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American Capitalism

Seminar Leader:
Walter Licht


This is a broad overview of American economic history that should be of interest to teachers of social studies and economics, but could also be used by teachers of English, math, and basic sciences as backgrounds and examples for their subjects and classrooms. The seminar builds upon early trade patterns, the political economy of slavery, growth of the market economy, industrial expansion, change sin work and labor markets, and the growth of the welfare state.

Current issues and timely topics such as the economic role of immigrants, and the effects of globalization on the American economy, including that of Philadelphia and urban America, can be addressed in historical perspective according to the interests of the teacher participants.

Unit TitleAuthor


African American Women Workers in 19th Century and 20th Century Philadelphia

Myrtle Bastien
Keywords: African American History, African American women, American economic system, poverty, racial prejudice

Discovering the Past to Preserve for the Future: The National Archives and American Economic History

Elliot Drago
Keywords: America, capitalism, Internal Revenue Services, National Archives, social studies

Child Labor in Pennsylvania

Terry Anne Wildman
Keywords: child labor, Gilead Age, Industrial Revolution, Pennsylvania, Progressive Era

Rock and Roll and the Record and Broadcasting Industry

Sandy O’Keefe
Keywords: African American Artists, Blues music, Music, Philadelphia, rhythm, rock and roll

Made In China: Early American Trade with China, 1784-1844

Mona Kolsky
Keywords: America, American History, American-chinese trade, Asian studies, China, globalization

The History of African American Business in Philadelphia, 1850 – 1920

Vicki Baker
Keywords: African American business, Philadelphia business

Why Are There Abandoned Factories in My Neighborhood?

Tim Woods
Keywords: History, Industrial history, Philadelphia, William Penn