Commercial Republic Initiative Event at Yale

Ariel Ron remarks on a recent event that he organized at Yale’s Center for the Study of Representative Institutions.

On February 25, Francois Furstenberg, an associate professor in the Johns Hopkins University History Department, gave an engaging and thought-provoking talk entitled “Transatlantic Land Speculation in the 1790s in the United States: An Economic Interpretation?” Furstenberg explored the role of European capital in early American land development, offering the striking argument that French aristocrats and British financiers played a key role in extending US sovereignty to territories sparsely populated by Anglo-Americans in the 1790s, a period when the federal government and the states were too insecure and resource-poor to support settlement with spending on infrastructure and the like.

Furstenberg’s talk drew on two of his recent works, When the United States Spoke French: Five Refugees who Shaped a Nation (2014), and “The Significance of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier in Atlantic History,” which appeared in the June 2008 issue of the the American Historical Review. Furstenberg is also the author of In the Name of the Father: Washington’s Legacy: Slavery, and the Making of a Nation (2006).

The talk was organized as part of the Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions’ participation in the Commercial Republic Initiative. The next speaker in the series will be Jessica Lepler of New Hampshire University, who will discuss the Panic of 1837 when she comes to Yale on April 16.


Ariel Ron (University of California, Berkeley, PhD) – Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions

Dr. Ron was a visiting research associate at the NcNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and a lecturer for the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey during the 2013-2014 academic year. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Program in Early American Economy and Society at the Library Company of Philadelphia.  He has taught courses on the American Civic War and 19th century political economy.  He has published “‘Scientific Agriculture’ and Economic Development in the American School of Political Economy” in the Journal of the History of Economic Thought.