Ross School - Senior Projects 2010

Student: Nathaniel Oppenheimer

Mentor: Matthew Aldredge


Title: Government Inc: Financial Aspects of Political History


I researched into how wealth drove governmental change in three different historical periods. In the first, I examined how the Constitution was shaped to preserve the status quo, as it did until the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828.  I then researched the rise of the Nazis and the intertwining fortunes of the Nazi Party, the Krupp family, and the German Army. Lastly, I looked at how the popularity of globalization has shifted since the 1990s. The project afforded me new historical insights and helped me better understand the research process.



PowerPoint Presentation


John Locke once said, “Government has no other end, but the preservation of property.” For my project, I looked into the veracity of this quote in three different historical periods. In the first, I argued that the Constitution was cleverly designed as a reaction to the disastrous Articles of Confederation. I examined how the Constitution maintained the status quo for forty years. For forty years, every President was from the original thirteen colonies. For forty years, federal policy benefited the wealthy at every turn. Even as the very nature of the American population shifted, the government remained steadfast. This system continued until the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828. Jackson tore apart the system that resisted his election for as long as they could. He destroyed the National Bank, a symbol of the power wealth affords.

            I then researched into the rise and consolidation of the Nazi Party. I examined the intertwining fortunes of the Sturmabteilung, the Krupp industrial family, and the army. I examined the threat of a “second revolution,” a threat that was feared by all members of the Nazi elite. Such a revolution would have almost certainly been of the populist persuasion. I also looked at rearmament and which factions that effort favored.

            Finally, I looked at the ever-changing popularity of “globalization.” Although an abstract term, it has met fierce opposition for decades. In 1999, Seattle devolved into mayhem in response to ‘the threat of globalization.’ As the years have past, however, globalization as a concept is less of a scapegoat. Instead, the world’s ire has shifted.

            In all three time periods, populism proved to be an effective tool in governance. However, this populism has often been nothing more than a veneer. According to my research, Locke’s quote is telling across history.

            The process itself has been a very fulfilling journey. I conducted a serious research project that yielded interesting conclusions. I began in May not knowing what my project would be. I had no idea about what exactly I would delve into in the field of economics. I ended up shifting my gaze towards political economy. Although I was frustrated at times with my progress or the seemingly never-ending road to completion, I enjoyed the process immensely.

Works Consulted

Beard, Charles A. An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. New York: Free, Collier Macmillan, 1986. Print.

Dangerfield, George. "Era of Good Feelings." Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2009. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <>.

Fowler Jr., William M. "John Hancock." American National Biography. Ed. John A. Garraty and Mark Charles Carnes. 1999. 968-70. Print.

Hamilton, Alexander. "The Federalist #13." Constitution Society Home Page. Web. 01 Nov. 2009. <>.

Jackson, Donald. "Lewis and Clark Expedition." Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2009. Web. 1 Nov. 2009.

Jay, John. "The Federalist #4." Constitution Society Home Page. Web. 01 Nov. 2009. <>.

Jefferson, Thomas. "The Natural Aristocracy." Letter to John Adams. 28 Oct. 1813. TNCrimLaw. Web. 20 Oct. 2009. <>.

Levy, Leonard W. "Articles of Confederation." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. New York: Macmillan Company, 1986. 75-77. Print.

Madison, James. "The Federalist #10." Constitution Society Home Page. Web. 01 Nov. 2009. <>.

Mikkelson, Barbara, and David P. Mikkelson. "John Hancock Remark." Urban Legends Reference Pages. 27 Sept. 2007. Web. 20 Oct. 2009. <>.

Miller, John Charles. "Alien and Sedition Acts." Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2009. Web. 1 Nov. 2009.

Mount, Steve. "Data on the Framers of the Constitution." The U.S. Constitution Online. 5 Feb. 2007. Web. 15 Oct. 2009. <>.

Saveth, Edward N. "Whiskey Rebellion." Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2009. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <>.

Tregle, Joseph G. "Andrew Jackson." Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2009. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <>.

"The XYZ Affair and the Quasi-War with France, 1798-1800." U.S. Department of State. Web. 01 Nov. 2009. <>.

Zimmerman, Joseph F. Interstate Economic Relations. New York: State University of New York, 2004. Google Books. Web. 3 Nov. 2009. <>.

Evans, R. J. (2003). The Coming of the Third Reich. New York: Penguin Books.

Evans, R. J. (2005). The Third Reich in Power. New York: Penguin Books .

Gruberg, M. (2010). Corporate State. Encyclopedia Americana .

Hitler, A. (1925). Mein Kamph.

Manchester, W. (2003). The Arms of Krupp. New York: Back Bay Books.

McDonough, F. (1999). Hitler and Nazi Germany. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Mussolini, B. (1932). The Doctrine of Fascism.

Overy, R., & Wheatcroft, A. (1989). The Road to War. New Yotk: Random House.

Sauer, W. (2009). Adolph Hitler. Encylclopedia Americana .

Appleyard, Sennis R, Afred J FIeld and Steven L Cobb. Internaitonal Economics. New York: McGraw Hill Irwin, 2006.

Bush, George H. W. "Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the Persian Gulf Crisis and the Federal Budget Deficit." Washington, 11 September 1990.

Corbett, Sara. "Can the Cellphone Help End Global Poverty?" The New York Times 13 April 2008.

Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party. 1848.

Miniwatts. 2009. 29 November 2009 <>.

Program on International Policy Attitudes. "Muslims Positive About Globalization, Trade." 27 August 2008. World Public 29 November 2009 <>.

Steger, Manfred B. Globalization: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009.

The Economist Staff. "To the victors, the spoils - and the headaches." The Economist 28 September 1991.

The World Bank. World Development Indicators. 2008. 1 January 2010 <>.

Thomas, Janet. The Battle in Seattle. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2000.

Piel, Gerard. "Globalopolies." The Nation 18 May 1992.

"NAFTA and the Environment." The New York Times 27 September 1993.

"Andrew Jackson." The White House. Web. 01 Nov. 2009.


Kafka, Peter. "Rupert Murdoch's Global Reach." Forbes 24 January 2007.

MacDonald, Heather. "'New World Order,' Old Self-Interest." 5 Feburary 1991: A22.

Community Member (Details)

Barnabas Malnay, PhD in international Relations from Stanford

Current employee of Magyar Telecom