In this episode of the Doing History: To the Revolution series we begin a 3-episode exploration of different aspects of the early American economy and what roles these economic aspects played in causing the American Revolution. Serena Zabin, a Professor of History at Carleton College and author of Dangerous Economies: Status and Commerce in Imperial New York, helps us survey the economic scene by guiding us through the British North American economy on the eve of the American Revolution.
About the Series
The mission of episodes in the Doing History: To the Revolution series. is to ask not just “what is the history of the American Revolution?” but “what are the histories of the American Revolution?”
The Doing History series explores early American history and how historians work. It’s produced by the Omohundro Institute.
Be sure to check out Doing History season 1, Doing History: How Historians Work.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Serena Zabin, a Professor of History at Carleton College and author of Dangerous Economies: Status and Commerce in Imperial New York, kicks off a 3-episode exploration of the economic origins of the American Revolution.
During our investigation, Serena reveals details about what the British Empire looked like and what it meant to be a British subject on the eve of the American Revolution; British trade networks and imperial trade restrictions; And information about the British imperial economy and how ordinary people participated in that economy before the outbreak of Revolution.
What You’ll Discover
- The British Empire on the eve of the American Revolution
- British subject-hood
- 18th-century British imperial economy
- British trade networks
- The Navigation Acts
- The consumer revolution of the 18th century
- Tea and other luxury goods of British North America
- Bills of exchange and credit
- How ordinary people participated in the British imperial economy
- How women participated in the British imperial economy
- The informal economy of colonial New York City
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Serena Zabin
- Dangerous Economies: Status and Commerce in Imperial New York
- Liz Covart, “A Cashless Society: Early American Currency”
- Olwen Hufton, The Poor of Eighteenth Century France, 1750-1789
- Smithsonian National Museum of American History
- Episode 109: John Dixon, The American Enlightenment and Cadwallader Colden
- Episode 111: Jonathan Eacott, India and the Making of Britain and America, 1700-1830
- Episode 112: Mary Beth Norton, The Tea Crisis of 1773
- Episode 127: Caroline Winterer, American Enlightenments
- Episode 150: Abigail Adams, Revolutionary Speculator
- Bonus: The Stamp Act of 1765
In your opinion, what might have happened if the British had spent less time at war during the 18th century? What do you think it’s economy would have looked like and do you think the American Revolution could have been avoided?
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