Financial Founding Fathers

The Men Who Made America Rich

Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen

Financial Founding Fathers
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Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen

216 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2006
Cloth $25.00 ISBN: 9780226910680 Published May 2006
When you think of the founding fathers, you think of men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin—exceptional minds and matchless statesmen who led the colonies to a seemingly impossible victory over the British and established the constitutional and legal framework for our democratic government. But the American Revolution was about far more than freedom and liberty. It was about economics as well. 

Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen here chronicle how a different group of founding fathers forged the wealth and institutions necessary to transform the American colonies from a diffuse alliance of contending business interests into one cohesive economic superpower. From Alexander Hamilton to Andrew Jackson, the authors focus on the lives of nine Americans in particular—some famous, some unknown, others misunderstood, but all among our nation’s financial founding fathers. Such men were instrumental in creating and nurturing a financial system that drove economic growth in the nascent United States because they were quick to realize that wealth was as crucial as the Constitution in securing the blessings of liberty and promoting the general welfare. The astonishing economic development made possible by our financial founding fathers was indispensable to the preservation of national unity and of support for a government that was then still a profoundly radical and delicate political experiment.  

Grand in scope and vision, Financial Founding Fathers is an entertaining and inspiring history of the men who made America rich and steered her toward greatness.
Library Journal
"The early financial history of the United States merits additional popular and scholarly attention, and Wright and Cowen provide biographical information on nine founders of America's financial and economic systems, from Alexander Hamilton to Andrew Jackson and Nicholas Biddle.… The book emphasizes biographical information with limited explanation of financial and economic arguments.… This book is useful for large public libraries so that general readers may understand formative economic ideas in American history."
David Liss | Washington Post
"Wright and Cowen, who have separately written important scholarly works on the financial history of the early republic, here repackage their research for readers of popular history, and do so impressively."
Gerald Gunderson | EH-Net
"The narrative seems natural, not stretched to cover a framework that skews the examples. You will enjoy this book and it can be used for a wide range of audiences from a supplementary reading for undergraduates to a departure for discussions in seminars to a good read on your flight home from a conference."
Timothy Cuff | American Historical Review
"This book, a welcome addition to the literature, meets its objective of providing an accessible introduction to the importance of the nation's financial infrastructure to its economic and political success."
Russell R. Menard | History
"The Financial Founding Fathers works. I would recommend if for beginning students and anyone interested in a non-technical introduction to the financial history of the Young United States."
Lendol Calder | The Historian
"Seeking a readership beyond academia, Wright and Cowen tell a story that is brisk yet richly detailed. . . . For nonspecialists and teachers like this reviewer who slight financial history, there are many fine anecdotes and some real surprises."
1. In the Beginning
2. The Creator: Alexander Hamilton (1757?-1804)
3. The Judas: Tench Coxe (1755-1824)
4. The Sinner: William Duer (1743-1799)
5. The Savior: Albert Gallatin (1761-1849)
6. Angels Risen and Fallen: Thomas Willing (1731-1821) and Robert Morris (1735-1806)
7. The Saint: Stephen Girard (1750-1831)
8. Apocalypse No: Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) and Nicholas Biddle (1786-1844)
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