Economic History and American Historians

Gavin Wright

in The Organization of American Historians and the Writing and Teaching of American History

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199790562
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896820 | DOI:
Economic History and American Historians

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Economic history has been largely segregated from the mainstream of American history for some time now—even more so than political history. However, this has not always been so. Over the past three decades or so, one may search the volumes of the Journal of American History almost in vain for studies that might reasonably be counted as contributions to economic history. A search for articles with the word “economic” in the title returns with just one hit when searching post-1985. This contrasts with the pattern in the prior decade (1975–1985), when there were seven “economic”-titled articles, most of them squarely in the economic-history category, dealing with such issues as American economic growth, slaves as fixed capital, New Deal economic policy, and the commercialization of agriculture. This chapter addresses the following two questions: What accounts for this estrangement? Does it have to be this way?

Keywords: American history; economic history; Journal of American History; contributions

Chapter.  3954 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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