It has long been common to place supporters and opponents of free trade on opposite ends of the political spectrum: the right normally favors free trade, the left protectionism.  This clear-cut polarization never sat well with historians of early modern Europe (1500-1800), when theories and institutions of free trade were first fleshed out. Recent trends in US politics reveal the inadequacy of this simplification even to non-specialists. The time is ripe for showcasing the innovative work done by historians of the early modern period and taking stock of their ongoing contributions.

Conference is generously sponsored by the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund; the European Studies Council at the MacMillan Center; Economic History Program; and Whitney Humanities Center