Today, hardly any realm of American life is untouched by the culture of corporations: politics, education, family life, literature, the arts. When did this happen and what were its effects? Alan Trachtenberg traces the expansion of capitalist power in the last third of the nineteenth century and the cultural changes it brought in its wake.
By examining the major socioeconomic issues of the day—westward expansion, labor unrest, the rise of the cities, and mechanization—Trachtenberg shows how the ideals and ideas by which Americans lived were reshaped and society emerged more structured, with an entrenched middle class and a powerful business elite. This twenty-fifth anniversary edition with a new preface is a discerning analysis of the origins of America's corporate culture and the formation of American social fabric after the civil war.