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Products for grant FEL-267379-20

Banking on Slavery in the Antebellum American South
Sharon Murphy, Providence College

Grant details:

Banking on Slavery: Financing Southern Expansion in the Antebellum United States (Book)
Title: Banking on Slavery: Financing Southern Expansion in the Antebellum United States
Author: Sharon Ann Murphy
Abstract: The rapid spread of slavery into the frontier South during the 1820s and 1830s was dependent upon the availability of financial support for slaveholders, which came from both traditional commercial banks as well as new types of banking institutions specifically designed to meet the needs of a slave economy. The ability and willingness of commercial banks to alter traditional banking operations to meet the unique needs of a frontier economy was critical to the success and expansion of the slave economy by the mid-nineteenth century, and the use of enslaved individuals as loan collateral was central to these financial relationships. This financialization—which transformed enslaved lives from physical bodies into abstract capital assets—was driven by the financial demands of the slaveholders pouring into the frontier South, by the boom-and-bust cycle of the nineteenth-century economy, and by the related state-level experimentation with the legal structure and function of commercial banks. This book sheds light on how the financial relationships between banks and slaveholders worked across the South throughout the nineteenth century. A full assessment of the willingness, and sometimes eagerness, of bankers to push the boundaries of accepted banking practices and break altogether with banking norms in order to employ human assets provides a more accurate picture of the true depth to which the slave system had penetrated the country’s economic institutions.
Year: 2023
Primary URL:
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-0226825137
Copy sent to NEH?: No