Nation of Deadbeats An Uncommon History of America's Financial Disasters

ISBN-10: 0307474321

ISBN-13: 9780307474322

Edition: N/A

List price: $19.95
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Description: The story of America is a story of dreamers and defaulters.  It is also a story of dramatic financial panics that defined the nation, created its political parties, and forced tens of thousands to escape their creditors to new towns in Texas, Florida, and California.  As far back as 1792, these panics boiled down to one simple question: Would Americans pay their debts—or were we just a nation of deadbeats?From the merchant William Duer’s attempts to speculate on post–Revolutionary War debt, to an ill-conceived 1815 plan to sell English coats to Americans on credit, to the debt-fueled railroad expansion that precipitated the Panic of 1857, Scott Reynolds Nelson offers a crash course in America’s worst financial disasters—and a concise explanation of the first principles that caused them all. Nelson shows how consumer debt, both at the highest levels of finance and in the everyday lives of citizens, has time and again left us unable to make good.The problem always starts withthe chain of banks, brokers, moneylenders, and insurance companies that separate borrowers and lenders.  At a certain point lenders cannot tell good loans from bad—and when chits are called in, lenders frantically try to unload the debts, hide from their own creditors, go into bankruptcy, and lobby state and federal institutions for relief.With a historian’s keen observations and a storyteller’s nose for character and incident, Nelson captures the entire sweep of America’s financial history in all its utter irrationality: national banks funded by smugglers; fistfights in Congress over the gold standard; and presidential campaigns forged in stinging controversies on the subject of private debt.A Nation of Deadbeatsis a fresh, irreverent look at Americans’ addiction to debt and how it has made us what we are today. 

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Book details

List price: $19.95
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 6/4/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 368
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

Preface A Republic of Deadbeats
A Few Technical Terms
Duer's Disgrace
A Botanizing Excursion
Monkey Jackets, the Uncorked Mississippi, and the Birth of Caterpillar Banks
The Second Bank, the Monkey Jacket War, and Tenskwatawa's Revenge
The Politics of Panic, the Economics of Rags
Leviathan
Of Swamps and Calculus
Ceres Americana
A Storm of Wheat
Crosses of Gold
Who Put the Roar in the Roaring Twenties?
Conclusions, Conclusions
Postscript Here Be Dragons: What's Wrong with How Historians and Economists Have Written About Financial Panics
Acknowledgments
Notes
Photographic Credits
Index
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