Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Face ValueThe Entwined Histories of Money and Race in America$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Michael O'Malley

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226629377

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226629391.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 October 2019

This New Black Flesh Coin

This New Black Flesh Coin

Chapter:
(p.11) Chapter One This New Black Flesh Coin
Source:
Face Value
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226629391.003.0002

During the colonial period, Americans were forced to rethink money. In response to the lack of gold or silver in North America, they invented new forms of money that depended on social agreement, rather than natural value. These new forms of money emphasized the infinite potential of labor rather than the finite stock of material goods. As a result, paper money upset the idea of “natural” class distinctions. Moreover, Americans adopted racial slavery, a system based on the idea of natural, intrinsic difference but also deeply embedded in market exchange and negotiation. This chapter focuses on the colonial Atlantic economy and the special conditions that affected the English colonies in North America, examining how, in the origins of modern economics, the meaning of “specie” and “species” blurred. It compares paper money, which made value from nothing, with slavery, and argues that Americans resorted to racial slavery in part because there was no “natural” standard of value and character in commerce at the time.

Keywords:   money, North America, gold, social agreement, value, labor, paper money, slavery, commerce, economy

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.