HIST - 207

American Economic History

Who Are You?
• • • • • Name Major Hometown Favorite band Favorite historical book or movie



Typical Class Format
• • • • • • Two lectures, 60-75 minutes One group assignment, 30 minutes One quiz, 20 minutes Writing workshop, 15 minutes Two-15 minute breaks Video presentation, 30-60 minutes

How to Succeed in this Class
• Read the assigned readings • Attend class faithfully • Ask questions • Take notes • Participate in discussions

How to Struggle in this Class
• Do not read the assigned readings • Skip class • Leave class early • Ask no questions • Sleep in class • Fail to take notes • Do not complete assignments

Why Study History?
• • • • • I need it to graduate My advisor would not take a bribe Everything else was filled To learn lessons from the past To understand how we got to where we are

What, Exactly, Is History?
• A bunch of dates and dead people • A class for catching up on my sleep • All that is remembered of the past and written down • The branch of knowledge that records and researches past events • An agreed-upon set of lies

Political History
•Concerned with political events and rulers •Focuses on nationstates and empires •Views political leaders as primary agents of change

Military History
• Studies wars and conflicts • Focuses on war as an agent of historical change • Can examine small details (such as battles) or larger issues (such as entire wars)

Social History
• Examines social trends in history • Sometimes known as “history from below,” as it focuses on everyday people

Material History
• Examines the history of a particular item or product • Uses this knowledge to expand understanding of in a historical era

Epidemiological History
• Studies epidemics and their effect on society • Combines history and medicine to interpret historical epidemics and how history is shaped by disease

Economic History
• Studying the role of economics in history • Examines the relationship between economic systems and social/political life • Concerned with money, business, labor, and the role of government in the economy


Writing Workshop

The Importance of Outlining
• • • • • • The outline as a road map Helps you stay organized A logical description of your paper A way to visualize your paper Shows relationships between ideas Lets you think about the essay before you actually begin writing

There – Their – They’re
• There – direction: “My car is over there.” • Their – possession: “Their dog is eating my cat.” • They’re – contraction (they are): “They’re grilling steaks on the barbecue tonight.”

It’s - Its
• It’s – (“it is”) – “It’s hot outside today.” • Its - (possessive pronoun) – “The dog is chewing on its bone.”

Date Notation
• AD, BC – “Anno Domini,” “Before Christ” • CE, BCE – “Common Era,” “Before Common Era”

Your Writing Environment
• Quiet place (music – yes or no?) • Free from distractions • No interruptions (phone, email, text messages) • Comfortable, upright chair • Proper lighting • Tell family/roommates when you are writing • Dedicated writing area as a work space

Quiz 1

Group Assignment
• • • • Assemble in groups Designate a writer/presenter Read the primary source document Discuss in the group the questions on the prompt • Share with the class your group’s findings


• Medium of exchange • Standard of value • Store of wealth • Use of money-like objects has been a feature of human interaction for at least 100,000 years

• The exchange of goods or services for other goods and services • No medium of exchange used • Oldest form of economic activity • Still used when currency is unavailable, or when consumers wish to trade excess goods without using up valuable capital

• Socioeconomic system based on mutual obligations • The term was coined in the modern era • Based on lord-vassal relationships

Mutual feudal obligations
• Vassals pledge fealty to lords • Lords allow vassals use of land (fief) • Vassals owe lords tribute and service • Lords owe vassals protection

• Also known as Seignurialism • Lord controlled land as monarch saw fit • Peasants generally not free to leave land • Peasants paid lords with service (corvée ), a portion of the crops, or cash • Lords provided protection from invading armies and roaming criminal gangs

• Peasants tied to land • Needed lord’s permission to travel or relocate • Sometimes needed lord’s permission to marry • A sort of modified slavery • Serf worked lands for lord as well as himself

• Belief that a nation’s wealth is best measured by its supply of capital • Also believing that global trade is finite, therefore “get a bigger slice of pie” to increase national wealth • Government policies that encourage exports and inhibit imports

• Related to mercantilism • Wealth of a nation is best measured by the amount of gold and silver bullion it holds • Proponents believed gold and silver were of such rarity and in such demand that the value would remain relatively unchanged

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