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American BondsHow Credit Markets Shaped a Nation$
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Sarah L. Quinn

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691156750

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691156750.001.0001

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From a Nation of Farmers to a Nation of Homeowners

From a Nation of Farmers to a Nation of Homeowners

(p.88) 5 From a Nation of Farmers to a Nation of Homeowners
American Bonds

Sarah L. Quinn

Princeton University Press

This chapter demonstrates how, as the United States transitioned from an agricultural to an industrial nation, mortgage lenders promoted homeownership as the new measure of independence, success, and virtue. This vision was built into the deep logic of their lending structures, which brought into being a small local community of equals working together to lift themselves up. Lending cooperatives developed in the nation's towns and cities over much of the nineteenth century. On the national level, direct federal government support for urban mortgage credit was delayed until the First World War, when a set of housing crises led to national experiments in the building and financing of urban homes. These programs were temporary, but they helped change how many Americans thought about housing policy, introducing the idea that such policy was an integral part of economic growth and a potentially appropriate site of federal involvement, especially when organized through partnerships and credit support.

Keywords:   United States, mortgage lenders, homeownership, lending structures, lending cooperatives, urban mortgage credit, urban homes, housing policy, credit support, housing crises

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