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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 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 MGMT 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:

One of the primary source texts must be assigned and supplemented with at least two secondary source 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 - Primary Source
An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power
By John Steele Gordon (Harper Collins)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
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)
The Visible Hand:The Managerial Revolution in American Business
By Alfred D. Chandler (Harvard)
A Social History of American Business: Capitalizing on Change
By Stanley Buder (University of North Carolina Press)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
American Economic History
By Jonathan Hughes and Louis Cain (Prentice Hall)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
The American Economic History Reader
By John W. Malsberger and James N. Marshall, eds. (Routledge)
Category/Comments - Primary Source
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the significant people, places, and events of American business history.
  2. Analyze the economic factors that shaped the transition from mercantilism to capitalism in North America.
  3. Explain the role of public policy and private equity in developing interstate commerce.
  4. Analyze the impact of globalization on the free enterprise system.
  5. Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and trends in the historiography of American business.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:

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., exams, quizzes, papers). The course reading load should be at least 1000 pages; the course writing assignments should total c5000 words. Finally, it must develop student skills and abilities for researching diverse sources of knowledge.

  • The Firm in American History
  • A New World of Commerce
  • Mercantilism and Capitalism
  • Entrepreneurs of the New Republic
  • Public and Private Equity
  • Internal Improvements
  • Merchants and Manufacturers
  • Slave Labor and the Plantation System
  • The Rise of Corporate Managers
  • Industry in the Gilded Age
  • Regulating Monopolies
  • Emergence of a Consumer Market
  • The Great Crash
  • Keynesianism
  • Globalization and Multinational Corporations
  • Post-Industrial America
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. 
During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  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 You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Brad Lookingbill Date: September 1, 2015
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 learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. 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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