Economic History of Europe, 1760-1939

Economic History of Europe, 1760-1939

Economic History of Europe, 1760-1939

Economic History of Europe, 1760-1939

Excerpt

To attempt single-handed to write an economic history of Europe since the Industrial Revolution may be considered a proof of rashness or ignorance. I plead guilty to both indictments. My excuse must be that at the time I began work there was no satisfactory text on the subject. Although this lack has since been corrected, I am hopeful that this volume may prove a useful addition to the growing literature. An effort has been made to give a functional account of economic institutions during the past 175 years, and to explain the consequent changes in the economic activities and structure of society. The Industrial Revolution ushered in a new material era in the world's history which has been marked by conquest of natural forces and of distance, expansion of human and international relationships, and the substitution of an economy of abundance for one of scarcity. The story of these developments is complex but dramatic. For obvious reasons the narrative ends with the year 1939. Economic factors were not the only ones that determined Europe's history during this period, but they were important enough to warrant separate study.

This volume gives a narrative and chronological account of the major economic activities of Britain, France, and Germany during the whole of the period covered, with a side glance at Russia and Italy for recent years. It is hoped that the student may be helped to understand the genetic character of economic development and may be stimulated to further reading. Considerable use has been made of statistical tables, which present in compressed form a body of information whose description in the text would be tiresome. An effort has been made to assemble in these tables widely scattered material. Annotated bibliographies have been provided which list books found most useful. They testify faintly to the extent of my obligations to other authors.

My greatest obligations are to the various libraries that generously made their books and facilities available to me -- those of the universities of Illinois, Columbia, Vienna, Munich, Paris, and Cambridge. My special thanks must go to the two first-named institutions for co-operative consideration and patience in the face of many demands.

ERNEST L. BOGART

New York City January 3, 1942 . . .

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