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360CI VIL W AR HISTORY freedom that was rare but not unique among southern industrial slaves (the privileges Brown afforded his hands resemble those enjoyed by slave workers in Richmond's tobacco factories, e.g.). Two of Brown's slaves, head boatman Simon Gray and chief raftsman James Matthews, held very responsible positions, commanded mixed white and Negro crews, and Uved virtually as free men. On the basis of Gray's and Matthews' experiences, Professor Moore concludes that the slave system provided a better chance for individual Negro advancement than free conditions would offer. "With the end of slavery . . . these Negroes lost their unusual opportunity to rise above the ranks of manual labor in this branch of industry in the Old Southwest," he writes. "Had the old Scot's experiment been allowed to continue for a few more years, it is entirely possible that Gray might have emerged as an official in the company." Evidently Gray and Matthews did not consider their prospects under slavery quite so bright, however. Both men took off for the Federal lines shortly after the fall of Vicksburg and Matthews was soon reported in the Union army. There are other occasional lapses and omissions, such as the sometimes excessively detailed descriptions of relatively unimportant business transactions and, more seriously, the failure to compare the costs of free and slave labor in Brown's operations. But these are minor matters and are far outweighed by the wealth of new information this study provides on an important and previously neglected area of southern economic history. Charles B. Dew University of Missouri Boston Capitalists and Western Railroads: A Study in the Nineteenth Century Railroad Investment Process. By Arthur M. Johnson and Barry E. Supple. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967. Pp. xi, 392. $10.00.) This book is a legacy of the now-defunct Harvard University Research Center in Entrepreneurial History (1948-1958). The Center, under Arthur H. Cole's direction, stimulated interdisciplinary research among entrepreneurial , business, and economic historians. One problem that seemed especially amenable to this new approach, since it wedded institutional with economic theory, was the role of the entrepreneur in economic growth. As manager and allocator of resources, the entrepreneur obviously played a key part in economic development. Frederick H. Harbison, Albert O. Hirschman, Hugh G. J. Aiticen, and Ralph Hidy, among others, charted the new course; Arthur Johnson and Barry Supple have made a notable contribution by following it. More than that, the authors—both affiliated with the Harvard Business School in 1958 when this study had its inception under Hidy's direction—have succeeded in bridging the much-deplored gap between business and entrepreneurial history. Without sacrificing the traditional institutional dimension of nineteenth-century railroad develop- BOOK REVIEWS361 ment, the authors focus on the "investment decision-making" of the men involved and the consequences for American economic growth. The story begins with the China traders who, to a surprising extent, led Boston capitalists into western railroads after the Canton market collapsed under stiff British competition in the 1830's. From the Boston and Lowell Railroad in their own backyard, Boston investors and managers moved westward into upstate New York and south into Pennsylvania. The mid-1840's witnessed the first major commitment, that in the Michigan Central, followed by the Illinois Central in the fifties. But all of this was only a prelude to the post-war involvement in the great transcontinentals— the Union Pacific, the Burlington, and the Santa Fe. For over a half a century, Boston entrepreneurs directed the creation of many of the nation's major railroad systems. The sheer scope of their involvement amazes the reader as it did the authors (355, vii). Quantifiers, however, will miss a systematic treatment of the total investment figures. The major contribution of the book is the theoretical construct of "opportunistic" vs. "developmental" railroad entrepreneurship. Opportunistic investors, such as David Neal, had their eye on quick profits from existing traffic in well-populated areas, construction schemes like Credit Mobilier, stock manipulation, or land speculation along proposed routes. Conservative developmental investors, best exemplified by John M. Forbes, committed their managerial skills and money to molding a favorable environment that would ensure steady returns over...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 360-362
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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