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Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers"How a Nineteenth-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea Changed American Life"$
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Tamara Plakins Thornton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626932

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626932.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

The Prudent Man

The Prudent Man

(p.135) Chapter Six The Prudent Man
Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers

Tamara Plakins Thornton

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter follows Bowditch’s professional activities and personal life between 1815 and 1823, an era in which Salem entered a period of decline. Along with townsman Joseph Story, Bowditch emerged as a leading figure in establishing the legal foundations and working practices of trusts, an institution that served the individual and class interests of American social elites. He managed the fall-out of a local bank scandal, an inside-job theft that exposed the lax business practices of elite corporations and called into question the trustworthiness of the “gentlemen” who ran them. He encountered another gentleman scoundrel in the new publisher of his Navigator, even as he coped with family difficulties and tragedy. Meanwhile, Bowditch’s involvement in Boston’s elite intellectual, political, social, and business circles intensified, until in 1823 he moved to Boston to run a financial corporation.

Keywords:   Bowditch, Nathaniel, Salem, Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts, Elites, Trusts, Banks and banking, Business conduct

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