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Underwriters of the United States
How Insurance Shaped the American Founding
Cloth: 978-1-4696-6363-0 ($34.95)
University of North Carolina Press
Surveying the early United States from the vantage point of the marine insurance office, Hannah Farber makes readers think anew about the American Revolution and the unsettled decades that followed. With deep research and lucid prose, she fathoms an ocean of risk, and plumbs the moral philosophy of the paper pushers who trawled for profit in those stormy seas, and who shaped the fragile new nation in the process.
Farber fills her pages with a fantastically colorful community of characters at work in the often-shadowy underworld of finance. She has made people—and not always well-known leaders—come alive. That is rare in business history.
Addressing a subject that other scholars have overlooked, Farber makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the early republic. Insurance companies not only supported the expansion of American maritime enterprise and economic development; they also invested the capital they raised to underwrite the national government created by the Constitution of the United States. A premier example of scholarship revealing how money shaped the state.