History of American Capitalism

Michael Crowder at Online

Wed, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.   |   75
Olios: Drop-in classes led by professors

What does it mean, historically speaking, to label the United States capitalist at its origins?

Capitalist social and economic relations define the American nation-state, and this Think Olio session explores the history of capitalism in American life from the 17th century until today. By the mid-twentieth century, eminent historians of early America largely agreed that capitalism “came in the first ships” of European colonists to North America, but were the British North American colonies and later the United States always irrevocably capitalist?


What does it mean, historically speaking, to label the United States capitalist at its origins? Is there in fact an American capitalist system to speak of, or did there exist two, simultaneous capitalism(s) in eighteenth and nineteenth-century America, one rooted in “free” labor, the other in chattel slavery? How did the American capitalism(s) of the Civil War-era shape America’s emergent industrial and corporate capitalist relations in the twentieth centuries—and do they still today? This Think Olio session explores these major questions, providing ways of thinking about historical American capitalism in a modern twenty-first-century context.

Teacher: Michael Crowder

Michael Crowder received his Ph.D. from The Graduate Center, CUNY, in 2019. He works as Public Historian and lecturer at the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies at Iona College, and is currently writing a new history of Thomas Paine, the American Revolution, and the origins of American progressivism.

Venue: Online

Zoom link will be sent upon signup.

Add to Calendar May 13, 20207:30 p.m. May 13, 2020 America/New_York Think Olio | History of American Capitalism What does it mean, historically speaking, to label the United States capitalist at its origins? Online

What is Think Olio?

Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

Scenius Membership

If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info

Other Upcoming Olios

Cancel Culture

Location: at Online

Teacher: Jeanne Proust

Aug. 9, 2020, 2 p.m.

'A Poem About My Rights': Reading June Jordan

Location: at Online

Teacher: Christina Katopodis

Aug. 12, 2020, 8 p.m.

Know Your Rights! A Constitutional History of American Protest

Location: at Online

Teacher: Lawrence Cappello

Aug. 13, 2020, 7 p.m.

The Great Revelator: The Exploitation of the Black Body from Slavery to Covid 19

Location: at Online

Teacher: Jamie Warren and Sheldon Applewhite

Aug. 16, 2020, 4 p.m.

Marx Was Right: Capitalism Failed

Location: at Online

Teacher: Hadas Thier

Aug. 19, 2020, 8 p.m.

Embracing Uncertainty: Writing the Hybrid | Found Forms

Location: at Online

Teacher: Amanda Krupman

Aug. 20, 2020, 8 p.m.

Stay in Touch

Instagram Mailing List Contact

Get Involved

Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.