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American Economic History

American Economic History

8th Edition

Apr 2010, Hardback, 720 pages
ISBN13: 9780137037414
ISBN10: 0137037414
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America’s present economy, understood through its past.

Rich in both quantitative techniques and economic theory, American Economic History demonstrates how an understanding of our past can illuminate economic issues that face society today and in the future. In simple, elegant language, this text walks readers through four centuries of political, social, and economic history, focusing on laws and institutions and emphasizing current economic topics.

The eighth edition has been updated and revised, and includes expanded discussions on population, health, and labor; education; the automobile industry; income and taxes; social security; unemployment; regulation and the financial industry; and the history of economic recessions.

Part 1: The Colonial Period, 1607-1783

Chapter 1: Overseas Empire
Chapter 2: Colonial Development
Chapter 3: America on the Eve of Revolution
Chapter 4: Gaining Independence

Part 2: The National Period and Constitutional Crisis, 1783-1861

Chapter 5: Westward Expansion
Chapter 6: Population and Labor Force
Chapter 7: Law and the Rise of Classical American Capitalism
Chapter 8: Transportation: Internal Improvements and Urbanization
Chapter 9: Agricultural Expansion: The Conflict of Two Systems on the Land
Chapter 10: The Debate Over Slavery
Chapter 11: The Early Industrial Sector
Chapter 12: The Financial System and the International Economy

Part 3: The Rise of an Industrial Society, 1861-1914


Chapter 13: Economic Effects of the Civil War
Chapter 14: Railroads and Economic Development
Chapter 15: Post-Civil War Agriculture
Chapter 16: Population Growth and the Atlantic Migration
Chapter 17: Industrialization, Entrepreneurship, and Urban Growth
Chapter 18: Big Business and Government Intervention
Chapter 19: Financial Developments 1863-1914
Chapter 20: The Great Economy and Its International Relations
Chapter 21: Labor and the Law

Part 4: The Expansion of Federal Power, 1914-1945

Chapter 22: The Command Economy Emerges: World War I
Chapter 23: “Normalcy”: 1919-1929
Chapter 24: The Great Depression
Chapter 25: The New Deal
Chapter 26: The “Prosperity” of Wartime

Part 5: Brave New World? 1945–Present


Chapter 27: Before the New Frontier: The Postwar Economy
Chapter 28: Population, Health and Labor
Chapter 29: Postwar Industry and Agriculture
Chapter 30: To the New Millennium and Beyond
Chapter 31: Does Our Past Have a Future?


Follow a Logical Succession of Material and Events:

  • Chronological Approach. The chronological approach taken in Hughes/Cain gives students a sense of the evolution of events, and how the economic and historical changes have been intertwined throughout nearly four centuries of America’s development.
    • A timeline has also been included on the inside of the front cover of the book as a visual reference for students, helping to remind them of the sequence in which these events occurred.
  • Chronological Period Sections. To help students better understand the evolution of the American economy, this text is organized into five major time periods.
    • The Colonial Period: 1607-1783
    • The National Period: 1783-1861
    • The Civil War and Post-Civil War Period: 1861-1914
    • World War I to World War II Period: 1914-1945
    • The Post World War II Period: 1945-present
See the Significance: Important Terms Highlighted. Important economic terms are emphasized in the text in boldface type. These terms are defined as they are introduced to help students with a limited economics background readily grasp their significance in context. These terms also appear in the text’s Glossary for easy reference.

Take Learning One Step Further:
  • Suggested Readings. Hughes/Cain suggests additional, relevant readings for students who are interested in learning more and instructors looking for additional readings to use as assignments.
  • Additional Resources. Hughes/Cain encourages students to continue their learning experience by providing them with the opportunity to research the sources of the economic concepts and theories found in the text. By offering cited notes and articles from the five-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History, the Journal of Economic History and the Economic History Review, this text allows professors to direct interested students to the sources listed in the notes and suggested readings that accompany each chapter.