Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Banking in Oklahoma before Statehood

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Banking in Oklahoma before Statehood

Article excerpt

Banking in Oklahoma Before Statehood. By Michael J. Hightower. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2013. Pp. [xxiij, 391. $29.95, ISBN 978 0-8061-4388-0.)

This useful survey of finance and business in Oklahoma before 1907 reviews a wide swath of the territory's history, as well as that of the southern plains. Michael J. Hightower begins his story with the American Revolution and political battles over finance in the early republic. He includes a history of Andrew Jackson's Bank War, a survey of steamboat transportation in and around Indian Territory, and a chapter on the Santa Fe trade and trading posts, before reaching post-Civil War Oklahoma. The last two-thirds of the book is focused on the territory itself, tracing its economic development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Hightower details the important role of stores and merchants in taking commerce into the rural countryside. Undeveloped transportation and communication hindered the growth of capitalism, and the territory was mostly dependent on barter. Merchants operated as small-scale bankers, providing loans to farmers and ranchers with land or livestock as collateral. After 1890, banks began to proliferate, and more formal financial structures existed to support a strengthened economic system calculated via property valuations, banking deposits, and financial reports. …

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