Discussion Economic History of the US

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This is the first of two class discussions. The objective is to engage with your fellow classmates on topics revolving around the themes in the readings and lectures. You are expected to post an initial response to a discussion question (1 of 3, listed below) of your choosing


The discussions are worth 10 points: 5 points for your initial answer and then 5 points for your critical response to a fellow student’s answer.

Question 1: A major theme in the debate over the causes of the rise of capitalism in the U.S. is the supposedly individualist and market-oriented culture of Americans. Do you think that this is why capitalism developed so quickly and successfully in the U.S.?

Question 2: Suppose we did not have a large influx of Irish immigrants in the 1840s. How do you think American capitalism would have looked different (or the same)?

Question 3: Do you think American growth would still have been as rapid and successful in the 19th century if American courts more actively shunned eminent domain and took a more secure or strict view on property rights?



reply to another student’s response in a critical way by disagreeing with their response, and elaborating on your point of disagreement. Think of it as “playing devil’s advocate”. You must be critical in your response.

You must keep all of your work on this discussion civil, articulate, and well-informed. You will be graded on the quality of your work and its relevance to the topic and readings. Each response should be 1 paragraph at most. 


reply to this 


Without the large influx of Irish immigrants American capitalism would be different since capitalist advanced their economics with immigration labor. Irish came to be the minority in the United States because according to Field, “[Irish] face discrimination, possessing little physical capital or industrial skills, and having little knowledge of the local labor markets, the newly arrived Irish worker had few choices as to where to work ending up in unskilled factory or laboring jobs”(160). This indicates that Irish didn’t have the drive, knowledge or opportunity to become an entrepreneur and live the American dream of becoming their own boss. In result, capitalist took advantage of this opportunity to grow their companies and by doing so they expanded American capitalism. Without the arrival of the influx of Irish immigration United States wouldn’t be advance in market trade nor would the economic be as productive and influential as it is today. When the labor surplus occurs capitalist were able to lower wages. By lowing wages capitalist were able to gain a higher profit to invest in new construction. Also, it helps the United States become independent from British imported products. The Irish helped construct railroads, canals, streets and bridges that influence the growth of the market. Without the construction and productivity growth, that the Irish created the United Stated wouldn’t have become one of the wealthiest and powerful countries under a capitalism system as quickly as they did.


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