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The spatiality of the corporate landscape railroads and patterns of power /

by Rademacher, Henry J.

Abstract (Summary)
The historical and geographical literature on railroads in the United States is characterized by a paucity of work focusing specifically on the various forms of company control. An aggregate scale of analysis typically prevails, reducing a diverse network of transport companies to a homogeneous whole. In this understanding, the role of the state is often made subordinate to the role of private investment. This dissertation utilizes a tripartite schema to explain power in the control of American railroads between the turn of the twentieth century and the Great Depression—in short, a more political-geographic view. First, patterns of share ownership of 18 northeastern railroads are examined to investigate the “separation of ownership from control,” the often taken-for-granted effect of the corporate revolution. Second, the changing structure of interlocking directorates among these companies and others is explored in order to reveal control networks, the social backdrop to corporate capital, and the lessons to be learned from doing interlocking directorate research. Lastly, a theory of the interstate system is outlined and the role of the state in helping usher in and maintain the railroad property regime is examined. Although interlocking directorates became less important during the span of time studied, “communities of interest” among shareholders, home locations of directors, and state intervention together helped produce a corporate class, a business elite in control of major railroad companies. The activities of this business elite were conditioned by the inertia of the large organizations for which they worked, and were historically contingent upon the histories of established contacts with and among bankers and other financial intermediaries. iii
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School:Pennsylvania State University

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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