Syllabus- ECON 213 U.S. Economic and Business History – Fall 2015

Lansing Community College

Business & Economics Department
Section Syllabus – ECON 213
Fall 2015

CRN:  40077

Course and Section Information:

Course Code:  ECON 213
Title:  U.S. Business and Economic History
Semester:  Fall 2015
Class Meetings:  ONLINE – (no face-to-face class meetings)

Instructor & Contact Information (who is this teacher and how I reach him?)

Instructor: Jim Luke
Office: LCC Main Campus, GB 190.7
Phone & Voice Mail: 313-550-8884 (cell + text) (preferred), 517-483-5384 (office)
Email: (preferred for all email)
Office Hours:  Thurs, 10-12 noon and 2-4pm; Appointments are recommended. Phone conferences are also possible but please call for an appointment first.  As I am frequently called into college-related meetings and will be on campus on other days also, it is best to request an appointment and to check Where’s Jim for availability.

I. Course Code ECON 202

Credit   3

II. Prerequisite

Reading Level 5

III. Course Description

This course provides a survey of American economic and business history, change, and growth since the colonial period. Topics include an overview of business organization, the role of government and technological change, American industrial development, labor unions, and capitalization patterns.

IV. Instructional Materials (BOOKS and Sites!)

A. Required Textbooks:

There are two required texts, one of which must be purchased but the other is provided free online.  In addition, each student will need to select and read a book of their own choice (subject to my approval) for their book review project.

(note: links will open page for the book. Students are free to obtain the books from any source they wish and are encouraged to price-shop.)
Issues in American Economic History(Paperback)
by Roger LeRoy Miller (Author), Robert L. Sexton(Author)

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: South-Western College Pub; 1 edition (April 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0324290179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0324290172
  • Should be available at Gibsons Bookstore.  Amazon price for new: $52.00  see
    this link for Amazon.
    Limited copies of new books available at Amazon in early August.  You may want to also try
    for lower priced used copies.  There will also be at least two copies on reserve in the Library

A Short History of American Capitalism by Meyer Weinberg

  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: New History Press (2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0-9746853-0-1
  • This book is out-of-print and NOT available at Gibson’s Bookstore or other major book retailers. A paperback copy can be ordered for free plus $5.00 shipping costs from  The printed copy is strongly recommended since the book is 321 pages.   Free downloads of both webpages and Acrobat pdf formats are also available online at: . A free .pdf file download is here:Weinberg-AmCap.

B.  Required Other Materials and Resources  –More information and instructions are
provided in specific assignments online.

  • VERY IMPORTANT!  Students must use three websites:
    • Desire2Learn (D2L), the LCC online course management system, is used for quizzes, the gradebook, and any other communications that need to be securely hidden from public access.  It also has links to assignments in the other websites.
    •  All of my “written lectures”, any video recordings I’ve made, reading assignments, links to other readings, and project assignments are at Students are strongly encouraged to bookmark this site in their browser and just go directly there on a regular basis.  This is the primary coursehub site. It is open and visible to the public.
    • is a companion site to the primary coursehub. On this site, students will need to login (info on logging in will be provided in Unit 1 readings) and then post.  All course discussions and assignments of “papers” will actually be blog posts to this site. There are many advantages to using this site over D2L.  Students should be advised that this site is viewable by the public on the World Wide Web and it may even be indexed by Google, so students should write as if they are speaking in public.
  • Other online resources and videos may be required.  Links and directions will be provided online at the coursehub site at

V.  Student Learning Outcomes (what are we going to learn about)

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will be able to:

  1. Identify and critique the economic causes of the American Revolution.
  2. Identify the transportation/communication innovations which laid the foundation for industrialization and growth in the American economy in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  3. Discuss how transportation/communication innovations and infrastructure guided, facilitated, and enabled the growth of the American economy in the 19th and 20th centuries. Identify and discuss the forces that transformed the American economy from an agricultural foundation to an industrial and post-industrial economy.
  4. Recall the major forces of technological change from 1865 to 1917.
  5. Identify, discuss, and contrast the major forces of technological change in each of the early 19th, late 19th, early 20th, mid-to-late 20th centuries.
  6. Trace and discuss the development of government policies towards business and the economy with particular attention to the  struggle between laissez-faire economic philosophy and policies of government intervention.
  7. Trace and discuss the development of the money, banking, and financial industries throughout American history including particular attention to monetary policy, the business cycle, and the role of Wall Street.
  8. Identify and discuss the standards of living of average Americans throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and the impact economic  growth had on everyday lives.
  9. Identify and explain major movements and phenomena of American economic history including the settlement of the frontier, the  Robber Barons (“the Gilded Age”), the Labor movement, urbanization, and The Great Depression.

VI. Methods of Instruction (in other words, what type of activities will you be doing – DO READ THIS – it’s not all academic gobbledygook)

This course is entirely online, social reading experience. The first week of the semester, Unit 1 of the course, is devoted to introduction, getting to know how the course websites, and what is expected. The last week of the semester, Unit 9, is devoted to final exam and final written posts. That leaves the middle 14 weeks to be divided into 7 Units with deadlines for completing each unit separated into 2 week intervals.

Basically this course is a social, shared reading experience. You will do a lot of reading. In fact, you will read the two assigned texts (one of them is free) plus a relevant book that you choose from a menu of books offered (these are popular, low-cost trade books and some options are free).  In addition there will be substantial online reading assignments – many of them written by me, the professor. And many others that provide important alternate perspectives and views.  Some of the readings will be stuff other students are reading during the same two week period. Share and compare your observations and experiences of the stories.  But some of the readings you’ll do will be stuff you only are reading.  In that case, help teach your fellow students the gist of what you’re learning from that source.

So you will read a lot.  But it’s a social reading experience. What I mean by social reading is I expect students to share with each other and the class what you’re thinking and what you’re learning as you read.  For example, as you’re reading one of the books or other assignments there will no doubt be times when you think “oh, I didn’t know that!”.  When that happens, I want students to share that thought on the website (as you will see, the site is designed more the way Facebook or Twitter work than how a traditional D2L school discussion site works).

Let me give you an example. I was reading a book the other day called Refrigeration Nation – it’s one of the many books you might choose to read yourself.  It’s full of interesting facts as any history book should be and it tells a fascinating narrative and tale, again as any good history book should.  In an early chapter it talked about Walden Pond – the pond that was subject and site of famous philosopher Henry David Thoreau’s book On Walden Pond.  I’m sure many of you, like me, were assigned to read On Walden Pond in high school.  Part of the book recounts Thoreau’s attempt to remove himself from civilization by retreating to a solitary life by the pond. Well, while I was reading Refrigeration Nation I discover that during Thoreau’s time at Walden Pond, the pond was actually the site of extensive ice farming and ice harvesting. Yes, industrialists and business people were busy cutting up the ice from the frozen pond in winter and shipping the ice around the world at a profit – sometimes as far away as India!  Well reading that made an impression on me.  When you run across those types of “oh wow!” or “aha!” moments, I want you to simply write a quick, simple status post or quote to the econhist-commons.  If I were a student in this course when I was reading it, I would have posted a status update maybe like this: “Reading Refrigeration Nation. In early 1800’s they used to harvest ice from Walden Pond, yes that Walden Pond, and ship it to India. Crazy!” Or maybe I would posted a short quote from the book.

Some of the readings will be stuff other students are reading during the same two week period – things like the two textbooks and my “written lectures”.  Share and compare your observations, reactions, and experiences of the stories you’re reading. Strike up conversation with your fellow students . I’m not looking for academic prose or term paper-type writing. Just post a line or two just like you would share with your friends on Facebook or Twitter or Reddit or other social media about other things.  Units 2-8 primarily consist of doing this.  Read and share your thoughts.

But some of the readings you’ll do will be stuff you only are reading. For example, there is a “book review” assignment.  You’ll be expected to pick/find a book about some narrower topic in economic history, read it, and then report/summarize/review it for the other students.  In this case, I want to see at least one or two longer “blog posts” to help teach your fellow students the gist of what you’re learning from that source. Also, there are plentiful links for more optional exploration of different topics in the course. You may explore a particular issue or topic or event in greater detail than is provided in the general assigned readings. When you do, please share with the other students so they learn a bit too.  The book review assignment stretches across units.  It is due at the end of Unit 6 but students are encouraged to begin the assignment early..

VII. Methods of Evaluating Student Achievement and Progress (in other words, what do you have to do to get your grade)

A. The following methods are used in this class:

 approx %
of Course Grade
Unit 1 assignments – first posting to econhist-commons; posting re: goals; update profile; quiz about syllabus 20 points 7%
Quizzes (online at end of Units 2-6) (two attempts allowed at each quiz) 50 points 16%
Participation and postings during each Unit (Units 2-7) about readings – minimum 3 reqd each Unit 90 points 30%
Book Review  (longer “blog” post with summary and review – graded by rubric) 80 points 27%
Final Exam and Unit 8 Final Reflection Post 60 points 20%
Total for Course 300 points 100%
More detailed information about these assignments is available online in the course websites.

B. Grading Scale:

The College Standard grading scale will
be used:

Course Grade % of Possible Minimum Points
4.0 Excellent 91-100% 273
3.5 86-90% 258
3.0 Good 81-85% 243
2.5 76-80% 228
2.0 Satisfactory 71-75% 213
1.5 66-70% 198
1.0 Poor 60-65% 180
0.0 No Credit 0-59% 0

VIII. Course Practices and Policies (when do you have to do all this stuff!)

College-wide policies are stated in the College Catalog and include those on attendance, withdrawals, and incomplete grades.  The College Catalog is available on the Internet at  Lansing Community College provides services to students with documented disabilities.  If you need accomodations, contact the Office of Disability Services at 517-483-1207 in room 2300 of Gannon  Building to coordinate reasonable accommodations for your needs.

Additional course policies and practices for this course are:

Students are advised to familiarize themselves with the LCC Withdrawal Policy. It is available on the Internet at  Under this policy, students may withdraw themselves from  the course until the end of the eighth week. Students who do not participate online, have extended unexcused absences from online activity, or who engage in uncivil activity are subject to Administrative Withdrawal.
Attendance Policy
Students are expected to be active online every week and meet Unit expected completion dates.  Students who go more than two weeks without logging-on and submitting work, and without explanation or notification to the professor are subject to Administrative Withdrawal for non-attendance. Students who do not complete Unit 1 assignments by the end of the first week will be dropped as not attending.
Late Assignments
Each unit  has an Expected Completion Date to complete all assignments for that unit.  Late work may be accepted at the instructor’s discretion for some assignments. Contact the instructor if you will not be able to meet the Expected Completion Date for any assignment. Some assignments cannot be accepted after their respective Expected Completion Dates.  These “hard” deadlines include:
  • Unit 1 (quiz and forum) must be completed by Aug 27 midnight (end of day).
  • Book Review “Blog Post” asssignment must be completed and be ready by Nov 24 midnight.
  • Final exam and all other assignments must be completed by 11:59 pm on Dec. 10.

IX.  Detailed Outline of Course Content and Sequencing (when do you have to do this stuff? and how much can you procrastinate?)

The course is organized into 8 Units of work. Each Unit is expected to take 2 calendar weeks to complete.  Unit 1 primarily consists of introduction, the syllabus, and learning how to use the websites. Units 2-6 will will generally follow a mostly chronological approach to U.S. economic history. Unit 7 is primarily for completing and reading each others’ book reviews.  Unit 8 introduces no new material is for the final exam and final posting assignments. 

Students may schedule their own work within the two week time frame for each unit according to what works best for them.  Students should refer to the materials on the course site and D2L for specific information on the outline of course content, sequencing, and due dates of assignments.  All due dates are on Tuesday evenings at 11:59pm, except for the last deadline for completion of the final which is a Thursday at 11:59pm.


Expected Completion Date

 Unit 1 Getting Started Sept 1
 Unit 2  Sept 15
 Unit 3  Sept 29
 Unit 4  Oct 13
 Unit 5  Oct 27
 Unit 6  Nov 10
 Unit 7 Book Review Blog Post submitted by Nov 17;
other Unit 7 assignments Nov 24
Unit 8 Dec 10

If a student anticipates not being able to work on the course for some particular 2-week period, they should contact the instructor.  Arrangements can be made for legitimate conflicts, such as giving birth to a child, death in the family, hospitalization, etc. Otherwise, point penalties may apply for missing deadlines.

X.  Transfer Potential

For transferability information, please consult the Transfer Equivalency List located on the Internet at  For additional transferability information contact the LCC Counseling Services Department at 517-483-1255  and the college or university to which you intend to transfer.

XI. Student Academic Integrity

The very nature of higher education requires that students adhere to accepted standards of academic integrity.  Therefore, Lansing Community College has adopted a code of academic conduct and a statement of student academic integrity.  These may be found in the Lansing Community College Catalog where violations of academic integrity are listed and defined.  Such violations include both cheating and plagiarism. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of behaviors that constitute academic dishonesty.

Classroom and online behavior that interferes with the instructional and learning processes is not tolerated.  the consequences are addressed in the catalog under Administrative Withdrawal.