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Bankrupt in America – A History of Debtors, Their Creditors, and the Law in the Twentieth Century - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Bankrupt in America: A History of Debtors, Their Creditors, and the Law in the Twentieth Century

Mary Eschelbach Hansen and Bradley A. Hansen

Abstract

Though the U.S. Constitution granted it the power to create a bankruptcy law, Congress did not pass the first permanent bankruptcy law until 1898. Bankruptcies rose from about one per 10,000 people annually in the first decades of the twentieth century to about one per 300 people at the turn of the twenty-first century. Bankrupt in America explains how bankruptcy evolved from an option that Congress seldom used, to an indispensable tool for businesses, to a central element of the social safety net for households, all in the span of a century. The analytical narrative unites the history of how ... More

Keywords: bankruptcy, institutional change, economic history, garnishment, usury, cliometrics, legal culture, interest groups, supply of credit

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780226679563
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226679730.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mary Eschelbach Hansen, author
American University

Bradley A. Hansen, author
University of Mary Washington