The history of the United States as the history of capitalism

Steven Hahn in The Nation:

Capitalism has had a strange relation to the history of the United States. Whereas most societies of the Euro-Atlantic world have defined their histories at least in part around their transition from feudalism to capitalism or their complex (and often explosive) encounters with the latter, the history of the British North American colonies and then the United States has generally assumed a simultaneity in origins. The historian Carl Degler once wrote that capitalism came to North America “on the first ships,” and as simplistic as that might sound, he captured a wider sense that private property, acquisitiveness, and individualism were the foundations on which this country was built.

Some historians have emphasized the conflicts between different forms of capitalism—commercial, agricultural, industrial, corporate—but save for a couple of decades when social historical writing became prominent, capitalism in the United States has rarely been problematized as a historical phenomenon.

More here.