Paperback / softback
June 30, 1997
9780801856365
English
256
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
.8 Pounds (US)
$29.00 USD, £21.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Alternative Tracks

The Constitution of American Industrial Order, 1865-1917

Alternative Tracks provides a novel interpretation of industrialization and political development in the United States. Focusing on the critical case of railroads, Gerald Berk shows that alternative forms of economic organization and governmental regulation existed in the late nineteenth century. Constitutional choices, not technological imperatives or economic interests, determined the outcome in the twentieth century: a centralized industry regulated according to liberal principles of redistribution. Alternative Tracks reveals a nineteenth-century rival to this political economy—an equally efficient and more democratic system of regional railroads regulated according to republican principles.

About the Author

Gerald Berk is associate professor of political science at the University of Oregon.

Reviews

A lean but provocative, timely, insightful, and forcefully written challenge to the conventional wisdom about industrial America's political economy.

- Ellis W. Hawley - Review of Politics

[A] model of sophisticated social science history... Berk forcefully rebuts the assumption found in nearly all historical accounts that the railroad structure that developed was inevitable... As effectively as anyone has, he makes a formidable case that it could have been otherwise.

- William Roy - Contemporary Sociology

Endorsements

Berk's first-rate study... connects insights from history of technology, law, political science, and organizational history.

- Richard M. Valelly, Swarthmore College

Berk has offered some powerful questions for future scholars to keep in mind, and no student of railroad history or the history of business can afford to overlook this book.

- Mark Wahlgren Summers - American Historical Review

An ambitious effort to make sense of how the modern American state was fashioned.

- Richard A. Harris - American Political Science Review

Berk's concise volume... provides a reinterpretation along corporate liberal lines of the factors leading to the rise of the great interregional railroad systems in America during latter half of the nineteenth century.

- Paul J. Miranti - Business History Review
Johns Hopkins University Press
The Johns Hopkins Series in Constitutional Thought
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