Underwriters of the United States

  • Presented:  February 24, 2022
  • Duration:  1 hour 28 minutes 


A startlingly original story of risk, money, & power in the founding era! Join us for a very relevant presentation to learn how American maritime insurers used their position at the pinnacle of global trade to shape the new nation. The international information they gathered and the capital they generated enabled them to play central roles in state building and economic development. During the Revolution, they helped the U.S. negotiate foreign loans, sell state debts, and establish a single national bank. By the early nineteenth century, insurers were no longer just risk assessors. They were nation builders and market makers. Author presentation to be followed by live Q&A.

About the author:
Hannah Farber, an assistant professor of history at Columbia University, and author of the new book, Underwriters of the United States, will discuss the role of the transnational system of marine insurance in shaping the founding of the United States.

Her book relates how during the Revolutionary War, marine insurers helped the new country negotiate foreign loans, sell state debts, and establish a national bank and how they increased their influence after the war by lending money to the federal government and its citizens.


Hannah Farber
Assistant Professor of History
Columbia University

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