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Colonial and Revolutionary America

By Stanford University

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This course covers the opening segment of the traditional American history survey. Its major themes are the character of colonial society; the origins and consequences of the American Revolution, from the Stamp Act controversy to the adoption of the Federal Constitution; the impact of the Revolution on the general population and culture; and (implicitly) the long-term significance of the social and political history of this era for our conceptions of American nationhood, society, and citizenship. Released with a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license.

Customer Reviews

Colonial & revolutionary history

This is an excellent course. The best part is prof Rakove's stories. Priceless. Makes me feel like I am in the class.

History comes alive

I picked this up as a companion piece to Professor Rakove's 4 part series with other prominent history professors/authors. He is an excellent lecturer with a wonderful sense of humor. After listening to this course and his 4 part series I've developed a renewed interest in this whole period of America history. Highly recommend it.

Good, but....

His economic analysis is completely............positivistic. I enjoy his history, but he gaffs whenever he errs into econ. How is slavery capitalistic? Is it supposed to be capitalistic because someone profits from work? If so, how is this "capitalistic" production different from any other mode of production? There is no such thing BUT capitalism, but slavery is slightly different, and is in its allocation of resources socialistic by denotation--that is, the profit motive of individuals (in this case, Africans) is sacrificed to the "social need" of some other group (in this case "white slave-owners") who are backed by nothing but superior force (government monopoly on force).

Slavery is NOT capitalistic in any meaningful sense, because the oppression of workers and the denial of their freedom entails a lack of a market for a whole population (namely, an unimpeded African market). We could call slavery protection (favoring slave-owners over Africans) or intervention (government protection of slave status in a legal framework), but we couldn't call it a market phenomenon.

Unfortunately, if you don't understand econ, the entire story of Colonial America (settlers smuggling guns and goods to indians against the laws established by colonial authorities--forming a black market--or colonial merchants trading with other nations/colonies outside of the Navigation Acts and other interventionist and protectionist measures implement by English authorities) looks like a giant concerted push towards the centralization of economic and political power.