Female Capitalists: Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Early American Colony
March 26 @ 7:00 pm
The early American economy exuded dynamism in every sense– both boundless opportunity and great peril met each citizen that engaged it. WAr, depression, and massive debts brought the system to the brink of collapse, but remarkable entrepreneurial and innovative energy saved it from becoming a failed post-colonial regime. In agriculture, manufacturing, and finance alike, men, and, unbeknownst to most modern observers, women, poured tremendous amounts of investment and creative vigor into developing the untapped potential that came with independence from Great Britain.
This lecture follows three female Virginians: Martha Bland, Catherine Flood McCall, and Lucy Lions Hopkins- as they navigated the tumultuous years between 1790 and 1815. Viewing the early American economy- and the industries in which they specialized- through their eyes, this lecture will examine how women in early republican Virginia participated in, and helped to shape, their economic and political realities.
After developing the broader economic world in which Bland, McCall, and Hopkins operated, this lecture will discuss each woman’s entrepreneurial activities and examine how those ventures led them to purchase the debt of the new US Government. Securing the financial future of some and leading others to bankruptcy, these financial decisions had profound effects on how Virginia’s female capitalists perceived and interacted with their citizenship in the new United States.