State Banking in Early America: A New Economic History

Hardcover | October 15, 2002

byHoward Bodenhorn

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Howard Bodenhorn's State Banking in Early America studies the financial experimentation that took place in the United States between 1790 and 1860. Dr. Bodenhorn's book explores regional differences in banking structures, which bear indirectly in the conection between financial and economicdevelopment. If a single theme emerges, it is that the United States benefitted from its free banking philosophy in which state governments, rather than a centralized authority, created financial structures designed to serve specific, local needs. Thus decentralized federalism provided statelegislatures with a great deal of flexibility in their individual approaches to economic and financial issues. The important lessons to be learned from Dr. Bodenhorn's historical account are that successful banking systems are flexible, predictable, and incentive-compatible; they meet the needs ofthe borrowers, depositors and shareholders, and they reduce downside risks to generally agreed upon levels. These lessons imply that we cannot, a priori, define an optimal, one-size-fits-all banking system. We need to know something about the formal and informal institutions underlying an economyand about the risk preferences of its citizenry. Historically, outsiders view Americans as experimenters and risk takers. Nowhere is this experimentation and risk taking more apparent than in early American banking policies.

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Howard Bodenhorn's State Banking in Early America studies the financial experimentation that took place in the United States between 1790 and 1860. Dr. Bodenhorn's book explores regional differences in banking structures, which bear indirectly in the conection between financial and economicdevelopment. If a single theme emerges, it is ...

Howard Bodenhorn is at Lafayette College.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 6.42 × 9.21 × 1.3 inPublished:October 15, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195147766

ISBN - 13:9780195147766

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Establishment and Governance of the Antebellum Bank3. Banking Theory and Banking Practice in Antebellum America4. New England: Small Banks and Familial Ties5. The Rise and Fall of the Suffolk System6. Middle Atlantic: Conservatism and Experimentation7. New York's Safety Fund System: America's First Bank Insurance Experiment8. Free Banking: The Populist Revolt Takes Root in New York9. Banking in the South and West: Banks and the Commonweal10. Property Banking, Free Banking, and Branch Banking11. Assessing America's Early BanksNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Professor Bodenhorn has provided students of American business history with a thoughtful, well-written account of the role of state-chartered commercial banks in furthering the material progress of antebellum America."--Business History Review