Capitalism Takes Command: The Social Transformation of Nineteenth-Century America

Paperback | February 1, 2012

EditorMichael Zakim

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Most scholarship on nineteenth-century America’s transformation into a market society has focused on consumption, romanticized visions of workers, and analysis of firms and factories. Building on but moving past these studies, Capitalism Takes Command presents a history of family farming, general incorporation laws, mortgage payments, inheritance practices, office systems, and risk management—an inventory of the means by which capitalism became America’s new revolutionary tradition.

This multidisciplinary collection of essays argues not only that capitalism reached far beyond the purview of the economy, but also that the revolution was not confined to the destruction of an agrarian past. As business ceaselessly revised its own practices, a new demographic of private bankers, insurance brokers, investors in securities, and start-up manufacturers, among many others, assumed center stage, displacing older elites and forms of property. Explaining how capital became an “ism” and how business became a political philosophy, Capitalism Takes Command brings the economy back into American social and cultural history.

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Most scholarship on nineteenth-century America’s transformation into a market society has focused on consumption, romanticized visions of workers, and analysis of firms and factories. Building on but moving past these studies, Capitalism Takes Command presents a history of family farming, general incorporation laws, mortgage payments, ...

Michael Zakim is associate professor of history at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of Ready-Made Democracy: A History of Men’s Dress in the American Republic, 1760–1860, also published by the University of Chicago Press. Gary J. Kornblith is professor of history at Oberlin College and the author of Slavery and Sectional Strife in...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:February 1, 2012Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226451100

ISBN - 13:9780226451107

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Table of Contents

Editors’ Acknowledgments
Introduction An American Revolutionary Tradition
Michael Zakim and Gary J. Kornblith

1 The Agrarian Context of American Capitalist Development
Christopher Clark

2 The Mortgage Worked the Hardest: The Fate of Landed Independence in Nineteenth-Century America
Jonathan Levy

3 Toxic Debt, Liar Loans, Collateralized and Securitized Human Beings, and the Panic of 1837
Edward E. Baptist

4 Inheriting Property and Debt: From Family Security to Corporate Accumulation
Elizabeth Blackmar

5 Slave Breeding and Free Love: An Antebellum Argument over Slavery, Capitalism, and Personhood
Amy Dru Stanley

6 Capitalism and the Rise of the Corporation Nation
Robert E. Wright

7 Capitalist Aesthetics: Americans Look at the London and Liverpool Docks
Tamara Plakins Thornton

8 William Leggett and the Melodrama of the Market
Jeffrey Sklansky

9 Producing Capitalism: The Clerk at Work
Michael Zakim

10 Soulless Monsters and Iron Horses: The Civil War, Institutional Change, and American Capitalism
Sean Patrick Adams

Afterword Anonymous History
Jean-Christophe Agnew

Contributors 
Index