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Course Syllabus
 

ECON 213                                      Gene Dallaire, (517) 487-1275
U.S. ECONOMIC/BUSINESS HISTORY       Section 1: Time: Mon., Wed: 9:40 - 11:00 am
                                                     Section 2: Time: Tues 6:10 - 9:00 pm
Social Science Department                Place: Old Central, Room 204
Lansing Community College               Office hrs: Mon/Wed: 11 to noon
Spring 2002 Semester                        -- and by appointment.
 
 

COURSE OBJECTIVES AND DESCRIPTION

      The aim of this course is to provide the undergraduate student with a
thorough introduction to American economic and business history, from the time
of the European Age of Exploration (1440-1600) and of the first English
settlements in the early 17th century down to the present. We will place
particular emphasis on developments in the 18th and 19th centuries, for it was
during that seminal period that the political and economic foundations of
modern America were constructed. Only by understanding why and how those
foundations came into being will the student be able to understand today's
business world.
 

      þ OBJECTIVE # 1: We will examine numerous important developments in
American economic history --

      The world historical background to U.S. economic history; the economic
activities of the early colonists, including agriculture, early manufacturing
(shipbuilding, naval stores, iron ore mining and pig iron production, grist
mills and saw mills, etc.), and the birth of international trade and commerce;
the birth, growth, and maturation of the major sectors of the American
economy, including agriculture, manufacturing, mining, international and
domestic trade and commerce, transportation (highways, steamboats, canals,
railroads, air, interstate highways, containership revolution), banking,
government, service industries, and other important sectors of the economy;
the rise of indentured servitude and of slavery; mercantilism vs. free trade;
the major causes of the American Revolution, stressing economic factors; the
most pressing economic, commercial, and financial problems facing America in
the crucial 1780s and the establishment of a strong national government under
the U.S. Constitution in 1789 as a response to those problems; the battle
between the Hamiltonian commercialists/industrialists vs. the Jeffersonian
agriculturalists; the struggles over a national bank.

      The invention of the cotton gin; the rise of King Cotton as the dominant
economic activity in the American South; the spread of slavery westward; the
rise of steamboats; the early industrial revolution in the New England textile
industry; the canal building era; President Jackson and the battle over
rechartering of the Second Bank of the U.S.; the rise of the railroads; the
transportation, market, industrial, and banking revolutions; the Mexican War,
California Gold Rush, and U.S. westward expansion; the economic causes and
consequences of the Civil War; economic aspects of post-Civil War
reconstruction; the rise of the steel, petroleum, and chemical industries; the
cattle barons and the rise of mining in the American West; the birth of the

ECON 213 SYLLABUS, U.S. ECONOMIC/BUSINESS HISTORY, PAGE TWO OF NINE

telegraph industry; J.P. Morgan and the role of investment bankers; Edison and
Tesla and the rise of the electric power industry; the Populist movement; the
rise of giant corporations; immigration; the Progressive Era, including
efforts to regulate business; the First and Second World Wars, their financing
and their economic consequences; the causes of the Great Depression beginning
in 1929 and FDR's quasi-Keynesian New Deal recovery; the post-industrial
society; the rise of the computer industry and of the New Economy --  to name
many of the topics and issues we will be exploring.

      We will also discuss Michigan's fascinating economic history; for such
will provide an excellent window on 19th and 20th century American economic
history, the state having played a crucial national role in several important
industries, including:  farming, timber, lumber, and fishing; iron, copper,
and salt mining;  iron and steel production; shipbuilding and shipping on the
Great Lakes; railroad-car construction; cast-iron stove manufacture; carriage
making and automobile manufacture; furniture making and breakfast-cereal
pioneering; and major arsenal for mass producing tanks, aircraft, military
vehicles, and other war materiel during WWII.
 
 

      þ OBJECTIVE # 2: Another important aim of the course is to study the
lives, the biographies, of a few dozen giants of American economic history --

      Ben Franklin, Robert Morris, Alexander Hamilton, John Jacob Astor, Eli
Whitney, Cyrus McCormick, Andrew Carnegie, J. Pierpont Morgan, John D.
Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, Nicola Tesla, Henry Ford, and Bill Gates are among
the great entrepreneurs we will explore  -- dynamic individuals who pioneered
in a wide range of industries. The careful study of each entrepreneur's life
will provide a window on an important industry, and reveal the secrets of his
business success -- hopefully providing the student with an inspiring role
model.
 
 

      þ OBJECTIVE # 3: A final major aim is to examine 12 to 20 or more
specific American industries --

      We will discuss the birth, growth, maturation, and current status of
each industry. The industries examined will be drawn from across the spectrum
of the American economy, from manufacturing (e.g. textiles, apparel, paper,
printing & publishing, chemicals, petroleum refining, iron and steel,
machinery, electric power generation, automobile, aircraft, electronics,
computers), and mining (iron, copper, gold, coal, salt, petroleum
exploration), and agriculture (commodity crops, cattle & other livestock,
dairy) to the construction industries, transportation (railroads, trucking,
air transport, ocean transport), wholesale & retail trade, commercial banking,
investment banking, and services industries.
 
 
 
 

ECON 213 SYLLABUS, U.S. ECONOMIC/BUSINESS HISTORY, PAGE THREE OF NINE
 

MAIN TEXT   [required]

      The main foundation text for the course is

            History of the American Economy, 8th Edition,
            by Gary M. Walton and Hugh Rockoff
            Dryden Press, Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1998.

      Students will be expected to study selected chapters in this book
carefully, absorbing and permanently remembering the most significant facts,
events, and ideas. Generally, we will attempt to cover about two chapters per
week from this text.
 

TWO PAPERBACK BIOGRAPHIES   [required]

      In addition to the main text, there are also two other required books:

            þ  Benjamin Franklin (with intro by Peter Shaw)
               The Autobiography and other writings,
               Bantam Books, New York (1982), 281 pp., $4.95.

            þ  Melosi, Martin V.
               Thomas A. Edison and the Modernization of America,
               Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., Reading, MA (1990), 221 pp.
 

      Franklin and Edison are two of the most fascinating characters in
American economic history. The business student can benefit greatly from
studying their lives and their approach to life, business, and other people.
You will be expected to read each of these short books carefully so that you
can participate meaningfully in class discussions, answer exam questions, and,
most importantly, carry away ideas, values, and attitudes of enduring value to
your business career.

      For extra credit, a student may choose to write a two-page review on
each of these two books that explicates the major themes.
 

COURSEPACK  [required]

      There is also a required coursepack entitled

      Greatest Entrepreneurs in the History of American Business,
      Hole in the Hall (2nd floor, Old Central), $14.
      If closed, go to the nearby Business Careers Dept Rm. 210.

      The aim of this coursepack is to make you an expert on the lives of some
major American entrepreneurs. My hope is that by memorizing the highlights of
their lives, you will have some inspiring role models to draw upon as you act
out your own business career.

 
ECON 213 SYLLABUS, U.S. ECONOMIC/BUSINESS HISTORY, PAGE FOUR OF NINE

      The coursepack is a collection of 22 short yet insightful and inspiring
biographies on the most dynamic movers and shakers in American business
history, among them: the Derby family, early New England seafaring merchants;
Stephen Girard, Philadelphia merchant and banker; John Jacob Astor, fur
trader, merchant, and real-estate investor; Eli Whitney, inventor of the
cotton gin and pioneer of standardization and interchangeability of parts; the
DuPonts, founders of the U.S. chemical industry; Francis Cabot Lowell, pioneer
of textile manufacturing and the industrial revolution in the U.S.; Cyrus
McCormick, farm-machinery inventor and capitalist; Cornelius Vanderbilt, James
J. Hill, Edward H. Harriman, major railroad-industry barons; Andrew Carnegie,
steel-manufacturing industrialist and philanthropist; John Davidson
Rockefeller, giant of the petroleum-refining industry; Jay Cooke and Andrew W.
Mellon, banking giants; Philip Danforth Armour, meat packer; James B. Duke,
tobacco-industry and electric-power magnate; Theodore N. Vail, founder of the
American Telephone & Telegraph Company; Frank W. Woolworth and John Wanamaker,
retailing entrepreneurs; William Randolph Hearst, publishing magnate; Marcus
Loew, pioneer of the motion-picture industry; Henry Ford, pioneer in mass-
production of automobiles; and Donald Douglas, aircraft-industry pioneer.
 
      This coursepack is for you to read and study on your own. That done,
choose the 12 bios of greatest interest to you from the 22 in the coursepack.
For each, please prepare a one-page sheet (typed single-spaced), summarizing
in telegram style the highlights of his life and business career. Please
divide each sheet into these headings:

      þ biographical highlights
      þ educational highlights
      þ most notable business achievements
      þ key reasons for his success
      þ main lessons learned for my own business career.

      Do this project to maximize benefit to yourself. Include those facts you
wish to permanently remember about an entrepreneur. Know each life intimately
from memory, as I will very likely give you an in-class quiz or oral on them
at semester's end.

      When are these one-page bios due?

      þ Four -- at end of February (first draft, all sheets stapled together)
      þ Four -- at end of March    (  "             "                    "  )
      þ Four -- at end of April    (  "             "                    "  )
 
      þ Final draft of all 12 -- due last day of semester.
        I'll grade only this stapled final-draft package -- not drafts above.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ECON 213 SYLLABUS, U.S. ECONOMIC/BUSINESS HISTORY, PAGE FIVE OF NINE
 

REVIEW OF TWO SCHOLARLY JOURNAL ARTICLES

      During the semester, you will select and read two scholarly journal
articles. For each article, you need to prepare a one-page summary (typed
single-spaced) highlighting the basic argument of the paper and important
subthemes.

      Bring enough copies of your two reviews to class to give one copy to
each classmate. I urge you to keep fellow-student reviews in a looseleaf
binder for future reference. Due April 15th.
 

EXAMS: TWO MID-TERMS AND A FINAL

      There will be two exams during the semester (each exam has two parts:
in-class part + take-home essays) and a final exam. If you should do poorly on
an exam (excluding the final) please see me to restudy and take a make-up
exam. In-class exams are closed book, closed notes, but you have unlimited
time.
 

GRADING

      The final grade will be determined this way:

            þ 2 mid-term exams + final .........  70 %
              (inclass + take-home parts)

            þ 2 journal reviews ................  10 %

            þ 12 coursepack bio summaries ......  12 %
 
            þ class participation ..............   8 %
            __________________________________________
                                         TOTAL   100 %
 
 

CLASS ATTENDANCE MOST IMPORTANT

      The student is expected to attend all classes and to remain for the
entire class session. For we will be covering much material in class not
covered anywhere in the assigned books. Also, the student is expected to
participate actively in class, asking numerous questions and contributing
his/her own observations, insights, and opinions on the issues discussed.

      A  student is permitted three cuts/semester. Students having additional
unauthorized cuts will likely lose from 0.5 to 2.0 points off their final
course grade. An attendance sheet will be passed around near the end of every
class session.
 

ECON 213 SYLLABUS, U.S. ECONOMIC/BUSINESS HISTORY, PAGE SIX OF NINE

CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE

      The usual standards for American college and university classrooms of
course apply in this LCC class: please be on time, but if late, come anyway --
rather than miss the entire class; remain for the full duration of the class;
no reading of newspapers or other materials once the class has begun; cell
phones off; full attention to the classroom discussion; etc.

      If I am talking too fast or not being sufficiently clear or have failed
to discuss aspects of the topic of interest to you, please tell me right then
and there so I can adjust my presentation. My aim is to help you to learn.

      Be active: ask questions; and contribute your insights and opinions on
relevant issues -- spoken in a direct yet diplomatic manner. I
enthusiastically welcome a wide range of ideas and opinions on the issues
being discussed -- whether from the left, center, or right of the political
spectrum -- as such will hopefully stimulate discussion and illuminate all.
 
 

GROUP STUDY STRONGLY ENCOURAGED

      Learning history requires discussing history with other students outside
the classroom - often. Such animated conversations are an important part of
your liberal education and college experience, enhancing your listening and
debating skills and opportunities to teach one another.

      To that end, the class will divide itself into study groups of 4-to-5
students each. But will your study group be worthwhile?  That depends solely
on your initiative -- and that of others in your self-selected group.

      But what should such a group do?  A few suggestions: meet informally
weekly over lunch or coffee to discuss assigned readings, exchange and discuss
class notes, watch and discuss assigned historical videos, study together for
exams, discuss take-home essay questions, or go on an extra-credit field trip
together, etc. Don't be a loner! Work to make your group into a meaningful
college experience!
 

KEYS TO DOING WELL IN THIS COURSE

(1) To attend all classes.

(2) To take excellent notes -- detailed and accurate. Study notes thoroughly,
until you have engraved into your permanent memory at least 90% of material
presented in class.

(3) To study assigned readings carefully.

(4) To ask many questions to insure all matters discussed are crystal clear to
you, are becoming part of your "common sense." I will never embarrass a
student for asking a basic question. I admire Einstein's attitude that nothing
ECON 213 SYLLABUS, U.S. ECONOMIC/BUSINESS HISTORY, PAGE SEVEN OF NINE
 

should be too obvious, that the person who is to achieve understanding must
constantly be asking basic questions about things.

(5) To discuss historical issues with classmates in your study group
frequently, to share class notes, knowledge, etc. Teach one another.

      To recap. Because exams will draw heavily on material presented in
class, it is important to attend all classes, to take good notes, to study
them thoroughly, and to borrow class notes from others if you miss a class or
if your notes are inadequate.
 

EXTRA-CREDIT PROJECTS
 
      Students especially intent on earning a 3.5 or 4.0 for the course are
strongly encouraged to take on some extra-credit projects. Some possibilities:

      þ Taking a field trip and writing a two-page report on it:

            þ Henry Ford Museum (Dearborn)
            þ State of Michigan Museum (Lansing)
            þ GM Tour (Lansing)

      þ Reading some additional books and/or journal articles, and writing a
        review.

      þ Writing a paper on the history of an industry of particular interest
        to you.

      Those interested in extra-credit projects should meet with me to discuss
matters by the fourth week of the semester.
 
 

OTHER

      Please keep all returned exams. On any submitted assignments, hand in
only the duplicate copy, retaining the original for yourself. In this way,
should any paperwork get misplaced, you can provide me with another copy.

      This syllabus is a general guide for the course -- not a set of
unalterable requirements. Accordingly, we may make some adjustments as the
semester progresses.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ECON 213 SYLLABUS, U.S. ECONOMIC/BUSINESS HISTORY, PAGE EIGHT OF NINE
 

SOME INSIGHTFUL BOOKS ON AMERICAN HISTORY AND AMERICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY
[Not required -- for additional background and/or for extra-credit projects]
 

BEST TEXTBOOK OVERVIEWS OF AMERICAN HISTORY   [not required]

Bailey, Thomas A. and David M. Kennedy. The American Pageant: A History of the
Republic, 8th Ed., Vols. I & II, D.C. Heath & Co., 1987.

Brinkley, Alan. American History: A Survey, 10th Ed, Vols. I & II. McGraw-Hill
College, 1999.

Faragher, John Mack, et al. Out of Many: A History of the American People, 2nd
Edition, Prentice-Hall, 1997

Krout, John A.and Arnold S. Rice. Harpercollins College Outline: United States
History to 1877, 8th ed. HarperPerennial, Div. of HarperCollins, 1991.

Krout, John A.and Arnold S. Rice. Harpercollins College Outline: United States
History from 1865, 20h ed. HarperPerennial, Div. of HarperCollins, 1991.

Norton, Mary Beth et al. A People and a Nation: A History of the United
States, 4th ed., Houghton Mifflin. 1994.

Roark, James L., et al. The American Promise: A History of the United States,
Bedford Books, Boston, 1998.
 
 
 
 

SOME INSIGHTFUL BOOKS ON AMERICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY   [not required]

Allen, Frederick Lewis. The Great Pierpont Morgan, Harper & Brothers, 1949.

Blackford, Mansel G. and K. Austin Kerr. Business Enterprise in American
History, 2nd Edition, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1990.

Galbraith, John Kenneth. The New Industrial State. 1967. Galbraith is a highly
influential and very readable American economist who has written several best-
selling books on the American economy, including: American Capitalism (1956);
The Affluent Society (1958); and The Great Crash 1929 (1988).

Hacker, Louis M. The Triumph of American Capitalism: The Development of Forces
in American History to the End of the 19th Century, Columbia University Press,
New York, 1947.
 
 
 
 

ECON 213 SYLLABUS, U.S. ECONOMIC/BUSINESS HISTORY, PAGE NINE OF NINE
 

SOME INSIGHTFUL BOOKS ON AMERICAN HISTORY AND AMERICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY
[con't]
 
 

SOME INSIGHTFUL BOOKS ON AMERICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY  [con't]

Heilbroner, Robert and Aaron Singer. The Economic Transformation of America:
1600 to Present, 4th ed., Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1999.

Josephson, Matthew. The Robber Barons: the Great American Capitalists,
1861-1901, Harcourt Brace (Harbrace), 1962.

Livesay, Harold C. Andrew Carnegie and the rise of big business,
2nd edition, edited by Oscar Handlin, Longman (2000), 228 pages.

Melosi, Martin V.  Thomas A. Edison and the Modernization of America, Longman,
an imprint of Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. 1990.

Niemi, Albert W. Jr. U.S. Economic History, 2nd Edition, University Press of
America, New York, 1980.

Puth, Robert C. American Economic History, 2nd Edition, Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, 1988.

Ratner, Sidney, James Soltow, and Richard Sylla. The Evolution of the American
Economy: Growth, Welfare, and Decision Making, 2nd ed., Macmillan Publishing,
1993.

Scheiber, Harry N., Harold G. Vatter, and Harold Underwood Faulkner. American
Economic History, [A comprehensive revision of the earlier work by Harold
Underwood Faulkner], Harper & Row, New York, 1976.

Walton, Gary M. and Ross M. Robertson. History of the American Economy, 5th
Edition, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1983
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

--------
Syllabus, Spring 2002, Edition # 1 [1/14/2002], sylecon1.S02
Subject to revision.