American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900 - download pdf or read online
By H. W. Brands
In a grand-scale narrative heritage, the bestselling writer of 2 finalists for the Pulitzer Prize now captures the many years while capitalism used to be at its such a lot unbridled and some breathtakingly filthy rich businessmen completely reworked the USA from an agrarian economic system to a global energy.
The years among the Civil struggle and the top of the 19th century observed the wholesale transformation of the US from a land of small farmers and small businessmen into an commercial immense. pushed by way of unfathomably filthy rich and robust businessmen like J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, armies of staff, either female and male, have been harnessed to a brand new imaginative and prescient of huge undefined. A society rooted within the soil grew to become one dependent in towns, and legions of immigrants have been interested in American beaches. What’s extra, in attaining its revolution, capitalism threatened to eclipse American democracy. “What do I care concerning the law?” bellowed Cornelius Vanderbilt. “Hain’t I obtained the power?” He did, and with it he and the opposite capitalists reshaped each element of yank existence. In American Colossus, H.W. manufacturers portrays the emergence, in a remarkably short while, of a recognizably sleek the USA.
The capitalist revolution left now not a unmarried quarter or point of yankee existence untouched. It roared around the South, wrenching that zone from its feudal previous and integrating the southern economic climate into the nationwide one. It burst over the West, dictating the destruction of local American economies and peoples, using the exploitation of average assets, and making the frontier of payment a company frontier besides. It crashed around the city panorama of the East and North, turning towns into engines of wealth and poverty, opulence and squalor. It swamped the politics of an previous period, shooting one significant get together and 1/2 the opposite, inspiring the production of a 3rd get together and opting for the problems over which all 3 waged a few of the bitterest battles in American heritage.
Brands’s spellbinding narrative superbly depicts the oil gushers of western Pennsylvania, the increase, in Chicago, of the 1st skyscraper, the exploration of the Colorado River, the livestock drives of the West, and the early passionate sparks of union existence. by means of 1900 the the USA he portrays is wealthier than ever, but prosperity is precarious, inequality rampant, and democracy stretched skinny. American Colossus is an unforgettable portrait of the years whilst the competition among capitalism and democracy was once at its sharpest, and capitalism triumphed.
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Extra info for American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900
Since the seventeenth century, then, deep within the human breast a heart has been beating that burns with desire; all desires and passions, however, only serve to mask a naked, irreducible element of sheer selfinterest. This is what drives social interactions, producing order out of disorder and lawfulness out of lawlessness. Even today there are those who continue to identify in this process a mechanism for transforming sporadic isolated actions into predictable and orderly sequences. ”8 At the same time, self-interest became the motivating force of a new, “realistic” type of human being, who now had to be redefined as homo economicus.
The formulation of general laws for the movement of natural bodies—from the astronomy of Copernicus to the physics of Galileo and Newton—accords with the idea that there is a specific rationality to be found in political and social life once it has detached itself from the exemplary model of divine world government to seek its principles in itself. By the eighteenth century, ever more urgent calls for a Leibniz, a Descartes, or a Newton of politics and society were voiced: for someone who would systematize the study of social and political dynamics in the same way these illustrious predecessors had systematized the empirical study of nature.
For it was now claimed that, contrary to expectations, these very deficiencies were what made it possible for a social order to emerge that works better, perhaps, than any other. ” The phrase was first used in Bernard Mandeville’s early-eighteenth-century work of moral philosophy, The Fable of the Bees, and went on to enjoy such great success that it gave rise to a comprehensive social theorem. As Mandeville saw it, human beings are by nature dominated and their hearts inflamed by affects, desires, and passions, including even such formerly deadly sins as superbia, avaritia, invidia, luxuria, that is, pride, avarice, envy, and gluttony.
American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900 by H. W. Brands