Brown Bag Purity and Power: The American Sugar Empire in the Gilded Age 27 May 2015.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM David Singerman, MIT

In the late nineteenth century, American dreams of empire were built on sugar. The Bostonian sugar magnate Edwin Atkins, a key architect of that empire, owned New England refineries, Atlantic shipping lines, and Cuban plantations. By following Atkins’s machinations from the White House to the customs house, we can see how U.S. attempts to govern labor and nature overseas were linked to the most contentious issues of Gilded Age political economy: corruption, free trade, and monopoly power.