Thomas M. Doerflinger's A vigorous spirit of enterprise : merchants and economic PDF

By Thomas M. Doerflinger

A social, fiscal, and political research of Philadelphia retailers, this examine offers either the spirit and facts of service provider lifestyles. Doerflinger stories the Philadelphia service provider group from 3 views: their advertisement international, their disagreement with the Revolution and its aftermath, and their function in diversifying the neighborhood financial system. The research of entrepreneurship dominates the research and demanding situations long-standing assumptions approximately American fiscal history.

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Whether for business reasons or comfort and status, the merchants did not live on the minor lanes and alleys that ran through the major blocks of the city. 27 This may explain why so few merchants are listed in the 1789 tax list as living in houses rated at under £150, for most such dwellings were probably on the side streets. As we have seen, even well-informed students have likened Philadelphia's merchants to the gentry of tidewater Virginia and the Hudson River valley. j. , 1908), 108-145. 41 Social Structure and Recruitment TABLE 3.

The Powel House. Built 1765-1766. Photograph by Cortlandt V. D. Hubbard. Courtesy of the owners and operators, The Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks Social Structure and Recruitment 29 PLATE 7. The Bishop White House. Built 1786-1787. Photo by Tom Davies. Courtesy of Independence National Historical Park Collection 3o Character of the Merchant Community What makes Bingham, Ross, and Morris so significant is that they were not exceptions to the conventional mores of the city's post-Revolutionary upper class, but were widely emulated social leaders.

If one of his trading partners failed to pay a debt on time—that is, "punctually"—he reduced his creditor's capital base and profit potential. Involvement with a merchant inclined to "slow pay" could thus be a costly mistake. If a debtor was prone to commit the further transgression of speculating with his creditor's money, he was a grave risk indeed. A merchant who acquired a reputation for such "unmerchantable" behavior did so at his peril; fellow traders would be loath to deal with him except on very unfavorable terms.

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A vigorous spirit of enterprise : merchants and economic development in Revolutionary Philadelphia by Thomas M. Doerflinger


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