Robert Wright on "Hamilton's Blessed Debt"

Robert Wright on \

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 | 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Alexander Hamilton argued that the debt the new federal government inherited from the American Revolution would be a blessing, so long as the total owed to creditors did not become "excessive." This talk will explain Hamilton's conception of excessive debt and show that the national debt, as reformed and revitalized by Hamilton, indeed served to cement the young nation together and to spur economic growth, precisely as Hamilton predicted. Proof positive of the debt's blessedness will be traced to some unlikely places, including slave plantations in Virginia, family farms in Upper Canada and the quarter decks of Dutch ships.

About the Speaker
Robert Wright is the Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana University, where he teaches courses in business, economic, financial and policy history. He is the editor or co-editor of 21 volumes and the author or co-author of 18 books, including The Poverty of Slavery: How Unfree Labor Pollutes the Economy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). Wright is one of the Museum's guest curators and a member of the Financial History editorial board.

Presented in partnership with the AHA Society as part of CelebrateHAMILTON 2017.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.