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Home Educator Seminar: American Political Economy

Educator Seminar: American Political Economy

This Educator Seminar led by Dr. Danielle Charette will help teachers consider what is political about the development of American political economy.

Virginia is home to some of the first economics courses ever taught in North America. Bishop James Madison began using Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations as a textbook for his students at the College of William and Mary in the mid-1780s, and the Commissioners for the University of Virginia explicitly recommended the study of “political economy” as a core object of higher learning in 1818. Following the spirit of Virginia’s early educators, this seminar spotlights major American debates concerning the relationship between politics and markets. Our focus will be on political and philosophical issues, rather than formal economic mechanisms: How did competing understandings of manufacturing and agriculture shape how Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson debated national banking and debt? And how did such disagreements inform their views of virtuous character and American citizenship? After examining the economy at the Founding, we will turn to the clash between “neo-Hamiltonians” and Jacksonians during the antebellum period. Then we will discuss how significant figures during the Gilded Age and Progressive era theorized the relationship between the individual, the state, and capitalism. This seminar led by Dr. Danielle Charette encourages educators to consider what is political about the development of American political economy.

About the Speaker

Danielle Charette is the Associate Director for the Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy at the University of Virginia and an Assistant Professor of Politics in the University’s General Faculty. As a political theorist, she focuses on tensions between republican institutions and the emergence of political economy in the eighteenth century, especially in the writings of David Hume. Her research has appeared in journals such as the American Political Science Review, Political Studies, the History of Political Thought, and the History of European Ideas. Her current book project explores Hume’s understanding of the modern commercial state. She is also the book review editor for American Political Thought. She holds a BA from Swarthmore College and a PhD from the University of Chicago.

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Mar 07 - 09, 2024


All Day