The Blackford and Kerr chapter gives a good general overview of established
opinion on shifts in American business and economic history during the first
half of the nineteenth century. Licht's chapter gives more information on some
specific topics, and seeks to emphasize the continuing diversity of industrial
forms (pages 30-35 are particularly important in this respect).
- What are the most important shifts taking place in American business
between the Revolution and the Civil War? What is driving them? How do shifts
in transportation, agriculture and industry relate to each other -- are there
- What were the most important industries (defined broadly) during the
- How were businesses established, and who by? How were they run?
- What is distinctive about American industrialization, as opposed to the
processes taking place in Britain and other countries? Why?
- One thing the readings show is the difficulty of generalizing. But... what
shifts might a typical American worker experience during the period? How might
work in the mid-nineteenth century differ from work a hundred years later?
- Lowell was important historically, and historians have long looked to it
as a model for later large-scale American business. In what ways was it ahead
of its time? How do you think it was it different from later (say 1900s)
- One important point is the lack of "integration" in many industries (see
Blackford & Kerr, page 91). What does this mean? How is it different from
- Of all the sets of readings I will assign, this is the least concerned
with information. What kinds of information were important to businesses of
this era? Why could these firms function without elaborate managerial or
|Key characteristics of American businesses in the first half of the 19th
century: Size, industries, reliance on partnerships, relationship of managers
to workers, etc.|
|Lowell, Lynn and Philadelphia/NYC diversified manufacturing as alternative
forms of industrialization. Make sure you know the characteristics of each --
physical organization of work, stages of historical development, sources of
funding, products produced, etc.|