The mass industrial democracy that is the modern United States bears little resemblance to the simple agrarian republic that gave it birth. The market revolution is the reason for this dramatic - and ironic - metamorphosis. The resulting tangled frameworks of democracy and capitalism still dominate the world as it responds to the panic of 2008. Early Americans experienced what we now call 'modernization'. The exhilaration - and pain - they endured have been repeated in nearly every part of the globe. Born of freedom and ambition, the market revolution in America fed on democracy and individualism even while it generated inequality, dependency, and unimagined wealth and power. John Lauritz Larson explores the lure of market capitalism and the beginnings of industrialization in the United States. His research combines an appreciation for enterprise and innovation with recognition of negative and unanticipated consequences of the transition to capitalism and relates economic change directly to American freedom and self-determination, links that remain entirely relevant today.

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