The American Economy

A Historical Encyclopedia, 2nd Edition

by Cynthia L. Clark, Editor


Few forces have as much impact on history as economics. Economic considerations bring down governments, provoke war, and influence everything from law to education to medicine to social institutions. The Boston Tea Party was as much about economics as about freedom, as was the American Civil War. Understanding these forces is key to understanding American history.

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Cover image for The American Economy

March 2011


Pages 1257
Volumes 2
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Economics/History

A compelling compilation of short entries, longer topical essays, and primary source documents that chronicles the historical development of the United States from an economic perspective.

Based on a work originally published in 2003, The American Economy: A Historical Encyclopedia has been thoroughly updated with information on the accounting scandals of the early 2000s and the recession of 2008, including the government stimulus and bailout programs and the recession's impact on key markets.

With more than 600 short entries, 31 longer essays, and 32 primary source documents, the encyclopedia spans American history from colonial times to the present. Researchers will discover detailed information on people, events, and government actions that have shaped our economy, with entries on such seminal issues as slavery, migration patterns, the welfare state, the rise of the city, and the development of financial institutions. Throughout, special attention is paid to the interdependence of economics with political, social, and cultural forces. Covering everything from the national debt to monetary policy, law, unemployment, inflation, and government/business relations, this work is the ideal go-to resource for quick answers, in-depth analysis, or direction for further research.


  • Over 600 A–Z entries on key ideas, initiatives, people, and events in the history of U.S. economic policy
  • 31 in-depth essays on core economic issues and trends
  • A separate primary source section that includes 32 important treaties, key political speeches, and more relating to the American economy from the Articles of Confederation period through the Obama Administration
  • Easy-to-use tables of economic data designed for quick reference
  • Extensive cross-referencing
  • A bibliography of significant materials relating to all aspects of the American economy


  • Provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date historical reference available on the American economy
  • Offers key information to help explain the current economic crisis and how it relates and compares to past economic crises throughout U.S. history
  • Brings together the work of over 90 distinguished scholars from a variety of disciplines
  • Emphasizes the extent of 21st-century economic interrelations between the various sectors of American society in real terms, such as the number of bank failures, unemployment rates, interest rates, and minimum wage
Author Info

Cynthia L. Clark, PhD, teaches at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her field of specialization is modern U.S. history with an emphasis on political and economic issues. Clark received an award for Best Business Reference 2005 from the Reference and User Services Association for World Trade: A Historical Encyclopedia of Economics, Politics, Society, and Culture, as well as teaching awards from the University of Texas at Arlington's College of Liberal Arts for 2006–2007 and 2007–2008.



"The American Economy: A Historical Encyclopedia is a very hefty yet utterly enthralling work."Reference Reviews

"A solid source that will likely see considerable use in libraries serving lower-level undergraduate students."Booklist

"A well-written, thoroughly documented resource recommended for both students and adults researching the ups and downs of the American economy."Library Journal

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

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Mass Production, the Stock Market Crash, and the Great Depression cover imageDictionary of United States Economic History cover imageAmerican Economic History cover image

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