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The Emergence of Capitalism in Early America$
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Christopher W. Calvo

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066332

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066332.001.0001

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Liberalism, Republicanism, and Finance

Liberalism, Republicanism, and Finance

(p.192) 7 Liberalism, Republicanism, and Finance
The Emergence of Capitalism in Early America

Christopher W. Calvo

University Press of Florida

This chapter surveys the historiography on Jacksonian finance, emphasizing the literary association between finance and capitalism. Much of the chapter addresses early American opposition to financial institutions, but this chapter also discusses the advocates of finance who sponsored government intervention in state and national financial markets. This chapter argues for the reorganization of the conventional dialectic between finance and capitalism, highlighting critical nuances in the literature. Besides Alexander Hamilton, few Americans accepted finance as a desirable or necessary feature of capitalism. Most Americans believed that financial institutions were anathema to market economies, or they imagined that market competition could be employed to slow or prevent entirely the spread of finance. The chapter also connects the antebellum opposition to classical republicanism traced to England’s South Sea Bubble. Early American opponents of finance combined republican and laissez-faire values to oppose the spread of finance.

Keywords:   Finance, Alexander Hamilton, South Sea Bubble

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