‘Varieties of Capitalism in the Americas’ workshop, 4 June 2015 Organised by the Centre for Economic and Business History, University of Nottingham ------------------------------------Dr Marc-William Palen (University of Exeter) Copying American Capitalism: The Global Response to American Economic Nationalism American capitalism is now commonly associated with the neoliberal policies of free trade and market deregulation. In seeking its origins, this laissez-faire depiction has been read back into the American past. The period of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century is a case in point. With the exception of Free Trade England, nations like the United States sought protection from global market uncertainty behind the aegis of economic nationalism. Yet historians instead commonly portray this as an American era of laissez faire and free trade, a misimpression that has also seeped into the dominant American imperial narrative. Rather, in the United States support for economic nationalist policies at home and abroad would increase dramatically following the onset of the late-nineteenth-century Great Depression in 1873. This American protectionist form of capitalism—often referred to as the American System—would at once be derided and emulated across the globe, as nation after nation sought to control the unpredictable boom-and-bust market forces of the modern global economic system.