Rise and Fall of a Frontier Entrepreneur: Benjamin Rathbun, Master Builder and Architect (New York State Series)

ISBN: 9780815603375
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Edition: 1st Paperback Edition
Publication Date: 1996-06-01
Number of pages: 241
  • $20.96

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The story of Benjamin Rathbun's ruin reads like a primer for
the scandals and studied neglect that triggered America's
economic crisis today. Banker, builder and architect, a revered
citizen of the flourishing American northwestern frontier-in
the end he was also a convicted forger. And his forgeries were
of such gravity that they added momentum to the Panic of
1837, the rapid collapse of a system of credit and debt that
brought down the young nation's financial system.
Rathbun was surely a rascal, but a rascal somehow of
great decency. In Buffalo, a half-built landscape was strewn
with Rathbun's broken vision. Concerned for the thousands
who had depended upon him, he begged for release from
jail long enough to fix the damage. Instead, he spent five
years in prison shouldering the blame for others who fled to
Texas, beyond the reach of American law.

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