Catalogue


One nation under debt : Hamilton, Jefferson, and the history of what we owe /
Robert E. Wright.
imprint
New York : McGraw-Hill, c2008.
description
ix, 419 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0071543937, 9780071543934
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : McGraw-Hill, c2008.
isbn
0071543937
9780071543934
contents note
A twinkle in the eye : the importance of government debt -- Parentage : European precedents -- Conception : financing revolution -- Gestation : the Constitution and the national debt -- Birth : Alexander Hamilton's grand plan -- Youth and maturity : the public debt grows up, then slims down -- Life : the life and times of federal bondholders in Virginia -- Blessing : American economic growth -- Death and reincarnation : Jackson's triumph and failure.
catalogue key
6558495
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 371-386) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-11-01:
Wright (New York Univ., Stern School of Business, and the Museum of American Finance) provides a history of the origins of the US federal debt that should appeal to a broad audience. He writes in a lively narrative style, characteristic of good popular history. The book, however, departs from standard popular history in two directions. First, Wright integrates the evolution of the debt into a clear, compelling theory of economic development that focuses on the interaction between political institutions and financial markets. Second, his extensive analysis of primary sources on ownership and sales of government securities provides new insights about how active and widespread the market for government debt was in early America. The final chapter provides a quick summary of the development of the debt since the late 1830s and suggests reasons why the national debt may no longer play the positive role for economic development that it did early in the nation's history. Economic historians will not find formal models or econometrics, but will find a well-told story, informed by economic theory and backed up with nearly 50 pages of tables and graphs. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; students at all levels; researchers and faculty. B. A. Hansen University of Mary Washington
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This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2008
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Summaries
Back Cover Copy
(Flap Copy)Like its current citizens, the United States was born in debt-a debt so deep that it threatened to destroy the young nation. Thomas Jefferson considered the national debt a monstrous fraud on posterity, while Alexander Hamilton believed debt would help America prosper. Both, as it turns out, were right. One Nation Under Debt explores the untold history of America's first national debt, which arose from the immense sums needed to conduct the American Revolution. Noted economic historian Robert Wright tells in riveting narrative how a subjugated but enlightened people cast off a great tyrant-"but their liberty, won with promises as well as with the blood of patriots, came at a high price." He brings to life the key events that shaped the U.S. financial system and explains how the actions of our forefathers laid the groundwork for the debt we still carry today. As an economically tenuous nation by Revolution's end, America's people struggled to get on their feet. Wright outlines how the formation of a new government originally reduced the nation's debt-but, as debt was critical to this government's survival, it resurfaced, to be beaten back once more. Wright then reveals how political leaders began accumulating massive new debts to ensure their popularity, setting the financial stage for decades to come. Wright traces critical evolutionary developments-from Alexander Hamilton's creation of the nation's first modern capital market, to the use of national bonds to further financial goals, to the drafting of state constitutions that created non-predatory governments. He shows how, by the end of the national debt's existence during the administration of Andrew Jackson, America's financial system was contributing to national growth; however, new national and state debts were amassing, sealing the fate for future generations. (Back Cover Copy)"As foretold, the blessings of debt became a great curse, one that looms larger every second of every day." Though respected economic historian Robert Wright is speaking here about the fallout of America's first national debt, his words could very well serve to reflect the nation's current financial situation. In One Nation Under Debt, Wright expertly narrates the story of this "imposition on the unborn" that arose during the American Revolution, and examines its continuing legacy. Tracing the seminal events that spawned profound changes in the structure of the U.S. financial system, Wright shares the untold history of the political and economic battles behind early America's debt, as well as its role in helping the nation endure the wars and crises of the Revolutionary period and the early 19th century. He takes a close look at the long-term development of national debt and the pro-debt views of Alexander Hamilton and those of critics like Thomas Jefferson. Wright also describes how Andrew Jackson's complete repayment of the national debt offers concrete lessons to be learned in handling America's current-and future-financial obligations.
Back Cover Copy
The Untold History of America's First Debt and its Relevance in Today's Economy €ŒWright tackles the thorny question of what makes countries wealthy through the lens of a U.S. addiction: government indebtedness.€¥-Simon Constable, TheStreet.com €ŒThink that our burgeoning national debt is something new? We've been down this road before. One Nation Under Debt traces the roots of today's looming fiscal crisis back to the birth of the republic and shows how the founding fathers averted financial Armageddon.€¥-William Bernstein €ŒThis is economic history both high and low-from Alexander Hamilton, the wizard who put America's finances in order, to the men and women who secured America's future by buying its bonds.€¥-Richard Brookhiser €ŒThis book is magnetic. Wright regales us with the bankers and merchants, slaveholders and bondholders, and pen-named politicians of the Early Republic.€¥-James W. Mueller, Ph.D., Chief Historian, Independence National Historical Park
Back Cover Copy
The Untold History of America's First Debt and its Relevance in Today's Economy "Wright tackles the thorny question of what makes countries wealthy through the lens of a U.S. addiction: government indebtedness."-Simon Constable, TheStreet.com "Think that our burgeoning national debt is something new? We've been down this road before. One Nation Under Debt traces the roots of today's looming fiscal crisis back to the birth of the republic and shows how the founding fathers averted financial Armageddon."-William Bernstein "This is economic history both high and low-from Alexander Hamilton, the wizard who put America's finances in order, to the men and women who secured America's future by buying its bonds."-Richard Brookhiser "This book is magnetic. Wright regales us with the bankers and merchants, slaveholders and bondholders, and pen-named politicians of the Early Republic."-James W. Mueller, Ph.D., Chief Historian, Independence National Historical Park
Back Cover Copy
The Untold History of America's First Debt and its Relevance in Today's Economy"Wright tackles the thorny question of what makes countries wealthy through the lens of a U.S. addiction: government indebtedness."-Simon Constable, TheStreet.com"Think that our burgeoning national debt is something new? We've been down this road before. One Nation Under Debt traces the roots of today's looming fiscal crisis back to the birth of the republic and shows how the founding fathers averted financial Armageddon."-William Bernstein"This is economic history both high and low-from Alexander Hamilton, the wizard who put America's finances in order, to the men and women who secured America's future by buying its bonds."-Richard Brookhiser"This book is magnetic. Wright regales us with the bankers and merchants, slaveholders and bondholders, and pen-named politicians of the Early Republic."-James W. Mueller, Ph.D., Chief Historian, Independence National Historical Park
Back Cover Copy
The Untold History of America's First Debt and its Relevance in Today's Economy "Wright tackles the thorny question of what makes countries wealthy through the lens of a U.S. addiction: government indebtedness." -Simon Constable, TheStreet.com "Think that our burgeoning national debt is something new? We've been down this road before. One Nation Under Debt traces the roots of today's looming fiscal crisis back to the birth of the republic and shows how the founding fathers averted financial Armageddon." -William Bernstein "This is economic history both high and low-from Alexander Hamilton, the wizard who put America's finances in order, to the men and women who secured America's future by buying its bonds." -Richard Brookhiser "This book is magnetic. Wright regales us with the bankers and merchants, slaveholders and bondholders, and pen-named politicians of the Early Republic." -James W. Mueller, Ph.D., Chief Historian, Independence National Historical Park "If I could write like Wright, I would be thrilled. Some passages in the book are stunningalmost poetic. For anyone interested in the evolution of the U.S. economy and its early financial system, the first six chapters of this book are essential. Wright makes his point: under skilled management (e.g., Hamilton), debt is good for deepening capital markets, but incurred excessively to finance wars or inappropriate government expenditures, it can eventually prove disastrous." -Richard Vietor, Harvard Business School, Journal of American History
Back Cover Copy
The Untold History of America's First Debt and its Relevance in Today's Economy"Wright tackles the thorny question of what makes countries wealthy through the lens of a U.S. addiction: government indebtedness." -Simon Constable, TheStreet.com"Think that our burgeoning national debt is something new? We've been down this road before. One Nation Under Debt traces the roots of today's looming fiscal crisis back to the birth of the republic and shows how the founding fathers averted financial Armageddon." -William Bernstein"This is economic history both high and low-from Alexander Hamilton, the wizard who put America's finances in order, to the men and women who secured America's future by buying its bonds." -Richard Brookhiser"This book is magnetic. Wright regales us with the bankers and merchants, slaveholders and bondholders, and pen-named politicians of the Early Republic." -James W. Mueller, Ph.D., Chief Historian, Independence National Historical Park"If I could write like Wright, I would be thrilled. Some passages in the book are stunningalmost poetic. For anyone interested in the evolution of the U.S. economy and its early financial system, the first six chapters of this book are essential. Wright makes his point: under skilled management (e.g., Hamilton), debt is good for deepening capital markets, but incurred excessively to finance wars or inappropriate government expenditures, it can eventually prove disastrous." -Richard Vietor, Harvard Business School,Journal of American History
Long Description
Like its current citizens, the United States was born in debt-a debt so deep that it threatened to destroy the young nation. Thomas Jefferson considered the national debt a monstrous fraud on posterity, while Alexander Hamilton believed debt would help America prosper. Both, as it turns out, were right. "One Nation Under Debt" explores the untold history of America's first national debt, which arose from the immense sums needed to conduct the American Revolution. Noted economic historian Robert Wright, Ph.D. tells in riveting narrative how a subjugated but enlightened people cast off a great tyrant-"but their liberty, won with promises as well as with the blood of patriots, came at a high price." He brings to life the key events that shaped the U.S. financial system and explains how the actions of our forefathers laid the groundwork for the debt we still carry today. As an economically tenuous nation by Revolution's end, America's people struggled to get on their feet. Wright outlines how the formation of a new government originally reduced the nation's debt-but, as debt was critical to this government's survival, it resurfaced, to be beaten back once more. Wright then reveals how political leaders began accumulating massive new debts to ensure their popularity, setting the financial stage for decades to come. Wright traces critical evolutionary developments-from Alexander Hamilton's creation of the nation's first modern capital market, to the use of national bonds to further financial goals, to the drafting of state constitutions that created non-predatory governments. He shows how, by the end of Andrew Jackson's administration, America's financial system was contributingto national growth while at the same time new national and state debts were amassing, sealing the fate for future generations.
Main Description
A noted economic historian reveals the political and economic battle behind early America's first national debt and its continued legacy today Since the Revolutionary period, our leaders have warred over the role of debt and finance in building a great nation. In One Nation Under Debt, noted historian Robert E. Wright expertly explores the story of our first U.S. national debt, which arose during the Revolution and was extinguished during the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Throughout the book, he examines in detail the seminal events that spawned profound changes in the structure of the U.S. financial system and the nature of debt. The author first explains the political and economic importance of government debt markets. He then looks at the long-term development of national debt and the pro-debt views of Alexander Hamilton and those of critics like Thomas Jefferson. Wright also describes Andrew Jackson's complete repayment of the national debt-offering concrete lessons that can help in handling our current and future debt.
Main Description
Like its current citizens, the United States was born in debt-a debt so deep that it threatened to destroy the young nation. Thomas Jefferson considered the national debt a monstrous fraud on posterity, while Alexander Hamilton believed debt would help America prosper. Both, as it turns out, were right. One Nation Under Debt explores the untold history of America's first national debt, which arose from the immense sums needed to conduct the American Revolution. Noted economic historian Robert Wright, Ph.D. tells in riveting narrative how a subjugated but enlightened people cast off a great tyrant-"but their liberty, won with promises as well as with the blood of patriots, came at a high price." He brings to life the key events that shaped the U.S. financial system and explains how the actions of our forefathers laid the groundwork for the debt we still carry today. As an economically tenuous nation by Revolution's end, America's people struggled to get on their feet. Wright outlines how the formation of a new government originally reduced the nation's debt-but, as debt was critical to this government's survival, it resurfaced, to be beaten back once more. Wright then reveals how political leaders began accumulating massive new debts to ensure their popularity, setting the financial stage for decades to come. Wright traces critical evolutionary developments-from Alexander Hamilton's creation of the nation's first modern capital market, to the use of national bonds to further financial goals, to the drafting of state constitutions that created non-predatory governments. He shows how, by the end of Andrew Jackson's administration, America's financial system was contributing to national growth while at the same time new national and state debts were amassing, sealing the fate for future generations.
Main Description
Like its current citizens, the United States was born in debt-a debt so deep that it threatened to destroy the young nation. Thomas Jefferson considered the national debt a monstrous fraud on posterity, while Alexander Hamilton believed debt would help America prosper. Both, as it turns out, were right.One Nation Under Debtexplores the untold history of America's first national debt, which arose from the immense sums needed to conduct the American Revolution. Noted economic historian Robert Wright, Ph.D. tells in riveting narrative how a subjugated but enlightened people cast off a great tyrant-"but their liberty, won with promises as well as with the blood of patriots, came at a high price." He brings to life the key events that shaped the U.S. financial system and explains how the actions of our forefathers laid the groundwork for the debt we still carry today.As an economically tenuous nation by Revolution's end, America's people struggled to get on their feet. Wright outlines how the formation of a new government originally reduced the nation's debt-but, as debt was critical to this government's survival, it resurfaced, to be beaten back once more. Wright then reveals how political leaders began accumulating massive new debts to ensure their popularity, setting the financial stage for decades to come.Wright traces critical evolutionary developments-from Alexander Hamilton's creation of the nation's first modern capital market, to the use of national bonds to further financial goals, to the drafting of state constitutions that created non-predatory governments. He shows how, by the end of Andrew Jackson's administration, America's financial system was contributing to national growth while at the same time new national and state debts were amassing, sealing the fate for future generations.
Unpaid Annotation
A noted economic historian reveals the political and economic battle behind early America's first national debt and its continued legacy today Since the Revolutionary period, our leaders have warred over the role of debt and finance in building a great nation. InOne Nation Under Debt, noted historian Robert E. Wright expertly explores the story of our first U.S. national debt, which arose during the Revolution and was extinguished during the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Throughout the book, he examines in detail the seminal events that spawned profound changes in the structure of the U.S. financial system and the nature of debt. The author first explains the political and economic importance of government debt markets. He then looks at the long-term development of national debt and the pro-debt views of Alexander Hamilton and those of critics like Thomas Jefferson. Wright also describes Andrew Jackson's complete repayment of the national debt-offering concrete lessons that can help in handling our current and future debt.
Unpaid Annotation
Like its current citizens, the United States was born in debt-a debt so deep that it threatened to destroy the young nation. Thomas Jefferson considered the national debt a monstrous fraud on posterity, while Alexander Hamilton believed debt would help America prosper. Both, as it turns out, were right. One Nation Under Debtexplores the untold history of America's first national debt, which arose from the immense sums needed to conduct the American Revolution. Noted economic historian Robert Wright, Ph.D. tells in riveting narrative how a subjugated but enlightened people cast off a great tyrant-"but their liberty, won with promises as well as with the blood of patriots, came at a high price." He brings to life the key events that shaped the U.S. financial system and explains how the actions of our forefathers laid the groundwork for the debt we still carry today. As an economically tenuous nation by Revolution's end, America's people struggled to get on their feet. Wright outlines how the formation of a new government originally reduced the nation's debt-but, as debt was critical to this government's survival, it resurfaced, to be beaten back once more. Wright then reveals how political leaders began accumulating massive new debts to ensure their popularity, setting the financial stage for decades to come. Wright traces critical evolutionary developments-from Alexander Hamilton's creation of the nation's first modern capital market, to the use of national bonds to further financial goals, to the drafting of state constitutions that created non-predatory governments. He shows how, by the end of Andrew Jackson's administration, America's financial system was contributing to national growth while at the same time new national and state debts were amassing, sealing the fate for future generations.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. vii
A Twinkle In The Eye: The Importance of Government Debtp. 1
Parentage: European Precedentsp. 17
Conception: Financing Revolutionp. 41
Gestation: The Constitution and the National Debtp. 75
Birth: Alexander Hamilton's Grand Planp. 123
Youth And Maturity: The Public Debt Grows Up, Then Slims Downp. 161
Life: The Life and Times of Federal Bondholders in Virginiap. 187
Blessings: American Economic Growthp. 237
Death And Reincarnation: Jackson's Triumph and Failurep. 269
Appendixp. 285
Notesp. 333
Bibliographyp. 371
Indexp. 387
About the Authorp. 421
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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