History 591:  American Business History

Colorado State University – Pueblo/Southeastern Colorado American History Project

Professor Jonathan Rees

Summer 2005

 

This course will cover the history of business in the United States from its colonial origins to the present day. It will emphasize not just the economic contributions of business to American history, but the cultural contributions of capitalism to American life as well. We are not here to applaud business or to condemn it, just to try to understand it.

Grading, Assignments and Attendance Policy

Your grade in this class will be determined by the following formula:

  • 25% 4-6 page paper/teaching tool related to a particular economic actor

  • 25% 4-6 page paper/teaching tool related to a particular company

  • 25% Attendance

  • 25% Class Participation

For the papers, the program would like you to use your research skills to create a teaching tool that you will actually use in the classroom.  We recognize that there are many different types of teaching styles and that students in this program teach very different grade levels.  So really, the form of the paper/teaching tool is up to you.  Nevertheless, we can offer some guidelines:

  • Pictures and handouts would be helpful

  • It would be nice if you could suggest how other teachers might use your work

  • Briefly describe possible student activities

  • Suggest how this could be adapted to other grade levels

  • And be prepared to share it with other once the class is through.

Recognizing that problems, unbreakable appointments and random bad luck might affect you over the next two weeks, you are permitted to miss one day of class over the nine-day period of this course.  Miss two days and your final grade will automatically drop one full letter.  Miss three days and you will fail the entire course automatically.

For class participation, all I ask is that you show you can engage your fellow teachers and the material.  It is not a question of how much you talk, but the value of your contributions.  I am one of those teachers who believes that there is no such thing as a dumb question.  Therefore, even just raising your hand if I've left you confused would be both valuable and helpful.

Reading

Main Text:

Gordon, John Steele.  An Empire of Wealth.

Additional Texts:

Breen, Timothy.  The Marketplace of Revolution.

Featherstone, Liza.  Selling Women Short.

A collection of readings hastily assembled by me for in-class use.  We will not even attempt to read all of them.

Class Schedule

(Breaks between sections when needed)

Day 1 (June 27): 

  • 9-12    Registration

  • Get Books

  • Introduction: The Grant and My Business History Philosophy

  • Syllabus Review and Course Philosophy

  • Pre-Test

  • My Receipt

  • Discussion: What Is Capitalism?

  • 12-1: Lunch

  • 1-2 Film: Andrew Carnegie (Part 1)

  • 2-3 Discuss Assignments and Computer Time

Day 2 (June 28): 

  • 9-10 Lecture – The British Empire

  • 10-11 – Gordon Discussion, Chapters 1-3

  • 11-12 – Reader Discussion

  • 12-1 – Lunch

  • 1-2 – Film: Andrew Carnegie (Part 2)

  • 2-3  Computer Room Time (HSB 117)

Day 3 (June 29): 

  • 9-10 Lecture – Industrialization

  • 10-11 – Gordon Discussion, Transition-Chapter 6

  • 11-12 – Reader Discussion

  • 12-1 – Lunch

  • 1-2 - Film: The Corporation (Part 1)

  • 2-3  Computer Room Time (HSB 117)

 Day 4 (June 30):

  • 9-10 Lecture – The Market Revolution

  • 10-11 – Gordon Discussion, Chapters 7-10

  • 11-12 – Reader Discussion

  • 12-1 Lunch

  • 1-2 Film: The Corporation (Part 2)

  • 2-3  Computer Room Time (HSB 117)

 Day 5 (July 1):  Field Trip I – Industrial Denver

  •          9 -   Meet at King Center for an introduction to Industrial & Labor Life in Denver with a special slide overview

  •          10 - Board van for a tour of industrial sites

  •          11 - Walking Tour of old Denver Stockyards

  •          12 -  Lunch in the National Western Stock Show Club and talk for National Western CEO Pat Grant

  •         1 - Bus tour of Globeville, Swansea and North Denver with a walking tour along the South Platte River industrial corridor.

  •         3 - Reboard van  for Pueblo

 Day 6 (July 5):

  • 9-10 Lecture – The Depression/New Deal

  • 10-11 – Gordon Discussion, Transition – Chapter 14

  • 11-12 – Reader Discussion

  • 12-1 – Lunch

  • 1-2 - Film: Supersize Me! (Part 1)

  • 2-3  Computer Room Time (HSB 117)

Day 7 (July 6):

  • 9-10 Lecture – Postwar Prosperity/Baby Boom and Deindustrialization

  • 10-11 – Gordon Discussion, Transition – Chapter 17

  • 11-12 – Reader Discussion

  • 12-1 – Lunch

  • 1-2 – Film: Supersize Me! (Part 2)

  • 2-3  Computer Room Time (HSB 117)

 Day 8 (July 7):

  • 9-10 Lecture – Globalization

  • 10-11 – Gordon Discussion, Transition – Chapter 20

  • 11-12 – Reader Discussion

  • 12-1 – Lunch

  • 1-2  Film:  “The Secret History of the Credit Card"

  • 2-3  Computer Room Time (HSB 117)

Day 9 (July 8):  Field Trip II – The Bessemer Historical Society

  • 9-12 Tour Colorado Fuel and Iron Archives

  • 12-1  Lunch: Vote for your favorite southside restaurant and we take you there!

  • 1-2:  Film:  “Is Wal-Mart Good for America?”

  • 2-3:  Post-test, Evaluations and other paperwork

Jonathan Rees
Professor of History
Colorado State University - Pueblo
2200 Bonforte Boulevard
Pueblo, CO 81001
(719) 549-2541

E-Mail: Jonathan [dot] Rees [at] colostate-pueblo [dot] edu

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