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|Title: ||Credit and social relations amongst artisans and tradesmen in Edinburgh and Philadelphia, c. 1710-1770|
|Authors: ||Paul, Katherin Tawny Wadsworth|
|Supervisor(s): ||Fox, Adam|
|Issue Date: ||22-Nov-2011|
|Publisher: ||The University of Edinburgh|
|Abstract: ||Credit was a central feature of the early-modern British economy. Due to shortages
of specie, men and women of all social ranks participated in the urban, consumer
marketplace by using credit. Historical research has convincingly shown that credit
was socially mediated and constructed, and as such it sheds light not only on
economic development, but also on contemporary culture. Several recent studies
address these issues, but two gaps in the historiography deserve further consideration.
The literature pertaining to personal credit and social relations has focused almost
solely upon England, neglecting a wider British and comparative Atlantic context.
Furthermore, the decades spanning the middle of the eighteenth century have not
been subjected to dedicated treatment, though this period has often been considered
an era when institutional development caused profound changes in the nature of
This thesis examines credit and social relations in the British Atlantic between 1710
and 1770, comparing case studies drawn from two provincial, urban contexts:
Edinburgh and Philadelphia. Particular attention has been given to artisans and
tradesmen who have hitherto been less well served by the Atlantic historiography.
Drawing on legal, institutional and personal records, the thesis begins by addressing
economic structures of petty credit, before progressing to consider social
constructions of credit and reputation and their change over time. The study
concludes that while structures of credit changed, credibility continued to be built
upon interpersonal trust, personal reputation, social capital and gender identity.
Furthermore, this ‘culture of credit’ transcended national boundaries. Similarities of
practice within two very different legal and institutional systems call into question
the perceived influence of these structures upon the behaviour of the lower-middling
|Sponsor(s): ||Economic History Society|
|Appears in Collections:||History and Classics PhD thesis collection|
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