Ohio Canal Era: A Case Study of Government and the Economy, 1820-1861 by Harry N. ScheiberOhio Canal Era: A Case Study of Government and the Economy, 1820-1861 by Harry N. Scheiber

Ohio Canal Era: A Case Study of Government and the Economy, 1820-1861

byHarry N. Scheiber

Paperback | February 7, 2012

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Ohio Canal Era, a rich analysis of state policies and their impact in directing economic change, is a classic on the subject of the pre–Civil War transportation revolution. This edition contains a new foreword by scholar Lawrence M. Friedman and a bibliographic note by the author.

Professor Scheiber explores how Ohio—as a “public enterprise state,” creating state agencies and mobilizing public resources for transport innovation and control—led in the process of economic change before the Civil War. No other historical account of the period provides so full and insightful a portrayal of “law in action.” Scheiber reveals the important roles of American nineteenth- century government in economic policy-making, finance, administration, and entrepreneurial activities in support of economic development.

His study is equally important as an economic history. Scheiber provides a full account of waves of technological innovation and of the transformation of Ohio’s commerce, agriculture, and industrialization in an era of hectic economic change. And he tells the intriguing story of how the earliest railroads of the Old Northwest were built and financed, finally confronting the state- owned canal system with a devastating competitive challenge.

Amid the current debate surrounding “privatization,” “deregulation,” and the appropriate use of “industrial policy” by government to shape and channel the economy. Scheiber’s landmark study gives vital historical context to issues of privatization and deregulation that we confront in new forms today.  


Harry N. Scheiber is the Riesenfeld Chair Professor of Law and History in the School of Law, University of California, Berkeley. Among his previous publications are The State and Freedom of Contract; Inter-Allied Conflicts and the Origins of Modern Ocean Law; American Law and the Constitutional Order; and some 150 articles in jour...
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Title:Ohio Canal Era: A Case Study of Government and the Economy, 1820-1861Format:PaperbackDimensions:460 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 1.4 inPublished:February 7, 2012Publisher:Ohio University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:082141979X

ISBN - 13:9780821419793

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“A monumental and still definitive study of law and the economy in an American state.”
— Lawrence M. Friedman, Stanford Law School