One Nation Under Debt: Hamilton, Jefferson, and the History of What We Owe / Edition 1

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Overview

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 stunning—almost 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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071543934
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/20/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 482,193
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert E. Wright is the Rudy and Marlyn Nef Family Chair of Political Economy in the Division of Social Sciences at Augustana College and is a curator for the Museum of American Finance. He is the author of scores of articles, entries, reviews, and chapters, and has authored or coauthored nine books. Wright has written for Barron's, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Forbes.com, and other prominent publications, and has appeared on NPR, C-SPAN, and the BBC.

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Table of Contents

Preface     vii
A Twinkle In The Eye: The Importance of Government Debt     1
Parentage: European Precedents     17
Conception: Financing Revolution     41
Gestation: The Constitution and the National Debt     75
Birth: Alexander Hamilton's Grand Plan     123
Youth And Maturity: The Public Debt Grows Up, Then Slims Down     161
Life: The Life and Times of Federal Bondholders in Virginia     187
Blessings: American Economic Growth     237
Death And Reincarnation: Jackson's Triumph and Failure     269
Appendix     285
Notes     333
Bibliography     371
Index     387
About the Author     421
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2008

    What a great read about an important topic!

    This book is not only informative, it is a great read. Who would have thought that somebody could write a page turner about the national debt??? The author clearly loves this topic and his enthusiasm shows through on every page. America's national debt is currently over $9 trillion dollars. It began its life almost as deeply in debt 'fewer dollars but each dollar could buy a lot more back then and the economy was smaller' as it is today. Yet, it managed to pay its debt off without causing too many disruptions to the economic or political systems. But the early politicians were more statesmen, not vote mongers like today, so we are not likely to pay our current debt off. I also like how the author says that both Hamilton and Jefferson were right about the debt. Hamilton said it was a blessing and it was, short term, a point the author proves with a ton of data and interesting stories about bondholders and sugar beet farmers. Jefferson said the debt was a curse and ultimately was proven correct.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2008

    What a great read about an important topic!

    This book is not only informative, it is a great read. Who would have thought that somebody could write a page turner about the national debt? The author clearly loves this topic and his enthusiasm shows through on every page. America's national debt is currently over $9 trillion dollars. It began its life almost as deeply in debt (fewer dollars but each dollar could buy a lot more back then and the economy was smaller) as it is today. Yet, it managed to pay its debt off without causing too many disruptions to the economic or political systems. But the early politicians were more statesmen, not vote mongers like today, so we are not likely to pay our current debt off. I also like how the author says that both Hamilton and Jefferson were right about the debt. Hamilton said it was a blessing and it was, short term, a point the author proves with a ton of data and interesting stories about bondholders and sugar beet farmers. Jefferson said the debt was a curse and ultimately was proven correct.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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