The agrarian origins of US capitalism: The transformation of the northern countryside before the civil war
This essay attempts to bring insights from the debates on the European transition to capitalism to the discussions among US historians about the transformation of the northern countryside in the century before the US Civil War. Neither the ?market? (Lemon, Rothenberg) nor ?social? (Clark, Merrill, Kulikoff) historians? analysis of the character of antebellum agriculture or their explanation of its transformation are adequate. Borrowing Brenner's concept of ?social property relations? and the role of class conflict in transforming rural social structures, the article presents an alternative analysis of the development of antebellum northern US agriculture.