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Credit NationProperty Laws and Institutions in Early America$
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Claire Priest

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780691158761

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691158761.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Credit Nation

Claire Priest

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the origins of the credit economy in the United States. The British American colonial credit economy must be understood as part of the broader financial revolution of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There were many facets to the eighteenth-century economy: from the politics of empire, to the revolution in government finance, to the Atlantic slave trade, to legal reforms related to land. One pivotal moment was Parliament's Stamp Act of 1765, which many historians view as the act that triggered the American Revolution. The book suggests that the legal commodification of land and slaves as collateral and the creation of legal institutions for recording property titles and foreclosing on mortgages and debts were important underpinnings of the future capitalist society.

Keywords:   colonial America, credit economy, financial revolution, government finance, Atlantic slave trade, Stamp Act, American Revolution, slavery, property laws, American capitalism

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