Studies that compare U.S. commercial law with the law of other legal systems often underestimate the relevance of the history of commercial legislation in the United States.  This paper considers the ideological, economic and institutional context of this legislation at three periods in this history: 1895-1918 (the drafting of a half-dozen uniform commercial laws), 1940-1951 (the drafting the first official text of the Uniform Commercial Code), and 1990-2010 (revising the official text).  The paper argues that to understand the present text of the Code one must understand the evolving context in which the Code’s content was drafted.