Economic Culture in Early America
This weekly discussion-based colloquium, open to advanced undergraduate and graduate students, examines economic life in colonial and Revolutionary America. Our readings will features works of history that describe economic behaviors and, at the same time, interpret production, trade, and consumption in cultural terms. Our “textbook” for the course will be John J. McCusker and Russell R. Menard’s The Economy of British America, 1607-1789 supplemented by articles and chapters that place British American economic life in a transatlantic and global context. In addition to books and articles about "farm building" in early Maryland, agricultural technology in the Carolina Lowcountry, the commercial innovations of London and Philadelphia merchants, the slave trade, economic ideas in Puritan New England, the Caribbean sugar economy, the organization of the wine and fish trades, the business of piracy and privateering, and other topics, we will discuss recently published works on the relationships between slavery and capitalism that will extend our focus into the nineteenth century. Assignments include book reviews and a document interpretation report that makes use of a new digital resource, the Colonial America database.