Lars Maischak

German Merchants in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic

Publications of the German Historical Institute. Cambridge University Press, 2013.

This study brings to life the community of trans-Atlantic merchants who established strong economic, political, and cultural ties between the United States and the city-republic of Bremen, Germany in the nineteenth century. Lars Maischak shows that the success of Bremen's merchants in helping make an industrial-capitalist world market created the conditions of their ultimate undoing: the new economy of industrial capitalism gave rise to democracy and the nation-state, undermining the political and economic power of this mercantile elite. Maischak argues that the experience of Bremen's merchants is representative of the transformation of the role of merchant capital in the first wave of globalization, with implications for our understanding of modern capitalism, in general.