Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Simon Middleton

Committee Member

Fabricio Prado

Committee Member

Paul Mapp


Franklin, Nature, and Authority: Iconography of Pennsylvanian Paper Money, 1723-1751-This article looks at paper money as a social tool that Pennsylvanians used to navigate local transactions and how materially money reinforced ideas of its stability while establishing the Assembly’s authority to oversee economic development. This article argues that the choices printers like Benjamin Franklin made of what to put on paper money reflected changing ideas of authority colonial Pennsylvania. The descriptions and engravings on the notes referred to different forms of authority and the natural environment in Pennsylvania, but these were not small coincidences. These images and descriptions work to establish and convey a particular sentiment. Pennsylvanians did not engage with money as scraps of paper, rather, interactions with paper money represented far more than the value of twenty shillings printed on the note. The design on Pennsylvanian money is noteworthy both for what they do, and do not, say. By the mid-eighteenth century, the use of paper money in Pennsylvania saw considerable success from the provincial perspective. The descriptions on notes reveal continued attempts to determine the boundaries of printed money and the basis of authority to create money. Domesticating Pirates: Impact of Mahogany as a Commodity of Empire-This article provides an account from 1744 to 1790 with a focus on the economic and territorial implications of Mahogany for the British Empire and how Baymen invoked a moral economy as British subjects whenever they advocated for full rights and support from the Board of Trade and Plantations. Secondly, it explores the usage of Mahogany as a commodity of empire for both its geopolitical and economic consequences. Conflict over mahogany cutting boundaries effectively expanded British claim and benefit to the area, even when both the British and Spanish Empire considered territorial claim and harvesting illegal. Baymen, merchants, and the Board of Trade used Mahogany as a commodity of empire to strengthen claims of territory and increase revenue for import markets in North America. Across the late 1770s and 1780s, there was an increase in the importation of raw lumber into North American ports when compared to the 1740s. The value of Mahogany markets was rooted in its non-economic impacts for the British Empire as much as it was in its impact on North American and British lumber and furniture markets as well as in the West African slave trade.



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