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dc.contributor.authorEdwards, Laura F.
dc.date.accessioned2022-08-17T17:23:07Z
dc.date.available2022-08-17T17:23:07Z
dc.date.issued2022
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.13051/18192
dc.descriptionVol. 33:2en_US
dc.description.abstractIt is such an honor to have the opportunity to engage with Claire Priest’s Credit Nation: Property Laws and Institutions in Early America. Priest’s articles have long been on my graduate students’ lists for comprehensive exams, and they are often cited as among the most influential of their readings. This past spring, when a student was asked in her oral exam to come up with turning points in the colonial era, she immediately said 1732. Why, asked the questioner, a bit confused, expecting the usual dates associated with wars or political events or even the dates associated with the development of slavery. In fact, the questioner followed up with one of those dates: Why not 1619? The student replied with remarkable confidence: 1732 was the date of the Debt Recovery Act, which made real estate and enslaved property available to satisfy creditors’ claims. That, in her mind, changed everything. Credit Nation explains how the Debt Recovery Act and a host of other legal measures did just that: changed everything, by building the availability of credit into the legal order and, thereby, fueling capitalist development. The implications upend basic assumptions in the scholarship of early America. They shift the chronology of economic change from the nineteenth century to the eighteenth century. They shift the location of legal innovation, bringing Virginia and its agricultural economy into focus alongside New York and its commercial economy. They shift the means of legal change, from appellate decisions to statutes and from centralized states to local governments, which developed in the way that they did to keep all the necessary records. And they shift the targets of law, from the property usually associated with industrial development to that associated with the agricultural economy, in the form of real estate and enslaved people.en_US
dc.titleCommentary on Claire Priest’s Credit Nation: Property Laws and Institutions in Early Americaen_US
rioxxterms.versionNAen_US
rioxxterms.typeJournal Article/Reviewen_US
refterms.dateFOA2022-08-17T17:23:08Z


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