Goldbugs and Greenbacks: The Antimonopoly Tradition and the Politics of Finance in America, 1865-1896

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Overview

In the late nineteenth century, there was a popular and heated debate over what sort of financial system America should have. Behind the discussions over gold versus silver and state versus national banks was a broader dialogue about sectionalism, class relations, and the future course of the American economy and democracy. Professor Ritter contends that there was a distinctive and neglected political tradition in the United States--the antimonopoly tradition--which was championed by nearly every major agricultural and labor group during the period from the Civil War until 1900.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is an important study that raises significant questions about the role of the financial system in influencing political and economic change....Goldbugs and Greenbacks is an important book for historians, economists, and political scientists concerned with developments in American society." Choice

"This is a provocative book, and a good contribution to the debate..." Larry Schweikart, H-Net Reviews

"Ritter has made a major contribution to the history of late-nineteenth century America. Her integration of the national party structure with economic reform and her detailed discussion of the monetary and national banking systems across a thirty-year period provide historians with a needed overview." Bruce Palmer, Reviews in American History 25

"Ritter's book might be described as a gold mine of late nineteenth century ideas regarding contemporary economic problems, banking and the nature of money. It should be of great interest to all scholars working on this period." Wilbur Devereux Jones, Perspectives on Political Science

"Goldbugs and Greenbacks is an important work that clearly explains the substance of the antimonopoly position....Historians of nineteenth-century politics, including historians of North Carolina, will find this book to be rewarding reading." James L. Hunt, North Carolina Historical Review

"In addition to educating readers about a transformative period in American political history, Ritter's book will remind them of the fullness of economic contradictions, political conflicts, cultural meanings, and sociological richness that is wrapped up in a dollar bill." Bruce G. Carruthers, American Journal of Sociology

"...Ritter has presented the best single account of the tradition. Readers who want to understand greenback currency, the national banking system, the pyramid reserve structure, gold, and free silver will find her book invaluable. ...Ritter has treated the money question as well as anyone." William F. Holmes, Georgia Historical Quarterly

"...a valuable contribution to the subject..." Samuel T. McSeveney, The Journal of Southern History

"The book will serve as a nice introduction for graduate students and precocious undergraduatesto the debates surrounding finance after Civil War...Her book will serve those not familiar with the antimonopoly tradition well, and it will ultimately stir the blood of those who still embrace that tradition." The Annals of Iowa

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521561679
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Pages: 317
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

1. The money debate and American political development; 2. Party politics and the financial debate, 1865–1896; 3. Greenbacks versus gold: the contest over finance in the 1870s; 4. The 'people's money': Greenbackism in North Carolina, Illinois and Massachusetts; 5. The battle of the standards: the financial debate of the 1890s; 6. Populism and the politics of finance in North Carolina, Illinois and Massachusetts in the 1890s; 7. Money, history, and American political development; Appendix A. Financial terms of the 1870s and 1890s; Appendix B. Major banking and currency legislation, 1860–1900; Appendix C. An antimonopolist reading of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
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