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The Founding Fortunes

How the Wealthy Paid for and Profited from America's Revolution
Narrated by: Sean Patrick Hopkins
Length: Not Yet Known
Categories: History, American

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Publisher's Summary

In The Founding Fortunes, historian Tom Shachtman offers an in-depth look at a time when money became as vital as guns in securing victory on the Revolutionary War’s battlefields, and how some of America’s wealthiest men risked their fortunes to aid the new country even as they reaped benefits from its independence.

While history teaches that successful revolutions depend on participation by the common man, the establishment of a stable and independent United States first required wealthy colonials uniting to disrupt the very system that had enriched them, and then funding a very long war. While some fortunes were made during the war at the expense of the poor, many of the wealthy embraced the goal of obtaining for their poorer countrymen an unprecedented equality of opportunity, along with independence.

Tom Shachtman tells this story through tracing the lives of a dozen men who made and lost fortunes, and deeply affected the finances of the new country. In addition to nuanced views of the well-known wealthy such as Robert Morris and John Hancock, and of the less wealthy but influential Alexander Hamilton, The Founding Fortunes offers insight into the contributions of those often overlooked by popular history: Henry Laurens, the plantation owner who replaced Hancock as President of Congress; pioneering businessmen William Bingham, Jeremiah Wadsworth, and Stephen Girard; privateer magnate Elias Hasket Derby; and Hamilton’s successors at Treasury, Oliver Wolcott, Jr. and Albert Gallatin.

Revelatory and insightful, The Founding Fortunes provides a riveting history of economic patriotism that still resonates today.

©2020 Tom Shachtman (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

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