3 Examples from

Whaples “Where Is There Consensus Among American Economic Historians?”

 

            Some of our current ideas about American economic history are based on interpretation and analysis of the information which has survived.  Some of these interpretations are still matters of debate among economic historians, while for others a substantial consensus has been reached.  A survey[1]  of economic historians and historians can help us see where there is general consensus and where there is continued debate. 

 

            Here A indicates strong agreement with the statement.  P indicates agreement, but with provisions.  D indicates disagreement.  The numbers below the letters indicate the number of those surveyed with that response.

 

A

P

D

Statement

164

28

8

The economic standard of living of white Americans on the eve of the Revolution was among the highest in the world.

149

32

20

Indentured servitude was an institutional response to a capital market imperfection.  It enabled prospective migrants to borrow against their future earnings in order to pay for the high cost of passage to America.

15

53

132

Eighteenth-century rural farmers in the North were isolated from the market.

 



    [1] Whaples, Robert, "Where Is There Consensus Among American Economic Historians?  The Results of a Survey on Forty Propositions", The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 55, No. 1, Mar. 1995, pp. 139-154.