Early American History Seminar: Jeffrey Sklansky, University of Illinois at Chicago

Thursday, March 15, 2012

5:30 pm to 7:00 pm


Center for American History and Culture Programs
Early American History and Culture Seminar

“Paper Money and the Problem of Circulation in Provincial New England: Natural Law, Natural History, and Political Economy
Jeffrey Sklansky, University of Illinois at Chicago

Conflicts over the creation of paper currency in provincial New England were informed by a related ideological innovation: a model of social relations in which currency, commodities, persons, and publications were seen to “circulate” like bodily fluids, oceans, electricity, and the cosmic commerce of Christians and their Creator. The concept of circulation first emerged from the early modern discourses of natural law and natural history. This paper accordingly focuses on the Puritan minister John Wise and the physician-naturalist William Douglass, prominent spokespersons for and against paper currency, respectively, who exemplified the religious and scientific dimensions of the financial revolution in British America.  

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, e-mail the Scholl Center at scholl@newberry.org.  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.