Colonial and Early National Financial History

Colonial and Early National Financial History


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In October 1790 [Abigail] Adams informed her sister Mary Cranch that if she and her uncle “had been left

to the sole management of our affairs, they would have been upon a more profitable footing.

In the first place I never desired so much Land unless we could have lived upon it.”



Colonial and Early National Financial History

A Memo on a Selective Supplemental Bibliography


Edwin J. Perkins

Given the failure of Professor Woody Holton to cite a sample of the secondary publications by an active group of financial historians who cover the period 1780 to 1820 in his recent note entitled Abigail Adams: Bond Speculator in the William & Mary Quarterly and in his book, Unruly Americans and the Origins of Constitution, I hereby offer a selective supplemental bibliography with the purpose of keeping interested scholars aware of the relevant scholarship in the two narrow fields of colonial financial history and early national financial history.  Sincerely, Ed Perkins


Professor Richard Sylla, Stern Business School, New York University

“Banks and State Public Finance in the New Republic, 1790-1860.”  Journal of Economic History 47 (June 1987), 391-403.  Co-authors:  John B. Legler and John J. Wallis.

“U.S. Securities Markets and the Banking System, 1790-1840.” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review 80, no.3 (May/June 1998), 83- 103.

“The Changing Nature of American Public Debt, 1690-1835,” in La DettePublique aux XVlle et XIXe Siecles son Developpement sur le Plan Local, Regional et National (with John A. James), Colloque International-International Colloquium, Spa 12-16 IX 1978 Actes-Handelingen  (Brussels, 1980), 243-272.

“American Banking and Growth in the Nineteenth Century: A Partial View of the Terrain.” Explorations in Economic History, 9 (Winter 1971-72), 197-227.

“Hamilton and the Federalist Financial Revolution, 1789-1795. New York Journal of American History 65, 3 (Spring 2004), 32-3.

“Emerging Financial Markets and Early U.S. Growth.” Explorations in Economic History,  42 (Jan. 2005), 1-26. With Peter L. Rousseau.

“Integration of Trans-Atlantic Capital Markets, 1790-1845,” Review of Finance. forthcoming 2006. (Co-authors: J. Wilson and R. Wright.)  

“Political Economy of Early US Financial Development,” chap. for volume on Political Economy of Financial Institutions, Stephen Haber, Douglass C. North, and Barry Weingast, eds., forthcoming 2007.

“The Transition to a Monetary Union in the United States, 1787-1795.” Financial History Review, forthcoming 2006.

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Professor Robert Wright, Stern School of Business, New York University


Financial Founding Fathers: The Men Who Made America Rich.  (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006). With David Jack Cowen.

The First Wall Street: Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, and the Birth of American Finance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005). The Wealth of Nations Rediscovered: Integration and Expansion in American Financial Markets. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002).Hamilton Unbound: Finance and Creation of the American Republic. (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002). Origins of Commercial Banking in America, 1750-1800. (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001).


“Thomas Willing (1731-1821): Philadelphia Financier and Forgotten Founding Father.” Pennsylvania History (Fall 1996), 525-560. “The First Phase of the Empire State’s ‘Triple Transition’: Banks’ Influence on the Market, Democracy, and Federalism in New York, 1776-1838,” Social Science History (Winter 1997), 521-558. “Ground Rents Against Populist Historiography: Mid-Atlantic Land Tenure, 1750-1820,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History (Summer 1998), 23-42. “Artisans, Banks, Credit, and the Election of 1800,”  Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (July 1998), 211-239.

“Bank Ownership and Lending Patterns in New York and Pennsylvania, 1781-1831,” Business History Review (Spring 1999), 40-60.

“A Historiographical Overview of Early U.S. Finance (1784-1836): Institutions, Markets, Players, and Politics.” Commissioned essay for the National Park Service, 1999. Co-author: David Cowen.

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Professor Edwin J. Perkins, History Department, University of Southern California


American Public Finance and Financial Services, 1700- 1815. (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1994).

The Economy of Colonial America. 2nd ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988).

Financing Anglo-American Trade: The House of Brown, 1800-1880. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1975). 

Perkins on U.S. Financial History and Related Topics. Forthcoming from University Press of America in 2009.  This edited volume includes all the articles and manuscripts listed below.


“Conflicting Views on Fiat Currency: Britain and Its North American Colonies in the Eighteenth Century,” Business History, XXXIII (1991), no. 3, pp. 8-30.

“The Entrepreneurial Spirit in Colonial America: The Foundations of Modern Business History.” Business History Review, LXIII (1989), 160-186.

“Madison’ Debt Discrimination Proposal Revisited: The Application of Present Value Financial Analysis.” Unpublished ms. available on request from the author—12 pages.

“Jeffersonian Principles and the Shaping of American Financial Services, 1790-1815.” Unpublished ms. available on request from the author—14 pages.

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Professor Peter Rousseau, Economics Department, Vanderbilt University

“A Common Currency: Early U.S. Monetary Policy and the Transition to the Dollar,” Financial History Review, 13:1 (March, 2005), 97-122.

“Emerging Financial Markets and Early US Growth,” Explorations in Economic History,  42 (Jan. 2005), 1-26. With Richard Sylla.  

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Professor Farley Grubb, Economics Department, University of Delaware

“The Constitutional Creation of a Common Currency in the U.S., 1748-1811: Monetary Stabilization Versus Merchant Rent Seeking,” in Jurgen Nautz and Lars Jonung, eds., Conflict Potential in Monetary Unions.  Stuttgart: Steiner Vering, 2007, pp. 19-60.

“The Net Worth of the U.S. Federal Government, 1784-1802,” American Economic Review—Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 97, No. 2, pp. 280-284, May, 2007.

“The U.S. Constitution and Monetary Powers: An Analysis of the 1787 Constitutional Convention and How a Constitutional Transformation of the Nation’s Monetary System Emerged.” Financial History Review, Vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 43-71, April 2006.

“State Currencies and the Transition to the U.S. Dollar: Reply-Including a New View from Canada.”  American Economic Review, Vol. 95, no. 4, pp. 1341-1348, Sept. 2005

“The Circulating Medium of Exchange in Colonial Pennsylvania , 1729-1775: New Estimates of Monetary Composition, Performance, and Economic Growth,”  Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 329-360, Oct. 2004

“Creating the U.S. Dollar Currency Union, 1748-1811: A Quest for Monetary Stability or a Usurpation of State Sovereignty for Personal Gain?”  American Economic Review, Vol. 93, no. 5, pp. 1778-1798, Dec. 2003   

**Bibliography compiled by Edwin Perkins, History, emeritus, University of Southern California.  E-mail contact:

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Dear Professor Perkins,

Thanks for the bibliography to which you refer above.   I touch on such matters, unavoidably, in my courses on American Literary and Intellectual History.   But while I had previously glanced at Holton’s book, I am so biased towards Charles Beard, Richard Hofstadter, and Bray Hammond that I have been suspicious of Alfred Young, Gary Nash, Holton, and others who romanticize or sentimentalize populist influences on the Revolution and/or the Constitution.   Governments exist, as Madison wrote in Federalist 10, in order to protect “faculties.”  Aside from any moral considerations Madison (like Lenin) got it right. Thanks again,  Wilson J. Moses

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Roots of the Southern strategy  / Negrophobia: The Republican strategy for winning future elections

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Negrophobia—blanqueamiento, mestizaje, moreno, indio, de color—Negrophobia is an intense and profound fear of black people and of blackness. It is the companion to the ideology of blanqueamiento, or whitening intergenerationally through reproductive and acculturating practices denominated mestizaje, which is at the core of Latin American and Caribbean racial systems. Because of this, Negrophobia has generally assumed paradoxical forms. On the one hand, blackness is a stigmatized socioracial status, and blacks are subjected to racist stereotyping. On the other hand, race mixture is implicitly encouraged in the service of blanqueamiento. Thus, there is often a dissonance between negrophobic ideology and actual reproductive practices.—JRank

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How the GOP Became the White Man’s Party  /  The Southern Strategy Comes of Age

Steele Admits “Southern Strategy” / Rachel Maddow—Steele admits GOP southern strategy

The Southern Strategy /  Nixon’s Southern Strategy

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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

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Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

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As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 21 September 2008




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