Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Debtor NationThe History of America in Red Ink$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Louis Hyman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691140681

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691140681.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 29 July 2021

An Introduction to the History of Debt

An Introduction to the History of Debt

(p.1) An Introduction to the History of Debt
Debtor Nation

Louis Hyman

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides a history of debt. While personal lending had always existed, before 1917 it had never been legal to charge interest rates high enough to turn a profit and, equally important, lenders had never been able to resell their consumers' debts or borrow against them. In short, personal debt had never been able to be a normal business. However, personal debt assumed a new role within American capitalism once it became legal, sellable, and profitable. These developments did not occur all at once, but happened over the course of the twentieth century, beginning after World War I, and resulting as much from entrepreneurial innovation as governmental policy. Common to all these shifts were new ways of regulating and reselling debt. Indeed, regulation made legal lending possible, but its relative strength and enforcement propelled lending in some unexpected directions.

Keywords:   debt, personal lending, personal debt, American capitalism, entrepreneurial innovation, governmental policy, regulation, legal lending

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.