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The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846 Paperback – May 19, 1994

ISBN-13: 000-0195089200 ISBN-10: 0195089200 Edition: 1ST

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The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846 + What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (Oxford History of the United States) + Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (Oxford History of the United States)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1ST edition (May 19, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195089200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195089202
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.3 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #422,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this major work, noted Jacksonian historian Sellers details the impact of capitalism on all aspects of U.S. development in the early 19th century. While some may denigrate his analysis as overly Marxist, its conclusions are logical and supportable. In particular the impact of the market on national character, which Sellers sees as an ongoing conflict of arminian and antimonian philosophies, may lead historians to reinterpretations of events and policies since the Jacksonian era. Sellers's scholarship is vast, but a reliance on secondary sources in social and cultural areas is disappointing. Nevertheless, his bibliographic essay is a goldmine of sources for those researching the period. Specialists may find the content of this work compelling, but the author's arid, sometimes pedantic style will limit its appeal. Recommended for academic libraries.
- Rose Cichy, Osterhout Lib., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Sellers presents an ambitious, sweeping synthesis of Jacksonian America that is both thought-provoking and challenging. I learned a great deal from it."--Kenneth W. Noe, State University of West Georgia

"Marks an ambitious effort to narrate and explain the triumph of capitalism in antebellum America....the Market Revolution is, without doubt, a monumental work....It achieves what many historians have called for: a syntesis of the often fragmented findings of the 'new social history' and a new political narrative that shows the impact of subaltern groups' experience and action on the public life of the nation."--Reviews in American History

"A brave, magesterial effort to rewrite the era's history."--Sean Wilentz, The New Republic

"A fresh and persuasive account."--Eric Foner, History Book Club

"The most important interpretive survey of the Jacksonian period in the last half-century....Books like this endure and resonate."--Richard E. Ellis, Journal of the Early Republic

"A brilliant inspiration to all of us."--Harry L. Watson, Journal of the Early Republic

"Few books have attempted so much and few have offered such an all-embracing explanation for so diverse a range of phenomena."--Stephen E. Maizlish, American Historical Review

"Simply the best synthesis now available on Jacksonian America...the crowning achievement of Professor Seller's long and distinguished career."--Steven Watts, Journal of American History

"The book makes the reader ponder the role of capitalism in a democratic society, providing new ways of looking at a much-interpreted era."--History: Review of New Books

"A powerfully argued grand synthesis of a key period in American history, this book will teach and provoke as have few works in the last decade. For no other period of American history can one find such a sweeping, coherent account, which creatively interprets the scholarship of the last thiry years. Sellers fuses scholarship with moral purpose in ways that force us to rethink the relationship between capitalism and democracy."--Paul Goodman, University of California, Davis

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Customer Reviews

Most impressive is the sheer breadth and scope of the book.
M. Melton
It was easy to read, easy to research, and gave me a fantastic understanding of the changes in the American economy of the era!
D. J. C.
It doesn't have everything, but it has enough to get you started and compliment any other book you have.
Rebecca Graf

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By James Hoogerwerf on April 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Charles Sellers sets an ambitious goal for himself. Using a multidisciplinary approach, he revisits an already well researched and controversial period in American history to formulate his hypothesis. He argues that the economic boom, which followed the war of 1812, began a cycle of transformation that lasted a generation, the outcome of which determined the capitalist market system that effects our daily lives even to this day. To buttress his argument Sellers uses a great many monographs on a variety of subjects, the most critical of which he outlines in a selective bibliographic essay.

Sellers theorizes that it was a market revolution that established the "capitalist hegemony over economy, politics and culture." (5) While the constitution is the framework of American government and the foundation of its laws, in the early eighteenth century people's attitudes and the events they triggered transformed the nation politically, economically, socially, and culturally. Egalitarians opposed a more intrusive government that market elites saw necessary to promote capitalism.

There have been outspoken men with powerful ideas in America's history and the period under discussion is no exception. Disagreement prodded a divided country toward its ultimate destiny. There was no grand design; contemporaneously there existed no perfect road map to the future. The clashing perspectives of land and market focused early American politics on three tightly linked questions: 1) How democratic - how responsive to popular majorities - would government be? 2) Would government power be extensive and concentrated at the federal level or limited and diffused among states? 3) To what extent and in what ways would government promote economic growth?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Bauer on April 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Did capitalism and democracy grow up together as natural outgrowths of each other over the course of American History? Or, were they antagonistic of each other? Did some Americans view the growth of capitalism as an impediment to the growth of democracy? The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846, by Charles Sellers offers a strikingly new frame in which readers can think about these questions. His book is a survey of the United States during the Antebellum Era, or U.S. History before the Civil War. It deals with the story of how market capitalism developed and rooted itself into the political, social, and economic fabric of American society during that period. In his analysis Sellers highlights an important aspect in American social and political history, he examines how the small farmers and those who made up the rural majority viewed freedom. They sought to preserve the independence and equality of a self-sufficient, self-governing citizenry; they wanted government weak cheap and close to home. This was their ideal America, a yeoman republic where all American where independent, self-sufficient workers not controlled by aristocratic governments or by entrepreneurial elites (Sellers, 1991, pg. 32). Conversely, the antagonists in this story were those who pushed the encroachment of market capitalism into American society they created middle class mythology of democratic capitalism. They maintained democracy and capitalism where equal parts of each other and muffled the contradiction between capitalism and democracy in a mythology of consensual democratic enterprise. They were unabashed champions of enterprise and the bourgeois/middle class ethic (Sellers, 1991, 363).Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Roger H. Anderson on July 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For some reason, this marvelous book escaped my reading until recently. Using a multi-disciplinary approach and a free flowing writing style (though full of uncommon words that sent me to the dictionary often enough), Charles Sellers has presented a history of the emergence of the market based capitalist society during the antebellum period that should be on every US history lovers list to be read. As fresh today as it was when originally published in 1991, Sellers mainly portrays the years after the war of 1812 and up to the presentation of the anti-slavery Wilmot Proviso in 1846 (although one absolutely needs to absorb chapter 1's "Land and Market" assessment of our history prior to this to gain an adequate basis for departure).

There are other excellent general multi-disciplinary US histories on this period that are of more recent publication like "What Hath God Wrought" by Daniel Walker Howe, which can be read in conjunction with Seller's book to gain a different perspective. Howe has the advantage of almost 20 years of hindsight to reappraise Sellers portrayal of capitalism, Jackson, and the latter's twisted ideas of democracy, but it is done in an effort to make his own case - that the rise of communications and transport technologies as preeminent distinguishing elements of this period (even if Morse's telegraph is a little late to the party), and the admiration for John Quincy Adams and other futuristic thinking Whig politicians government policies - as the preferred interpretation over capitalist private market dominance.
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