1898 Spanish-American War, unincorporated territories, and the “Greater United States”
• 1890 Wounded Knee massacre
• 1899-1902 “Philippine-American War,” i.e., war against the Philippines
• 1898-1934 “Banana Wars” against Latin America
• 1907-1909 “Great White Fleet”
• Burroughs, Edgar Rice.  Tarzan of the Apes.  Published serially in All-Story Magazine 1912; published as a novel, Chicago: A.C. McClurg and Co., 1914.

April 18
› response sheet 25 Reading Guide for Week 15

Timelines and Images:

• Twain, Mark, and Warner, Charles Dudley.  The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.  Hartford: American Publishing Company, 1873.
• 1883 Vanderbilt costume ball
• 1880s-1890s political cartoons
• 1886 Liberty Enlightening the World
• Riis, Jacob A.  How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1890.
• Greenfield, Lauren.  “Generation Wealth” trailer.  2018.

April 23
› response sheet 26  
April 25

WRITING ASSIGNMENT #4 due by 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, April 30

May 6-10