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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2653 American Business History

20 creditsClass Size: 42

Module manager: Professor Regina Blaszczyk

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module explores the history of American business from colonial times to the present. It examines topics such as the colonial economy, industrialization, slavery and the plantation system, the rise of big business, government regulation, consumer culture, the Great Depression, the impact of war on business, the service economy, postwar growth, and globalization.


The objectives of this module are:
1) To teach students to understand the role of business in American life from colonial times to the present;
2) To blend the study of American business and economic history with the study of American social and cultural history.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will demonstrate:
1) A familiarity with important historical writings in American business history that are relevant to their experiences as citizens of the world.
2) The ability to interpret a range of texts, including writings by historians, and original period sources, including letters, pamphlets, newspapers, advertisements, and business records.
3) The ability to express and communicate ideas in discussion groups and in written presentations.


In 1925, Republican President Calvin Coolidge addressed the American Society of Newspaper Editors and coined a phrase that became a mainstay of American culture: "The chief business of the American people is business." This course explores the history of American business by placing entrepreneurs, firms, and markets in the wider social, cultural, and economic context of US history. Through a combination of lectures and discussions, we will examine the role of business in American life from colonial times to the digital age. Essays by historians and period documents will be assigned as discussion aids.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Preparatory reading for lectures and seminars.
Preparing source commentary.
Engaging with the work of other seminar participants.
Writing essay.
Reviewing reading and notes for exam.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress will be monitored via individual contributions to class discussions, an assessed exercise worth 10% of the overall module mark and an assessed essay worth 30% of the overall module mark.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,000 words to be submitted by 12.00pm on Monday of teaching week 840.00
Report500 word project report10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/05/2019


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