Course Detail
Course Components:
British Colonials rebelled against the British monarchy under the auspices of commerce, convinced that British rule was unduly restricting American commerce and hopeful that a new nation could survive because of its commerce. Although Thomas Jefferson worried that Americans' impulse to pursue commerce would dissolve the social fabric, Thomas Paine, in "Common Sense," offered that commerce would provide a basis for a common American culture. Americans have since tended to veer between these tendencies in their regard for commerce and the social life transpiring under its auspices. We will examine this not exactly contradictory range of responses to commercial life through a series of novels, short stories, essays, and memoirs. The general goal of the course will be to spur students to consider the variety of ways in which Americans have conceived the individual and collective experience of national, commercial life.