Pre-College Programs
Summer@Brown Courses

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From Plantation to Wall Street

This course is expected to run but has not yet been scheduled.

Course Description

How did the United States become the world’s biggest economy? What are the roots of Wall Street, global investment, and America’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors? This course journeys though American business history, beginning with colonial trading ventures and ending with the recent financial crisis. It is ideal for students who want to learn more about business, capitalism, or US history.

This course will explore the ways international commerce, the plantation and factory systems, and the intervention of US legal and political institutions helped shape modern business. By taking a broad chronological perspective students will be to historicize contemporary business phenomenon. Each class meeting and corresponding set of readings will give students an overview of a different stage in American business development: seventeenth century trading companies, the plantation system as capitalistic enterprise, the transition from mercantile wealth to factory system, large-scale industrialization and specialization of the firm, and finally, the rise of the service-based economy. The course is designed to expose students to different topics in American business history. Students who develop a deeper interest in business history will be able to use this foundation to pursue these topics in greater depth.

Students will be able to: Recognize the origins and transformations of businesses in the agricultural, banking, manufacturing and financial sectors. Understand some of the ways in which both private initiative and government intervention shaped business development. Use both primary and secondary sources to think critically about historical processes

*Please note: This course has a Material Fee of $100.00.