A Vigorous Spirit of Enterprise

Merchants and Economic Development in Revolutionary Philadelphia
Thomas M. Doerflinger
Cloth price: $55
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Publisher: Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press
Imprint: OIEAHC
Cloth/Hardcover Publication Date: 02/1986
Reprint Date: 02/2001
Pages: 430
Paperback ISBN: 9780807849460
Paperback Publication Date: 02/2001


A social, economic, and political study of Philadelphia merchants, this study presents both the spirit and statistics of merchant life. Doerflinger studies the Philadelphia merchant community from three perspectives: their commercial world, their confrontation with the Revolution and its aftermath, and their role in diversifying the local economy. The analysis of entrepreneurship dominates the study and challenges long-standing assumptions about American economic history.

About The Author

Thomas M. Doerflinger, a securities analyst with PaineWebber Incorporated, received his doctorate in history from Harvard. He has published articles on early American business history and has taught history at two universities.


The Herbert Feis Award, American Historical Association (1986)

Bancroft Prize, Columbia University Libraries (1987)


“A solid, well-written, and brilliantly perceptive study of the economic structure and behavior of the merchant class in Revolutionary Philadelphia.”–Richard Alan Ryerson, The Adams Papers

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