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Gilbert Imlay: Citizen of the World (review)

Gilbert Imlay: Citizen of the World (review) REVIEWS � 379 members as a ‘‘corporate class.’’ To be sure, the consistency of a few names among directors and shareholders provides ample evidence for the argument that there was indeed an ‘‘economic elite’’ who ‘‘profited disproportionately from . . . regional economic integration’’ in this pe- riod (201). The depiction of this cabal as a static group who remained suspicious of democratic governance and established corporate institu- tions to insulate themselves from popular sovereignty is more Beardian than the world Schocket actually describes. The author repeatedly ob- serves that corporations were ‘‘bound inextricably with the founding and development of American democracy’’ (13). Though corporate banking may have originated in Philadelphia as a means to craft economic policy, preempting the whims of a fickle Congress and a financially illiterate Pennsylvania legislature, the growing number of bank charters and incor- porations created by the state suggests that the narrative of corporations in early America is that democracy co-opted the institution rather than the reverse. The ‘‘corporate class,’’ then, is a more fluid, ever-expanding, and more democratic group than the author seems willing to acknowledge. Still, this criticism must not dampen an enthusiastic reception for this important contribution to the historiography http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

Gilbert Imlay: Citizen of the World (review)

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 29 (2) – Apr 19, 2009

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620

Abstract

REVIEWS � 379 members as a ‘‘corporate class.’’ To be sure, the consistency of a few names among directors and shareholders provides ample evidence for the argument that there was indeed an ‘‘economic elite’’ who ‘‘profited disproportionately from . . . regional economic integration’’ in this pe- riod (201). The depiction of this cabal as a static group who remained suspicious of democratic governance and established corporate institu- tions to insulate themselves from popular sovereignty is more Beardian than the world Schocket actually describes. The author repeatedly ob- serves that corporations were ‘‘bound inextricably with the founding and development of American democracy’’ (13). Though corporate banking may have originated in Philadelphia as a means to craft economic policy, preempting the whims of a fickle Congress and a financially illiterate Pennsylvania legislature, the growing number of bank charters and incor- porations created by the state suggests that the narrative of corporations in early America is that democracy co-opted the institution rather than the reverse. The ‘‘corporate class,’’ then, is a more fluid, ever-expanding, and more democratic group than the author seems willing to acknowledge. Still, this criticism must not dampen an enthusiastic reception for this important contribution to the historiography

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Apr 19, 2009

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