New Orleans, 1718-1812: An Economic History

New Orleans, 1718-1812: An Economic History

New Orleans, 1718-1812: An Economic History

New Orleans, 1718-1812: An Economic History

Excerpt

My interest in New Orleans derives from an earlier study of the grain trade in the Old Northwest. During several decades of the nineteenth century, New Orleans was a major grain distributing center for farmers north of the Ohio River-indeed, the only accessible center for many farmers for many years. While working on the grain trade, I thought it would be interesting to try to discover how the grain and provisions trade of New Orleans fitted into the total economy of the city; to isolate the factors that contributed to the rapid growth of New Orleans; and to understand why the city grew in the directions that it did, rather than in some other directions.

My original intention was to focus on the American period, 1803- 1861, and to devote an introductory chapter to the French and Spanish periods, based largely on secondary sources. However, I soon learned that, while much information was available relative to the political and social history of colonial New Orleans particularly during the Spanish period, little work, had been done on its economic history, and still less on the economic relationship between New Orleans and its successive mother countries. The opportunity to trace the growth of the city from its birth intrigued me, as the colonial era soon did, and the result was this volume. A second volume, hopefully, will follow, carrying the city's development to the Civil War.

I used whatever sources I could put my hands on. The resulting work is as much a synthesis of the work of other scholars as it is the fruit of original research. I hope that the ingredients were used in a sufficiently interesting way to produce a work of some relevance . . .

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