Economics: History & Historical Literature



At present, this page gives only an indication of our plans for it. While we plan to devote more time to it ourselves in the coming months, we welcome suggestions and contributions.



A Classification of American Wealth
It sounds more analytical than it is (because it isn't), and the really good parts are available only by subscription; but if you're interested in a general history of the rich in America, what is free on this site will give you an overview.
Current Value of Old Money
From Roy Davies of the University of Exeter, a directory of sites covering money values from ancient times.
Economic History Association (
An excellent encyclopedia, databases and a 'How Much Is That?' section. Also, don't forget to browse the book reviews.
! Economics History Services
Among other things, an impressive, scholarly encyclopedia of economics history, and a list of course syllabi for those interested in keeping current with university education.
For a history of wages, prices, GDP, inflation and exchange rates, see How Much Is That?
Geospatial and Statistical Data Center: Historical Census Browser
Easily searchable census stats from 1790 to 1960, including interactive maps covering general populatiions, literacy and education, economics, slavery and racial/ethnic origins. From the University of Virginia Library.
! A History of Economic Thought
From the Economics Department of New School University, an interlinked encyclopedia of economic schools, thought, thinkers and their works.
History of Economic Thought
Wikipedia's well-linked article.
A History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day
From Glynn Davies of the University of Exeter.
Inflation Conversion Factors from 1665
From Robert Sahr at Oregon State. Before your eyes glaze over, scroll down the page. There's too much to list here, but how about presidential election costs from 1860 and selected budgetary data from 1792?.
The Money Museum
A bit strange, perhaps; but a good collection of images of ancient and modern money.
Notes on the Theoretical Foundations of Political Economy
Duncan K. Foley's 148-page text on the history of economic thought from Smith to Keynes.
Tax History Project
As the name implies.... It's Tax History Museum, pertaining to the United States, is very worthwhile.


Leslie Brock Center for the Study of Colonial Currency
Contemporary works and recent articles.
Cotton Times: Understanding the Industrial Revolution
Traces the history of the Industrial Revolutions from its early beginnings in the 18th century cotton industry to the beginning of the 20th century.
The Colonial Roots of American Taxation: 1607 -1700 and Representation without Representation
These comes form the Hoover Institute at Stanford University which is, we admit, not without its biases. The question to be left with the reader is the extent to which 17th century America may be translated to 21st century America, which is what HI would like you to do. Still, an interesting read.
Benjamin Franklin and the Birth of a Paper Money Economy
From Farley Grubb, Professor of Economics at the University of Delaware, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
The Origins of the Industrial Revolution in England
A short lecture from Stephen Kreis on
All Change in the Victorian Age
A brief, impressionistic synopsis of how industrialization change British society. Presented by the BBC.
The Industrial Revolution: an Overview
Diverse resources from the Victorian Web.
The Industrial Revolution
Selections on the topic, including popular literature, from the Internet Modern History Sourcebook.
The Industrial Revolution
An essay from Joseph A. Montagna of the Yale-New Haven Teachers' Institute.
The Industrial Revolution
Brief description of stops along its evolution from Shirley Burchill, Nigel Hughes, Peter Price and Keith Woodall of the Open Door Web Site.
The First Bank of the United States: a Chapter in the History of Central Banking
From the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, a history of the First bank of the United States from its creation in 1791 to its end in 1811. (Its building still exists in Philadephia.)
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia: Symbols on American Money
Stephen L. Goldsmith's well-illustrated discussion of the topic.
Fibers: An Online Guide to the Industrial Revolution's Textile Industry
A short essay on the role of wool and cotton textile production in the beginnig of the Industrial Revolution, with related links at the bottom of the page. (You can buy a T-shirt, too) [Suggested by two students from Ms Audrey Plasse's 2nd period social studies class.]
Trade Products in Early Modern History
From the James Ford Bell Library of the University of Minnesota, brief discussions of commodities from potatoes to porcelain.


A History of Cotton Mills and the Industrial Revolution
Traces the rise of industrial cotton weaving in New England and its transition into the South, specifically in Mississippi.
Steam Engine Library
A list of documents, many book-length, documenting the history of the steam engine from Rochester University.
The Second Bank of the United States: a Chapter in the History of Central Banking
From the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, a history of the Second bank of the United States from its creation in 1817 to its end in 1836. (Its building still exists in Philadelphia.)
The State and National Banking Eras: a Chapter in the History of Central Banking
From the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, a history of banking in America from the fall of the Second bank of the United States in 1836 to the creation of the Federal Reserve system in 1913, a period when the United States had no central bank.
Victorian Philosophy, Victorian Technology, Victorian Social History
From The Victorian Web, a survey of the classical economists and their works, their opponents and economic conditions and development in the contemporary cockpit of capitalism, Britian.
1886 The Haymarket Affair Digital Collection
From the Chicago Historical Society, on-line resources exploring the events and significance of the labor and police riot that was America's first "red scare". See also the Library of Congress Digital Memory's Chicago Anarchists on Trial.
Charles Dow: the History of the Dow Jones Averages
You've heard of it. This is what it is...and was.


America's Great Depression
Incomplete, and judging by its last update likely to remain that way, it provides a free market interpretation of the Depression and a useful and surprisingly detailed timeline. Too bad no one's working on it.
Main Causes of the Great Depression
From Paul Gusmorino. While it evinces an unfortunate tendency to treat the Depression as America-centered, this essay, which emphasizs the gap in income distribution and the impact of the mass-acquisituion of the car, is well worth a read.
Virtual Museum and Archive of SEC and Securities History
The timeline is fine, but the virtue of the site is its papers: orginal documents from the birth of the SEC after the Depression to today.
1936-37 The Flint Sit-Down Strike: 1936-37
From, an excellent audio gallery of the strike that brought the UAW to General Motors.
History of the Eighties: Lessons for the Future
A history of the banking crises of the 1980s from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
1987 The 1987 Stock Market Crash
A discussion of causes with links to similar sites.
Bubble: The Roots of the '90s Boom and Bust
The six-part series from The Washington Post.


! Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy
From PBS, the web site attached to the series of the same name, devoted to exploring globalization. In the links across the bottom, the site contains a diversity of unexpected information. For a PBS web site, which is often just a superficial facsimile of its video series, we are impressed.



Jeremy Bentham
Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, 1780
Jeremy Bentham: Excellent, link-rich page from the New School University.

Thomas Malthus
An Essay on the Principle of Population, 1798
An Investigation of the Cause of the Present High Price of Provisions, 1800
Observations on the Effects of the Corn Laws, 1814
The Grounds of an Opinion on the Policy of Restricting the Importation of Foreign Corn, 1815
An Inquiry into the Nature and Progress of Rent, 1815
The International Society of Malthus
Thomas Robert Malthus: Excellent, link-rich page from the New School University.

Adam Smith
The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776
Adam Smith: Excellent, link-rich page from the New School University.

David Ricardo: 1772 - 1823
On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. John Murray. 1821. Library of Economics and Liberty. 4 April 2004.
David Ricardo: Excellent, link-rich page from the New School University.

Karl Marx
Marxism Page
Marxists' Internet Archive
Anarchy Archives
From Dana Ward at Pitzer College, an anthology of the 19th century greats and modern heirs.
The Samuel Gompers Papers
A leader of the American trade union movement, Gompers was President of the American Federation of Labor from 1886 to 1924.

Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman: Excellent, link-rich page from the New School University.
John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith: Excellent, link-rich page from the New School University.
Alan Greenspan
Yahoo links
Emma Goldman
The Emma Goldman Papers: From U.C. Berkeley (where better?) biography and works from one of the early 20th century's foremost anarchists.
Antonio Gramsci
International Gramsci Society: Links to the life an works of this early century socialist.
Friedrich August von Hayek
The Friedrich Hayek Scholars' Page
Friedrich August von Hayek: Excellent, link-rich page from the New School University.
Yahoo links.
John Maynard Keynes
The Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1919
John Maynard Keynes: Excellent, link-rich page from the New School University.
Yahoo links
Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig von Mises Institute
Yahoo links
Joseph Stiglitz
Yahoo links
Thorstein Veblen
The Theory of the Leisure Class
Yahoo links
William S. Vickrey
Yahoo Links
Max Weber
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

Akamak E-Text Links on Economic Literature
Extensive library of links to works.
The History of Economic Thought
Library of authors graced with synopses of their work along with discussions of the major schools and their practitioners.
The Library of Economics and Liberty
An extensive economics library, a concise economics encyclopedia, articles on current economic policy and scholarly treatises on economic history. (You may find they cleave to a certain economic philosophy.)
McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought
Admirably extensive library, but begs for a more felicitous format.
University of Pennsylvania Economic Texts On Line
Diverse collection of recent and historical works on economics.