Capitalism in the Age of Revolution

A color painting depicting an elegantly dressed crowd gathered around a long-haired gentleman reading from a document.

A Hogarthian image of the 1720 "South Sea Bubble," done by Edward Matthew Ward. (This image is in the public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.)


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Fall 2016



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Course Description

The decades leading up to the Atlantic revolutions of the late eighteenth century were formative moments in the rise of capitalism. The novel instruments of credit, debt, and investment fashioned during this period proved to be enduring sources of financial innovation, but they also generated a great deal of political conflict, particularly during the revolutionary era itself.  This seminar examines the debates surrounding large-scale financial and trading corporations and considers the eighteenth century as a period of recurring financial crisis in which corporate power came into sustained and direct contact with emerging republican norms. The seminar ends with a look at the relationship between slavery and the rise of “modern” or “industrial” capitalism in the nineteenth century, as well as some of the critiques of capitalism that emerged out of that experience.


Related Content

Malick Ghachem. 21H.382 Capitalism in the Age of Revolution. Fall 2016. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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