Readings on the history of capitalism

Selective, mainly post-1970s, and overly U.S.-centric, but these at least provide a starting point. See also the readings on corporations. For decades "corporation" has been used in the U.S. literature as a catch-all for "large firm," regardless whether actually incorporated. Studies that deal specifically with the corporation as a distinctive legal form or with the incorporation process are in the readings on corporations, though the dividing line is at times indistinct. The readings are organized chronologically and will be updated now and then (see Latest Additions below); last revised 27-Aug-2013 11:15.


Latest additions

Waterhouse, Benjamin C. "Mobilizing for the Market: Organized Business, Wage-Price Controls, and the Politics of Inflation, 1971-1974." Journal of American History 100, no. 2 (2013): 454-478.

Reference works

Whaples, Robert, ed. EH.Net Encyclopedia of Economic and Business History.

Books, journal articles, essays

Wilkins, Mira. The Emergence of Multinational Enterprise: American Business Abroad from the Colonial Era to 1914. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1970.

Wilkins, Mira. The Maturing of Multinational Enterprise American Business Abroad from 1914 to 1970. Harvard Studies in Business History 27. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1974.

Marglin, Stephen A. "What Do Bosses Do? The Origins and Functions of Hierarchy in Capitalist Production." In The Division of Labour: The Labour Process and Class-Struggle in Modern Capitalism, edited by Andr? Gorz, 13-54. Atlantic Highlands, N.J: Humanities Press, 1976.

Chandler, Alfred D., Jr. The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business. Cambridge, Mass., and London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1977.

Smith, Merritt Roe. Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology: The Challenge of Change. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1977.

Cottrell, P. L. Industrial Finance, 1830-1914: The Finance and Organization of English Manufacturing Industry. London and New York: Methuen, 1979.

Chused, Richard H. "Married Women's Property Law: 1800-1850." Georgetown Law Journal 71, no. 5 (June 1983): 1359-1426.

Licht, Walter. Working for the Railroads: The Organization of Work in the Nineteenth Century. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983.

Aitken, Hugh G. J. Scientific Management in Action: Taylorism at Watertown Arsenal, 1908-1915. 1960; reprint, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.

Chused, Richard H. "Late Nineteenth Century Married Women's Property Law: Reception of the Early Married Women's Property Acts by Courts and Legislatures." American Journal of Legal History 29, no. 1 (1985): 3-35.

Hounshell, David A. From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932: The Development of Manufacturing Technology in the United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985.

Lamoreaux, Naomi. The Great Merger Movement in American Business, 1895-1904. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Landes, David S. "What Do Bosses Really Do?" Journal of Economic History 46, no. 3 (September 1986): 585-623.

Salmon, Marylynn. Women and the Law of Property in Early America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1986.

Dubofsky, Melvyn. "Technological Change and American Worker Movements, 1870-1970." In Technology, the Economy, and Society: The American Experience, edited by Joel Colton and Stuart Bruchey, 162-185. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987.

Hounshell, David A., and John K. Smith. Science and Corporate Strategy: Du Pont R&D, 1902-1980. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Michie, Ranald. “Different in Name Only?  The London Stock Exchange and Foreign Bourses, c.1850-1914.” Business History 30, no. 1 (January 1988): 46-68.

Scranton, Philip. Figured Tapestry: Production, Markets, and Power in Philadelphia Textiles, 1885-1941. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Strasser, Susan. Satisfaction Guaranteed: The Making of the American Mass Market. New York: Pantheon Books, 1989. Also reprint ed., Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995.

Tadman, Michael. Speculators and Slaves: Masters, Traders, and Slaves in the Old South. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.

Wilkins, Mira. The History of Foreign Investment in the United States to 1914. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989.

Chandler, Alfred D. Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1990.

Cohen, Lizabeth. Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Nye, David E. Electrifying America: Social Meanings of a New Technology, 1880-1940. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990.

Schweninger, Loren. Black Property Owners in the South, 1790-1915. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990.

Zunz, Olivier. Making America Corporate, 1870-1920. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Jacoby, Sanford M., ed. Masters to Managers: Historical and Comparative Perspectives on American Employers. New York: Columbia University Press, c1991.

Steinfeld, Robert J. The Invention of Free Labor: The Employment Relation in English and American Law and Culture, 1350-1870. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991.

Freyer, Tony Allan. Regulating Big Business: Antitrust in Great Britain and America, 1880 to 1990. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Krause, Paul. The Battle for Homestead, 1880-1892: Politics, Culture, and Steel. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.

Crowley, John E. The Privileges of Independence: Neomercantilism and the American Revolution. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

Lichtenstein, Nelson, and Howell John Harris, eds. Industrial Democracy in America: The Ambiguous Promise. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1993.

Smith, George David, and Richard Sylla. "The Transformation of Financial Capitalism: An Essay on the History of American Capital Markets." Financial Markets, Institutions & Instruments 2, no. 2 (May 1993): 1-62.

West, Carroll Van. Capitalism on the Frontier: Billings and the Yellowstone Valley in the Nineteenth Century. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.

Dunlavy, Colleen A. Politics and Industrialization: Early Railroads in the United States and Prussia. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.

Dunlavy, Colleen A. "Why Did American Business Get So Big?" Audacity 2, no. 3 (Spring 1994): 42-49. Excerpted in Major Problems in American Business History. Edited by Regina Blaszczyk and Philip Scranton. New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 2006. pp. 257-263.

Lamoreaux, Naomi. Insider Lending: Banks, Personal Connections, and Economic Development in Industrial New England. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

McGaw, Judith A., ed. Making and Doing Things from the Colonial Era to 1850. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.

Smith, Merritt Roe, and Leo Marx, eds. Does Technology Drive History?: The Dilemma of Technological Determinism. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1994.

Misa, Thomas J. A Nation of Steel: The Making of Modern America, 1865-1925. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

Novak, William J. The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century America. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

Bussel, Robert. "'Business without a Boss': The Columbia Conserve Company and Workers' Control, 1917-1943." Business History Review 71 (1997): 417-443.

Scranton, Philip. Endless Novelty: Specialty Production and American Industrialization, 1865-1925. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998.

Laird, Pamela Walker. Advertising Progress: American Business and the Rise of Consumer Marketing. Studies in Industry and Society. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

Nye, David E. Consuming Power: A Social History of American Energies. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998.

Rodgers, Daniel T. Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998.

Stanley, Amy Dru. From Bondage to Contract: Wage Labor, Marriage, and the Market in the Age of Slave Emancipation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Woeste, Victoria Saker. The Farmer's Benevolent Trust: Law and Agricultural Cooperation in Industrial America, 1865-1945. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

Cowie, Jefferson. Capital Moves : RCA's Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999.

Bensel, Richard Franklin. The Political Economy of American Industrialization, 1877-1900. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

O'Sullivan, Mary. Contests for Corporate Control: Corporate Governance and Economic Performance in the United States and Germany. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Robertson, David Brian. Capital, Labor, and State: The Battle for American Labor Markets from the Civil War to the New Deal. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000.

Storrs, Landon R. Y. Civilizing Capitalism: The National Consumers' League, Women's Activism, and Labor Standards in the New Deal Era. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.

Balleisen, Edward J. Navigating Failure: Bankruptcy and Commercial Society in Antebellum America. Chapel Hill, N.C: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

Beckert, Sven. The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie, 1850-1896. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Boyd, William. "Making Meat: Science, Technology, and American Poultry Production." Technology and Culture 42, no. 4 (2001): 631-664.

Dunlavy, Colleen A. . "Bursting Through State Limits: Lessons from American Railroad History." In The State, Regulation, and the Economy: An Historical Perspective, 44-60. Edited by Lars Magnusson and Jan Ottosson. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2001.

Hall, Peter A., and David W. Soskice, eds. Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Greene, Jack P., Rosemary Brana-Shute, and Randy J. Sparks, eds. Money, Trade, and Power: The Evolution of Colonial South Carolina's Plantation Society. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001.

Steinfeld, Robert J. Coercion, Contract, and Free Labor in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Mandell, Nikki. The Corporation as Family: The Gendering of Corporate Welfare, 1890-1930. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Moss, David A. When All Else Fails: Government as the Ultimate Risk Manager. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002.

Veeser, Cyrus. A World Safe for Capitalism: Dollar Diplomacy and America's Rise to Global Power. Columbia Studies in Contemporary American History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.

Cohen, Lizabeth. A Consumer's Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America. New York: Knopf, 2003.

Gilman, Nils. Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

Huston, James L. Calculating the Value of the Union: Slavery, Property Rights, and the Economic Origins of the Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

Lamoreaux, Naomi R. "Rethinking the Transition to Capitalism in the Early American Northeast." Journal of American History 90, no. 2 (2003): 437-461.

Lerman, Nina E, Ruth Oldenziel, and Arwen Mohun, eds. Gender and Technology: A Reader. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

Rosen, Deborah A. "Women and Property across Colonial America: A Comparison of Legal Systems in New Mexico and New York." William and Mary Quarterly 60, no. 2. 3d ser. (April 2003): 355-381.

Rosenberg, Emily S. Financial Missionaries to the World: The Politics and Culture of Dollar Diplomacy, 1900-1930. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2003.

Adams, Sean P. Old Dominion, Industrial Commonwealth: Coal, Politics, and Economy in Antebellum America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.

Friedman, Walter A. Birth of a Salesman: The Transformation of Selling in America. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Fulcher, James. Capitalism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Gervais, Pierre. Les origines de la révolution industrielle aux États-Unis: Entre économie marchande et capitalisme industriel, 1800-1850. Paris: Éditions de l'EHESS, 2004.

Huston, James L. "Economic Landscapes Yet to Be Discovered: The Early American Republic and Historians' Unsubtle Adoption of Political Economy." Journal of the Early Republic 24 (Summer 2004): 219-231.

Johnson, Walter. "The Pedestal and the Veil: Rethinking the Capitalism/Slavery Question." Journal of the Early Republic 24, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 299-308.

Martin, Jonathan D. Divided Mastery: Slave Hiring in the American South. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Sinclair, Bruce, ed. Technology and the African-American Experience: Needs and Opportunities for Study. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004.

Wilkins, Mira. The History of Foreign Investment in the United States, 1914-1945. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Fear, Jeffrey R. Organizing Control: August Thyssen and the Construction of German Corporate Management. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005.

Sandage, Scott A. Born Losers: A History of Failure in America. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005.

Berghoff, Hartmut. "The End of Family Business? The Mittelstand and German Capitalism in Transition, 1949-2000." Business History Review 80, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 263-295.

Brick, Howard. Transcending Capitalism: Visions of a New Society in Modern American Thought. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006.

Edelson, S. Max. Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006.

Freyer, Tony Allan. Antitrust and Global Capitalism, 1930-2004. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Laird, Pamela Walker. Pull: Networking and Success Since Benjamin Franklin. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006.

Levinson, Marc. The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.

Lichtenstein, Nelson, ed. American Capitalism: Social Thought and Political Economy in the Twentieth Century. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.

McGovern, Charles. Sold American: Consumption and Citizenship, 1890-1945. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

Olegario, Rowena. A Culture of Credit: Embedding Trust and Transparency in American Business. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006.

Sparks, Edith. Capital Intentions: Female Proprietors in San Francisco, 1850-1920. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

Sylla, Richard, Jack W. Wilson and Robert E. Wright. "Integration of Trans-Atlantic Capital Markets, 1790-1845." Review of Finance 10, no. 4 (2006): 613-644.

Dunlavy, Colleen A, and Thomas Welskopp. "Peculiarities and Myths: Comparing U.S. and German Capitalism." Bulletin of the German Historical Institute no. 41 (Fall 2007): 33-64.

Bowles, Paul. Capitalism. A Short History of a Big Idea. Harlow, England: Pearson/Longman, 2007.

Fishback, Price et al. Government and the American Economy: a New History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Fohlin, Caroline. Finance Capitalism and Germany's Rise to Industrial Power. Studies in Macroeconomic History. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Hannah, Leslie. "The 'Divorce' of Ownership from Control from 1900 Onwards: Re-calibrating Imagined Global Trends." Business History 49, no. 4 (July 2007): 404-438.

Hoganson, Kristin L. Consumers' Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

McCraw, Thomas K. Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.

Mihm, Stephen. A Nation of Counterfeiters: Capitalists, Con Men and the Making of the United States. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007.

Postel, Charles. The Populist Vision. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Adams, Sean Patrick. "Warming the Poor and Growing Consumers: Fuel Philanthropy in the Early Republic's Urban North." Journal of American History 95, no. 1 (June 2008): 69-94.

Eichengreen, Barry. Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System. 2nd ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.

Hämäläinen, Pekka. The Comanche Empire. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008.

Hamilton, Shane. Trucking Country: The Road to America's Wal-Mart Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.

Novak, William J. "The Myth of the 'Weak' American State." American Historical Review 113, no. 3 (2008): 752-772.

Poovey, Mary. Genres of the Credit Economy: Mediating Value in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain. Chicago and London: University Of Chicago Press, 2008.

Sewell, Jr., William H. "The Temporalities of Capitalism." Socio-Economic Review 6 (2008): 517-537.

Berghoff, Hartmut. "Civilizing Capitalism? The Beginnings of Credit Rating in the United States and Germany." Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 45 (Fall 2009): 9-28.

Glickman, Lawrence B. Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Hancké, Bob, ed. Debating Varieties of Capitalism: A Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Lichtenstein, Nelson. The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2009.

Majewski, John D. Modernizing a Slave Economy: The Economic Vision of the Confederate Nation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

Moreton, Bethany. To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2009.

Phillips-Fein, Kim. Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade against the New Deal. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2009.

Rockman, Seth. Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.

Sleeper-Smith, Susan. Rethinking the Fur Trade: Cultures of Exchange in an Atlantic World. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009.

Steger, Manfred. Globalization: A Very Short Introduction. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Waldstreicher, David. Slavery's Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification. New York: Hill and Wang, 2009.

Walker, Juliet E. K. The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship. 2nd ed. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

Appleby, Joyce. The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010.

Berghahn, V. R. "Varieties of Capitalism in the 'American Century'." Business History Review 84, no. 4 (Winter 2010): 661-663.

Carlos, Ann M. and Frank D. Lewis. Commerce by a Frozen Sea: Native Americans and the European Fur Trade. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.

Deutsch, Tracey. Building a Housewife's Paradise: Gender, Politics, and American Grocery Stores in the Twentieth Century. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

Fichter, James R. So Great a Proffit: How the East Indies Trade Transformed Anglo-American Capitalism. Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press, 2010.

John, Richard R. Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010.

Johnson, Benjamin Heber, and Andrew R. Graybill, eds. Bridging National Borders in North America: Transnational and Comparative Histories. Durham [N.C.]: Duke University Press, 2010.

Larson, John Lauritz. The Market Revolution in America: Liberty, Ambition, and the Eclipse of the Common Good. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Reynolds, Susan. Before Eminent Domain: Toward a History of Expropriation of Land for the Common Good. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

Steger, Manfred B. and Ravi K. Roy. Neoliberalism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

Banner, Stuart. American Property: A History of How, Why, and What We Own. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011.

Frank, Caroline. Objectifying China, Imagining America: Chinese Commodities in Early America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Hyde, Anne F. Empires, Nations, and Families: A New History of the North American West, 1800-1860. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011.

Hyman, Louis. Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011.

Irwin, Douglas A., and Richard Sylla, eds. Founding Choices: American Economic Policy in the 1790s. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Morser, Eric J. Hinterland Dreams: The Political Economy of a Midwestern City. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.

Ott, Julia C. When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest for an Investors' Democracy. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011.

Rodgers, Daniel T. Age of Fracture. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011.

White, Richard. Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2011.

Yates, Joshua J., and James Davison Hunter, eds. Thrift and Thriving in America: Capitalism and Moral Order from the Puritans to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Gervais, Pierre. "Crédit et filières marchandes aux XIIIE siècle." Annales. Histoire, Science sociales 67 (December 2012): 1011-1048.

Greer, Allan. "Commons and Enclosure in the Colonization of North America." American Historical Review 117, no. 2 (2012): 365-386.

Jones, Daniel Stedman. Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.

Levy, Jonathan. Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012.

McCraw, Thomas K. The Founders and Finance: How Hamilton, Gallatin, and Other Immigrants Forged a New Economy. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012.

Nelson, Scott Reynolds. A Nation of Deadbeats: An Uncommon History of America's Financial Disasters. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012.

Phillips-Fein, Kim and Julian E. Zelizer. What's Good for Business: Business and American Politics since World War II. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Taylor, Timothy D. The Sounds of Capitalism: Advertising, Music, and the Conquest of Culture. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2012.

Zakim, Michael, and Gary J. Kornblith, eds. Capitalism Takes Command: The Social Transformation of Nineteenth-Century America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.

Johnson, Walter. River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013.

Nye, David E. America's Assembly Line. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2013.

Pak, Susie J. Gentlemen Bankers: The World of J. P. Morgan. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2013.

Riello, Giorgio. Cotton: The Fabric that Made the Modern World. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.