American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900 by H. W. Brands

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 was once at its such a lot unbridled and some breathtakingly filthy rich businessmen completely remodeled the USA from an agrarian economic climate to an international strength.

The years among the Civil battle and the tip of the 19th century observed the wholesale transformation of the US from a land of small farmers and small businessmen into an business massive. pushed by means of unfathomably prosperous 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 big undefined. A society rooted within the soil turned one established in towns, and legions of immigrants have been attracted to American shorelines. 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 bought the power?” He did, and with it he and the opposite capitalists reshaped each point of yank lifestyles. In American Colossus, H.W. manufacturers portrays the emergence, in a remarkably little while, of a recognizably glossy the US.

The capitalist revolution left now not a unmarried sector or element of yankee existence untouched. It roared around the South, wrenching that quarter from its feudal previous and integrating the southern financial system into the nationwide one. It burst over the West, dictating the destruction of local American economies and peoples, riding the exploitation of ordinary assets, and making the frontier of cost a company frontier in addition. 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, taking pictures one significant social gathering and 1/2 the opposite, inspiring the construction of a 3rd celebration and picking out the problems over which all 3 waged a number of the bitterest battles in American background.

Brands’s spellbinding narrative fantastically depicts the oil gushers of western Pennsylvania, the increase, in Chicago, of the 1st skyscraper, the exploration of the Colorado River, the farm animals drives of the West, and the early passionate sparks of union lifestyles. by means of 1900 the the US 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 used to be at its sharpest, and capitalism triumphed.

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Extra info for American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900

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Business opened up its coffers and the Mexican government spent $50 million on Democratic and Republican lobbying firms. Meanwhile in Canada, a similar drama was playing out. Jean Chrétien, head of the Liberal Party and the newly elected prime minister, had made criticism of NAFTA a key part of his campaign. S. Free Trade Agreement in harsh terms. “Free trade is a monster,” he had said in 1990. ”15 The Clinton/Republican alliance was worried. Unemployment was high in Canada, and Chrétien had run a strongly populist campaign.

The effort has largely been driven by American leaders, but it is an international phenomenon. Indeed, Clinton represents a stock character in the national melodrama of modern democracy: the left-of-center leader, elected by popular reaction to conservative policies, who continues the same policies in a trendier or more populist style. Among the other leading men at the time were Britain’s Tony Blair, Canada’s Jean Chrétien, Germany’s Gerhard Schröder, South Korea’s Kim Dae Jung, and Argentina’s Carlos Menem.

They were connected to the worldwide networks of money, old school ties, political institutions, and, most importantly, the great transnational enterprises that were being liberated to abandon any obligations to the nation that nurtured them as they searched the world for profit. For them, this new 57 unregulated global market meant career opportunities, investment deals, foreign assignments, and the steady knitting together of a global safety net of professional contacts—people like themselves all over the world, who would never have to wait in line at the unemployment office or sign up for job retraining in a drab neighborhood center and be lectured on developing good work habits.

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