J. L. Bell

The Boston Bankruptcy That Led to the American Revolution

In early 1765, Boston’s business world was rocked with the news that Nathaniel Wheelwright could not pay all his debts. His promissory notes had been treated as virtual currency in the colony, and over the next several months many more people, from a Boston selectman to the mother of Dr. Joseph Warren,were forced into bankruptcy.

This talk looks at the roots of that crisis in British imperial policy and family dynamics, and at its ripple effects in the Revolutionary period.

[Recorded on March 8, 2014.]

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      J. L. Bell is proprietor of Boston1775.net and author of The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War and numerous articles about Revolutionary New England. Living in Massachusetts, he has spoken at History Camp Boston every year since its inception. Bell has edited books, directed writing conferences, and administered a non-profit organization linked to a local historic site.