Trade and Commerce
Social historians have become skeptical, and rightly so, about such vague clichés as “the rise of the middle classes.” It would be no less an error, however, to underestimate the importance of the most dynamic social group in eighteenth-century Europe-the wholesale traders, merchant bankers, and a sprinkling of manufacturers. Varying in number, wealth, initiative, and respectability, European merchants and manufacturers were creating new forms of business and financial organization, committing energy and capital to wider areas, and acquiring an ever greater sense of self-confidence and social importance.
KeywordsCommercial Company Slave Trade Loan Contract Intimate Friend Atlantic Seaboard
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