ECN 5110

Economics 5110 Syllabus

Economics 5110
Economic History of the United States

Professor:      Dr. Dwight Israelsen                                                                                                                                   Spring 2012
Office:              B608, 7-2298,                                                                                            Library 411
Office Hours: TR 10:30-11:30 and by appointment                                                                                                       TR 9-10:15

Objective:        To understand the issues and controversies in U.S. economic history.

Texts:         Atack & Passell,  A New Economic View of American History, 2nd Ed. (A&P)
                   Hughes & Cain, American Economic History, 8th Ed. (H&C)

Web Page:    A class web page may be accessed at

Canvas:        A Canvas page will contain basic course information.
Exams:        Midterm exams will be given on February 14, March 20, and April 12.  The final exam will be given on Tuesday, May 1,                                 9:30-11:20.  Each exam will be worth 100 points.

Term Paper:    An optional term paper of about 20 pages may be substituted for one of the midterm exams.  Topics must be approved                              by Dr. Israelsen by March 22.  The paper will be due on or before April 24.

Grades:        Grades will be based entirely on the students' performance on the four exams and
                      the term paper.

 Week of:    Topics                                                                                                                    Chapters

Jan 10        Introduction; Long-run U.S. Economic Growth                                              A&P 1
Jan 19        Economy of the American Indians                                                                   Handout
Jan 24        The Colonial Economy; Economics and the Revolution                             A&P 2, 3; H&C 1-4, 7
Jan 31        Money & Banking; Foreign Trade                                                                     A&P 4, 5; H&C 12
Feb 7          Transportation; The Second Industrial Revolution                                       A&P 6, 7; H&C 8, 11
Feb 14        First Midterm
Feb 16        Population Growth; Westward Expansion                                                     A&P 8, 9; H&C 5, 6, 16
Feb 21        Presidents Day Holiday, no class
Feb 23        Northern Agriculture; Slavery & the South                                                      A&P 10, 11; H&C 9
Feb 28        Slavery & Society; Economics & the Civil War                                              A&P12, 13; H&C 10, 13
Mar 6           Slavery & Society; Economics & the Civil War                                              A&P12, 13; H&C 10, 13
Mar 13        Spring Break
Mar 20        Second Midterm Exam
Mar 22        Post-War Southern Decline; Growth of Northern Agriculture                     A&P 14, 15;  H&C 13, 15
Mar 27        Economic Impact of the Railroad; Industrial Growth                                   A&P 16, 17; H&C 14, 17
Apr 3           Financial Markets; Government Intervention                                                 A&P 18, H&C 18, 19
Apr 10        International Trade; Labor                                                                                 A&P 19; H&C 18, 20, 21
Apr 12        Third Midterm
Apr 17        WWI; Roaring ‘20s; Causes of the Great Depression                                A&P 20-22; H&C 22-24
Apr 24        The New Deal; Changing Role of Government, Post WWII                       A&P 23; H&C 25-31
May 1          Final Exam, 9:30-11:20

Economics 5110: Final Exam Study Guide

I.    There will be questions taken from each of the previous midterm exams, so review those.

II.    Federalist/Anti-Federalist controversy
    A.    Hamilton’s position
    B.    Jefferson’s position
    C.    Conditions for sale - Northwest Land Ordinance of 1785
        1.    Minimum price and minimum/maximum acreage
        2.    Change over time
        3.    Additional land acts
    D.    Conditions under which newly settled lands could enter the Union

III.    Westward movement
    A.    Lewis & Clark Expedition
        1.    Purpose of the “Corps of Discovery”
    B.    Relationship between westward movement and transportation revolution

IV.    Population/Labor
    A.    Immigration
        1.    Push and pull factors
        2.    Change in origin of immigrants over time
        3.    Indentured servants/redemptioners/free people
        4.    Slaves
        5.    Fluctuations in immigration
    B.    Natural population increase
        1.    Birth rates
            A.    Factors affecting birth rates
        2.    Mortality rates
            A.    Factors affecting mortality rates
        3.    Life expectancy
V.    Slavery    
    A.    Slavery and the cotton industry
        1.    Was slavery necessary?
    B.    Economics of slavery
        1.    Slavery and efficiency
            A.    Large v small plantations
            B.    Northern agriculture v southern agriculture
                a.    use of mechanical harvesters in northern agriculture
                b.    possible use of slaves in northern agriculture
        2.    Profitability of slavery
            A.     Estimates of profitability: male, female, reproduction value
        3.    Viability of slavery
            A.    Conditions for viability
        4.    Physical treatment of slaves
            A.    Nutrition
            B.    Clothing
            C.    Housing
            D.    Medical treatment
    C.    Slavery and society
        1.    Stable families v. “slave breeding”
            A.    Evidence
                a.    ages of marriage and childbirth
                b.    sexual abuse of slave women - “miscegenation”
        2.    Family breakup through sale
            A.    Evidence
VI.    The Great Depression
    A.    Facts
        1.    Stock market crash
        2.    Unemployment rates
    B.    Causes of the Great Depression
        1.    Monetary causes
        2.    Real causes
        3.    Policy mistakes
    C.    Impact of the Great Depression
        1.    Direct and indirect economic costs
        2.    Change in the role of government
            a.    Keynes and Eccles