Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943


Books

Unless otherwise indicated, all Institute books are published and distributed by The University of North Carolina Press. For ordering information, call 1.800.848.6224 or fax 1.800.272.6817. Please note that these books can be purchased only through UNC Press and not through the Institute.

The Power of the Purse

A History of American Public Finance, 1776–1790

E. James Ferguson

Cloth ISBN 9780807808047

Paper ISBN 9780807840283

Copyright 1961 by the University of North Carolina Press

A Prize-Winning Book

  John H. Dunning Prize, American Historical Association (1962)

Visit the University of North Carolina Press web page for this book.

Careful and thorough research, clear statements of fact, a judicial temper, and a mastery of confusing detail help to make Fergusons book an outstanding one, the best study of national finances during the formative years of the Republic.

--The American Historical Review


A brilliant and comprehensive description of American finance during the Confederation period.

--The Economic History Review


Careful and thorough research, clear statements of fact, a judicial temper, and a mastery of confusing detail help to make Ferguson's book an outstanding one, the best study of national finances during the formative years of the Republic.

--The American Historical Review


This work easily ranks among the handful of truly important books ever published on the period.

--Journal of Southern History


The book is the most thoroughgoing account of the financial history of the period. Professor Ferguson is to be congratulated for his successful effort to enrich our collections of quantitative data, including an estimate of the financial cost of the Revolutionary War to the United States.

--The William and Mary Quarterly


Ferguson has written a book which will be regarded with respect long after other works dealing in whole or in part with the 'economic origins' of the constitution have declined into obscurity. . . . It is a model of judiciousness, never hesitating to assert what the evidence seems to warrant, yet careful always not to base a conclusion on partial or doubtful evidence.

--The English Historical Review


Ferguson has combined scholarship and restrained judgment in admirable fashion.

--The Journal of Economic History


With an admirable mastery of the intricacies of early American public finance, Ferguson studies closely the technical problems of financing the war with paper money and requisitions, the clash of political faiths growing out of efforts to achieve national unity, the political and social tendencies of Robert Morris' counterrevolution in finance, the political aims behind the state assumption of the federal debt in the postwar period, and the complex issues of the funding and assumption of 1790. . . . No student of the years from 1776 to 1790 can with impunity neglect Mr. Ferguson's book.

--The New England Quarterly