Errors expected: the culture of credit in rural New England, 1750-1800

TitleErrors expected: the culture of credit in rural New England, 1750-1800
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsVickers, D
JournalThe Economic History Review
Volume63
Pagination1032-1057
ISBN Number0013-0117
KeywordsCanada: Pre-1913 (N210), Canada: Pre-1913 (N910), Consumer credit, Credit ratings, EARLY-AMERICA, Economic history, Economic History: Financial Markets and Institutions: U.S., ECONOMICS, Financial Institutions and Services: General (G200), History, HISTORY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, Medieval, Northern America, Regional and Urban History: U.S., Studies, U.S
Abstract

This article uses farm diaries from eighteenth-century New England recast as account books in order to describe more accurately the rules of exchange and the culture of credit that prevailed in early America. This culture, which was postmedieval yet pre-modern, derived its fundamental characteristics from the fact that it connected participants who dealt with one another as formal equals before the law. It employed strategies inside and outside the market, and, rather than embracing or rejecting commercial activity, aimed to use whatever means necessary to achieve for householders the goal of comfortable independence.