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The First Wall StreetChestnut Street, Philadelphia, and the Birth of American Finance$
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Robert E. Wright

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780226910260

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226910291.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 October 2021

Transportation Elation

Transportation Elation

(p.118) 8 Transportation Elation
The First Wall Street
University of Chicago Press

This chapter demonstrates that although Philadelphia invested heavily in Pennsylvania's transportation system, it lost most of its trade to New York, Baltimore, and New Orleans. Philadelphia investors were therefore quick to invest in “internal improvement” concerns, companies incorporated to build turnpikes, canals, and, later, railroads. Alas, they could not prevent the inevitable—the trade of the continent flowed to New York via the Grand Canal (Erie Canal), and the trade of their own state flowed to Baltimore and New Orleans via mighty rivers. One of the three legs upholding Chestnut Street's financial ascendancy, deposits linked to its mercantile trade atrophied and eventually snapped. However, investors' efforts were not entirely in vain, as the improvements they funded laid the basic groundwork for Philadelphia's antebellum industrial revolution.

Keywords:   transportation system, industrial revolution, trade, finance

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