Capitalism

Download American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900 by H. W. Brands PDF

By H. W. Brands

In a grand-scale narrative historical past, the bestselling writer of 2 finalists for the Pulitzer Prize now captures the many years whilst capitalism used to be at its such a lot unbridled and some breathtakingly prosperous businessmen completely reworked the US from an agrarian economic climate to an international strength.

The years among the Civil conflict and the tip of the 19th century observed the wholesale transformation of the United States from a land of small farmers and small businessmen into an commercial large. pushed by way of unfathomably prosperous and strong businessmen like J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, armies of staff, either female and male, have been harnessed to a brand new imaginative and prescient of big undefined. A society rooted within the soil turned one dependent in towns, and legions of immigrants have been interested in American shorelines. What’s extra, in attaining its revolution, capitalism threatened to eclipse American democracy. “What do I care in regards to the law?” bellowed Cornelius Vanderbilt. “Hain’t I bought the power?” He did, and with it he and the opposite capitalists reshaped each element of yank lifestyles. In American Colossus, H.W. manufacturers portrays the emergence, in a remarkably short while, of a recognizably smooth the USA.

The capitalist revolution left now not a unmarried region or element of yank existence untouched. It roared around the South, wrenching that quarter from its feudal earlier and integrating the southern economic climate into the nationwide one. It burst over the West, dictating the destruction of local American economies and peoples, using the exploitation of traditional assets, and making the frontier of payment a enterprise frontier besides. It crashed around the city panorama of the East and North, turning towns into engines of wealth and poverty, opulence and squalor. It swamped the politics of an previous period, taking pictures one significant get together and 1/2 the opposite, inspiring the production of a 3rd occasion and choosing the problems over which all 3 waged a number of the bitterest battles in American heritage.

Brands’s spellbinding narrative superbly depicts the oil gushers of western Pennsylvania, the increase, in Chicago, of the 1st skyscraper, the exploration of the Colorado River, the farm animals drives of the West, and the early passionate sparks of union existence. via 1900 the the USA he portrays is wealthier than ever, but prosperity is precarious, inequality rampant, and democracy stretched skinny. American Colossus is an unforgettable portrait of the years while the competition among capitalism and democracy was once at its sharpest, and capitalism triumphed.

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Extra resources for American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900

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Communism is the domain of the unmeasured: “The surest way to know that one is in the presence of communistic relations is that not only are no accounts taken, but it would be considered offensive” (99). • Hierarchy, which regulates distribution by custom and habit (109–­13). • Exchange, which distributes goods through reciprocal trade of equivalent values by people who are, therefore, likewise equivalent, and who can end their relationship by settling their debts (102–­8).  .  . should in principle be entirely irrelevant.

Presuming that trust must be established on some basis beyond the transaction itself, histories of credit describe a shift in the location of that external basis from personal relationships to the state, corporations, and mone­ tary systems. For instance, in A Republic of Debtors (2002), a narrative of the emergence of bankruptcy law in the nineteenth-­century United States, Bruce Mann attributes to economic expansion a rapid depersonalization of credit through the invention of bills of exchange and other credit instruments that allowed owners of debt to be far removed from the original transactions and the original social relationships in which those transactions were embedded.

I Have a Dream” address Wh at i s t h e r el at ion of accounting to justice? Derrida’s essay “Force of Law” (1992) explores the relation between law and justice. Derrida argues that law is the site of force, “always an authorized force, a force that justifies itself or is justified in applying itself” (5). “Justice” exceeds the law, depending on a “decision” that cannot be fully guided or guaranteed by application of the law. Law is inhabited by force not only because it is organized to serve “the economic and political interests of the dominant forces of society,” Derrida argues, but also because “the founding and justifying moment that institutes law implies a performative force” (13), an inherent, ungrounded, constitutive force, that is in evidence again in each implementation of the 29 30 accou n t i ng f or j ust ice law.

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