America Compared: Business and labor in the industrial agePresentation Transcript
Summer Clark America Compared: Business and Labor in the Industrial Age
Although the Industrial Revolution came to America later than to Great Britain, it swept through the American economy in little more than a generation. America's surge to industrial might was aided by its abundant natural resources, investment capital from Europe, the cheap labor of immigrants, and a huge domestic market swelled by city dwellers' demands for consumer goods. By the end of the century, a few dozen companies controlled their indistries nationwide and employed thousands of workers in their sprawling bureaucracies. General incorporation laws made it easy to form big firms, and national governments allowed mergers and other business combinations to proceed without much intervention. Rise of Big Business
One special benefit of a comparative approach to American history is its ability to reveal absences that require explanation. Some participants in the debate on socialism in the United States have taken a simplistic stance affirming or denying American "exceptionalism", the idea that American history has been exempt from the ills that plague other countries. Others have relied on sweeping and essentially circular generalizations, such as the notion that a pro-capitalist consensus in America excludes the possibility of socialism. No Socialism in the U.S.