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

Goldbugs and Greenbacks

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

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Published: 8th April 2004
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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. The book explains why the antimonopolists (including the National Labor Union, the Greenbackers, the Knights of Labor, and the Populists) saw the financial system as the key to maintaining economic opportunity and democratic control for all classes and regions.

"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

Preface and acknowledgmentsp. ix
The money debate and American political developmentp. 1
Antimonopolism and the money debatep. 3
History, political development, and the financial debatep. 9
Antimonopolism and economic developmentp. 16
Goldbugs and greenbacks: The culture of moneyp. 19
Organization of the bookp. 26
Party politics and the financial debate, 1865-1896p. 28
Perspectives on nineteenth-century party politicsp. 31
The Republicansp. 34
The Democratsp. 41
The antimonopolistsp. 47
The election of 1896 as a critical moment in American politicsp. 58
Greenbacks versus gold: The contest over finance in the 1870sp. 62
The National Banking Systemp. 66
The financial standard: Greenbacks or gold?p. 73
The financial conservative position on bankingp. 78
The financial conservatives' defense of the gold standardp. 83
The Greenback critique of the NBSp. 90
Greenbacks: A monetary alternativep. 95
Financial philosophies as competing visions of the public goodp. 104
The "people's money": Greenbackism in North Carolina, Illinois, and Massachusettsp. 110
North Carolina: Financial reform but little greenbackismp. 113
Illinois: A center for farmer-labor radicalismp. 123
Massachusetts: An early labor reform statep. 136
Greenbackism and American political development in the 1870sp. 148
The battle of the standards: The financial debate of the 1890sp. 152
Financial conservatism's defense of the gold standardp. 158
Financial conservatism's defense of the NBSp. 172
Monetary reform: Bimetallism, greenbackism, and opposition to the gold standardp. 178
The financial reformers' critique of the banking systemp. 194
Academic findingsp. 200
The victory of financial conservatismp. 206
Populism and the politics of finance in North Carolina, Illinois, and Massachusetts in the 1890sp. 208
North Carolina: An emerging "New South" statep. 210
Illinois and the labor-Populist alliancep. 226
Massachusetts: Home of liberal orthodoxyp. 241
Conclusionp. 253
Money, history, and American political developmentp. 258
Evaluating the antimonopoly traditionp. 260
Banking and economic development in Denmarkp. 273
The legacy of antimonopolismp. 276
Financial terms used between the Civil War and 1896p. 283
Major banking and currency legislation, 1860 to 1900p. 286
An antimonopolist reading of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Ozp. 288
Indexp. 291
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521561679
ISBN-10: 0521561671
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 8th April 2004
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PR
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.55 x 16.08  x 2.69
Weight (kg): 0.58