The History of American Business

Spring 2014

HIUS 3411

The History of American Business

Mark Thomas

This course examines the history of the American business enterprise from the workshop to the multinational corporation.  We will explore the economic, legal and political factors that have helped to shape the business organization.  Specific topics to be addressed include:  relations between government and business; law and the rise of Big Business; the changing role of the entrepreneur; the development of 'scientific management'; the reputation of business and businessmen as corporations expanded; the factors behind the rise of the multinational corporation; the importance of the individual (e.g. Whitney, Ford, Sloan, Rockefeller, Carnegie, DuPont, etc.) in developing business practices.

Readings for this course will include:

Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., The Visible Hand:  The Managerial Revolution in American Business
James Willard Hurst, Law and the Conditions of Freedom in the Nineteenth Century United States
Harold Livesay, Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business
Alfred P. Sloan, My Years with General Motors
Frederick W. Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management
as well as a xerox package of assigned readings.
Assignments for this course will include a midterm, and a final examination.  Readings will average no more than 150 pages a week.

Students may find it to their advantage to have some background in American economic history (HIUS 2006) or economics; there are however, no prerequisites.

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904

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