American Economic History
A Dictionary and Chronology
by James S. Olson and Abraham O. Mendoza
April 2015, 695pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-697-5
$108, £84, 94€, A148
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eBook Available: 978-1-61069-698-2
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Economics was a key factor in the development of America’s two-party system.

Covering figures, events, policies, and organizations, this comprehensive reference tool enhances readers' appreciation of the role economics has played in U.S. history since 1776.

A study of the U.S. economy is important to understanding U.S. politics, society, and culture. To make that study easier, this dictionary offers concise essays on more than 1,200 economics-related topics. Entries cover a broad array of pivotal information on historical events, legislation, economic terms, labor unions, inventions, interest groups, elections, court cases, economic policies and philosophies, economic institutions, and global processes. Economics-focused biographies and company profiles are featured as sidebars, and the work also includes both a chronology of major events in U.S. economic history and a selective bibliography.

Encompassing U.S. history since 1776 with an emphasis on recent decades, entries range from topics related to the early economic formation of the republic to those that explore economic aspects of information technology in the 21st century. The work is written to be clearly understood by upper-level high school students, but offers sufficient depth to appeal to undergraduates. In addition, the general public will be attracted by informative discussions of everything from clean energy to what keeps interest rates low.


  • Emphasizes an understanding of economics rather than of history that happens to touch on an economic event
  • Opens with an overview that succinctly outlines U.S. economic history, preparing the reader to better understand and use the dictionary entries
  • Provides comprehensive, integrated backgrounds on the most important innovations in U.S. economic history
  • Gives readers a full picture of economic developments in the new economy by covering subjects such as the growth of Silicon Valley during the information revolution of the late 20th and early 21st centuries
  • Ties people, places, and issues to innovations, helping students put technological change into a broader context
James S. Olson is Distinguished Professor of History at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX. He is the recipient of the university's Excellence in Teaching Award and Excellence in Research Award. In 2004, the Council for the Advancement of Education and the Carnegie Endowment for Education named him "Professor of the Year, Texas, for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching." He is the author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of more than 30 books, including The Ethnic Dimension in American History; Saving Capitalism: The Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the New Deal, 1933–1940; Catholic Immigrants in America; Winning is the Only Thing: Sports in America Since 1945; Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam, 1945 to 1990; and John Wayne American, which won the Ray and Pat Brown National Book Award from the Popular Culture Association. His book A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory won the Diolece Parmelee Award from the Texas Historical Foundation. His most recent book, Bathsheba's Breast: Women, Cancer, and History, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in History, won the 2002 History of Science Category Award from the Association of American Publishers, and was recognized by the Los Angeles Times as one of the best nonfiction books in America for 2002.

Abraham O. Mendoza completed his bachelor's degree in history at California Polytechnic State University in 2003 and his master's degree in history at San Francisco State University in 2005. He also undertook further graduate study in history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His fields of specialized study include modern European history, modern German history, U.S. history, Holocaust and comparative genocide studies, world history, and war studies.


"The short, clear articles make this an attractive addition to most libraries with a focus on social science, history, or economics."—Booklist, October 1, 2015

"This useful resource is a solid addition to all library collections. Summing Up: Recommended. All libraries/levels."—Choice, March 1, 2016
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