The Economic History of North America: from Colonial Times to the Cold War

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Christopher Minns SAR 5.12


This course is available on the BSc in Economic History, BSc in Economic History with Economics, BSc in Economics, BSc in Economics and Economic History and BSc in Economics with Economic History. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.


Students taking the course as an outside option must have completed at least one other economic history course.

Course content

The course surveys major developments in the economic history of North America between 1600 and 2000. Colonial development; the American Revolution; Early North American Industry; Slavery; Westward expansion; the American Civil War; Regional Economic Development; Railroads and growth; International and internal trade; Finance and banking in the 19th century; Migration and labour markets in the 19th Century' World wars and North American Economies; the Great Depression; Post-war economic development and policy.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour of seminars in the ST.

A weekly one-hour student led lecture and one-hour student led seminar.

Formative coursework

A minimum of two essays and a mock examination.

Indicative reading

Atack and Passell, A New Economic View of American History (1994); Engerman and Gallman, The Cambridge Economic History of the United States, vols 1,2,3 (2000); Hughes, American Economic History (1990); Haines and Steckel (eds.), A Population History of North America. (2000).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Capped 2016/17: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills