This history focuses on the credit generating function of American banks. It demonstrates that banks aggressively promoted economic development rather than passively following its course. Using previously unexploited data, Professor Bodenhorn shows that banks helped to advance the development of industrialization. Additionally, he shows that banks formed long-distance relationships that promoted geographic capital mobility, thereby assuring that short-term capital was directed in socially desirable directions. He then traces those institutional and legal developments that allowed for this capital mobility.
"In A History of Banking in Antebellum America Howard Bodenhorn provides an excellent analysis of the nature of banking and short-term credit markets before the Civil War, detailing the contributions of these financial institutions to the economic development in the northern and southern regions of the United States. This significant treatment of the role of banks in economic growth represents an important shift of focus from discussions dealing primarily with bank panics and financial instability, and it will be of interest to all economists and historians concerned with the relation between bank finance and economic change." Stanley Engerman, University of Rochester "Professor Bodenhorn's work both integrates earlier research and greatly extends our understanding of the evolution of the short-term capital markets in the United States. The book is certain to have an impact upon our interpretation of institutional evolution in the antebellum period. It should be a 'must read' for all serious economic historians of the United States." Lance E. Davis, California Institute of Technology "This volume...will be useful for anyone interested in the history of banking in the US--not only in the period covered by the book, but in the modern era as well. All Libraries." Choice "A History of Banking in Antebellum America is an important work and sets the stage for more research on antebellum capital markets." EH.NET "This is a substantial finding that by itself would justify recommending this book to readers of this JOURNAL. Bodenhorn's analysis of the role of banks and short-term capial markets in financing the development of the American economy serves only to strengthen that recommendation." Journal of Economic History "Andrew jackson's famous veto--so often interpreted as a blow against economic changes--may well have helped spur the development of a truly integrated financial market. Such findings, conveyed in lucid prose, will make Bodernhorn's book valuable reading for all historians of the antebellum era." John Majewski, The Journal of American History "...his study remains an important contribution to out understanding of antebellum American banks. His indefatigable research has unearthed a wealth of new information about the both the purveyors and the consumers of bank credit, the operation of the credit market, and the central role of the financial sector in the economic development of antebellum America." Business History Review "Any scholar who purports to understand nineteeth-century U.S. economic history, or the theoretical dynamics of economic development, should read A History of Banking in Antebellum America carefully...Bodenhorn successfully challenges the traditional, textbook views if the antebellum economy and financial system. Not content to stop there, he proceeds to build an edifice upon which a new interpretation of U.S. economic development might emerge." Jrnl of Interdisciplinary His "Howard Bodenhorn has produced a real winner in his attempt to deal with the long-standing question of the role played by commercial banks in the early economic development of the United States...This book is required reading for historians who wish to understand the critical role that financial intermediaries played in the growth and development of antebellum America...Kaplan's book will be profitably read by those who wish to acquire a concise and nonjudgmental account of the rise and fallof what may have been the boldest economic experiment of the early republic." Journal of the Early Republic