"Transforming Waste into Wealth: The Political Economy of Alcohol in the Leeward Islands, 1670-1737"

OI Colloquium with Lila O’Leary Chambers Alcohol played a crucial role in supporting the Leeward Islands’ transition from a “society with slaves” to an entrenched “slave society” across the early eighteenth century. Rather than acting solely as a signifier of planter excess, this chapter reveals that white settlers and enslaved and free African and African-descended peoples incorporated it in… Read More

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Private Profits and Public Affairs

Join us for an OI Author Conversation with Hannah Farber and Michael Zakim The rise of capitalism and the expansion of the market economy transformed the early U.S. republic, reshaping relations within the labor force as well as the relationship between state and society. As contingent as… Read More

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Capital, Deception, and the Heirs of Daniel Parker

WMQ author Tom Cutterham (October 2018) offers further thoughts on his piece, “‘A Very Promising Appearance’: Credit, Honor, and Deception in the Emerging Market for American Debt, 1784—92” (William and Mary Quarterly, volume 75, no. 4). by Tom Cutterham Where is the line between entrepreneur and con-artist? That’s the question that animates Jane Kamensky’s account of early nineteenth-century Boston financier Andrew… Read More

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Selling Empire and the 1760s Textile Debate

Today’s post is part of our series marking the 75th anniversary of the Omohundro Institute by exploring the OI books that have had an impact on a scholar’s life. by Abby Chandler This particular story begins at the Newport Historical Society in the summer of 2005. I had just completed the first year of a doctoral program which would result in a dissertation on sexual misconduct trials in colonial New England and my first book, Law and Sexual Misconduct in New England, 1650-1750: Steering Toward England. I was in Rhode Island because I was interning at the NHS and my supervisor had asked me to create a first person interpretive program for a Loyalist named Martin Howard who had lived in their Wanton-Lyman-Hazard house. Among his multiple endeavors, in 1764 Howard helped found an organization known as the Newport Junto, whose members who supported the expansion of the British Empire in the mid-eighteenth century by advocating for a wide range of political causes and interests. They believed the solution for Rhode Island’s bitter partisan politics was for Rhode Island to become a royal colony instead of a chartered colony. They supported the Sugar and Stamp Acts. They published a long series of letters signed by O.Z. in the Newport Mercury in 1764 and 1765 campaigning for home textile production in Rhode Island. Read More

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