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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Business Administration Department
Course Prefix and Number: MGMT 371
Course Title: *History of American Business
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Analysis of American business from the colonial period to the present. The course traces the entrepreneurial adventures of small as well as large firms. It focuses upon economic trends that created a modern industrial order, wherein the corporation assumed a dominant position in the U.S. Significant attention is given to key leaders of the free entreprise system. Cross-listed as HIST 371. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

Junior standing.

Course Rotation for Day Program: Occasional offering.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

The required text must be assigned and supplemented with a minimum of two recommended texts. Additional primary and secondary sources may be assigned as well. Other appropriate scholarly monographs may be assigned.

Major Problems in American Business History
By Blaszczyk, Regina Lee & Philip Scranton (Cengage)
Category/Comments - REQUIRED
An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power
By John Steele Gordon (Harper Collins)
Land of Promise: an Economic History of the United States
By Michael Lind (Harper)
American Entrepreneur: the Fascinating Stories of the People Who Defined Business in the United States
By Larry Schweikart (AMACOM)
An Economic History of the United States: From 1607 to the Present
By Ronald Seavoy (Routledge)
American Economic History
By Jonathan Hughes and Louis Cain (Prentice Hall)
Making America Corporate
By Oliver Zunz (Chicago)
The Visible Hand:The Managerial Revolution in American Business
By Alfred D. Chandler (Harvard)
The Retail Revolution: How WalMart Created a Brave New World of Business
By Nelson Lichtenstein (Picador)
Course Objectives

  • To appreciate the American approach to enterprise, the principles of entrepreneurship and the consequences of industrial supremacy.
  • To explore the interrelationships between the market revolution and the scale and scope of corporate capitalism in the United States.
  • To compare and contrast various historiographical perspectives on American business.

    Measurable Learning Outcomes:
    •  Describe the significant people, places and events of American business history.
    • Analyze the economic factors that shaped the transition from mercantilism to capitalism in North America.
    • Explain the role of public and private investments in developing interstate commerce for the early republic.
    • Differentiate the primary objectives, industries and ethics of corporate executives during the Gilded Age.
    • Study the experiences of business leaders from their first-hand accounts.
    • Describe the impact of consumerism during the early twentieth century.
    • Analyze the economic impacts of the Great Crash and the Great Depression.
    • Describe the transition from manufacturing to service industries in the age of multinational corporations.
    • Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses and trends in the historiography of American business.
    Topical Outline:
    • Because the course represents an upper level history elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. It must be distinguished as an advanced course by three structural components: extensive reading, intensive writing, and historiographical thinking. It must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (i.e., midterms, finals, team reports, quizzes, research papers). It must demand a minimum of 1,000 pages of required text reading, 5,000 words of type-written work, and a consideration of the range and variance of historical scholarship. Finally, it must develop student skills and abilities for researching diverse sources of knowledge and organizing findings through synthesis.
    • The firm in American history
    •  A new world of commerce
    • Mercantilism and capitalism in colonial America
    • Entrepreneurs of the new republic
    • Public and private equity in antebellum America
    • Industrial expansion
    • Slave labor and the plantation system
    • The rise of corporate managers
    • Technological innovation and expertise
    • Regulating the industrial giants
    • The emergence of a consumer market
    • The Great Crash and the Depression
    •  A new age of business
    • Globalization and multinational corporations
    • Post-industrial America
    • Merchants and manufacturers
    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the History Assessment Test (HAT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Brad Lookingbill Date: October 29, 2012
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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