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Underwriting the United States with Hannah Farber

July 16, 2022 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

How Insurance Shaped the Founding of America

Join the Bidwell House Museum on Saturday July 16th for our 3rd history talk lecture of the season, Underwriting the United States with Hannah Farber.

Unassuming but formidable, 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 national bank. Afterward, they increased their influence by lending money to the federal government and to its citizens. Even as federal and state governments began to encroach on their domain, maritime insurers adapted, preserving their autonomy and authority through extensive involvement in the formation of commercial law. Leveraging their claims to unmatched expertise, they operated free from government interference while simultaneously embedding themselves into the nation’s institutional fabric. By the early nineteenth century, insurers were no longer just risk assessors. They were nation builders and market makers.

Hannah Farber, an assistant professor of history at Columbia University, researches politics and economy in colonial North America, the early American republic, and the Atlantic world. Her first book, Underwriters of the United States: How Insurance Shaped the American Founding, was published in November 2021 by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and UNC Press. Professor Farber holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a series editor of “American Beginnings, 1500-1900” at the University of Chicago Press.

This lecture will be held at the Tyringham Union Church at 128 Main Rd in Tyringham. This will be an in-person lecture, with the option to also watch a livestream via Zoom. All Zoom participants will receive a link to access the lecture a couple of days in advance.

You can purchase tickets on the website in advance or in-person at the door.

This program is sponsored in part by grants from the Monterey, Tyringham and Sandisfield Cultural Councils, local agencies which are sponsored by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.


July 16, 2022
11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Tyringham Union Church
128 Main Road
Tyringham, MA 01264 United States


The Bidwell House Museum

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