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History of Credit and Debt

The History of Credit & Debt – When Did The Dollar Arrive?

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The dollar was Thomas Jefferson’s idea. In the draft of his autobiography Jefferson stated, “I proposed therefore … to adopt the Dollar as our Unit of account and payment, and that it’s divisions and sub-divisions should be in the decimal ratio. I wrote some Notes on the subject, which I submitted to the consideration of the financier. I received his ... Read More »

The History of Credit & Debt – Money, Credit & Debt

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What is Money Money is nothing more than a way for people to exchange labor. Paper money can be thought of as a ticket entitling the holder to a certain amount of someone else’s hard work. While man lived a savage existence in history, he was not able to perform all functions necessary to break out of the routine of ... Read More »

The History of Credit & Debt – The Pilgrims

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Even the Pilgrims had credit and debt. In 1641, the Pilgrims consolidated their debts to London creditors through installments (or “estallments,” as they were recorded) of four annual payments. They were backed by financiers and had credit obligations to repay at rates that were often between 30 and 70 percent interest. Once the Pilgrims arrived and settlements began to spring ... Read More »

The History of Credit & Debt – The First Real Coins (Cattle Are Heavy)

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As the early banking system developed, people needed a way to pay for things. Carrying around cattle to settle a debt was not convenient. So, 1,200 years after Hammurabi laid down the law, the first widely-accepted coins were minted. Although it was not the very first coin, the Athenian silver “owls,” were one of the earliest to be accepted by ... Read More »

The History of Credit & Debt – Early Regulations of Interest & Credit

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During the rein of Hammurabi (1792 to 1750 BC) the first regulations of interest, forgiveness of debt and extension of credit were developed. Payments through a local banker or by written draft against deposit (early checks) were frequent and bonds to pay were treated as negotiable. Interest was rarely charged on advances (unlike today’s cash advances) by the temple or ... Read More »

The History of Credit & Debt – Very Early Debtors

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With the creation of methods to calculate interest and record transactions, along came debt. Debt was a powerful motivator in early times. It was used to make people work harder and be more efficient. Crop yields of farmers in debt were significantly higher than those without debt. If farmers could not pay back their loans, they would lose their farm ... Read More »

The History of Credit & Debt – Interest

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Now that financial agreements could be recorded, people wanted to be repaid. At first it was considered inappropriate to receive anything more than the original sum lent. Before long, however, the value of money in relation to time was discovered. Ancient merchants quickly learned that the loss of capital led to lost profits. The Sumerians were the first recorded culture ... Read More »

The History of Credit & Debt – Keeping Track

Map of the Mesopotomia region

The Beginning The credit and debt system began before the written word. Approximately 9,000 years ago man invented counting tokens to keep track of trades and obligations. In fact, the art of writing was invented to record our financial dealings. Keeping Track While the early counting tokens may have been a form of money, we don’t know for sure how ... Read More »

The History of Credit & Debt – Table of Contents

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Main Collection Keeping Track Interest Very Early Debtors Early Regulations of Interest and Credit First Real Coins – Cattle Are Heavy The Pilgrims Money, Credit and Debt When Did The Dollar Arrive? How Did We Get The $ Symbol Debtors’ Prison When Did Credit As We Know It Arrive In The U.S. Early Sources of Credit – Pawnbrokers Early Installment ... Read More »

The History of Credit and Debt

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By Steve Rhode Many believe we live in a time when our creditors force us into money troubles. When we find ourselves with a debt burden, the common lament is that we are victims of moneylenders, payday loan outfits, credit card companies and financing scams. But is that true? To blame our current debt woes on the “credit card” would ... Read More »

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