“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.
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