Highlighting America’s market-heavy social policies, American Bonds illuminates how political institutions became involved in the nation’s lending processes. This book examines the evolution of securitization and federal credit programs - from federal housing finance policy and mortgage-backed securities to national land credit policy, Sarah Quinn shows that since the Westward expansion, the U.S. government has used financial markets to manage America’s complex social divides, and politicians and officials across the political spectrum have turned to land sales, home ownership, and credit to provide economic opportunity without the appearance of market intervention or direct wealth redistribution.
"In compelling detail, Quinn shows that credit is a durable, supple, but often invisible tool of domestic statecraft. For more than two centuries, the U.S. government’s regulation of finance spurred development and dramatically refashioned America’s social and economic landscape. With this insightful analysis, we can appreciate how credit became a key site of social and political conflict."
― Bruce Carruthers, Northwestern University
“American Bonds traces the historical development of the U.S. mortgage market over two centuries, and with it the evolution of credit as a powerful lever of statecraft. Quinn’s meticulously researched account shows how credit has long been central to policymakers’ attempts to resolve particularly American dilemmas of growth and distribution. This satisfying, accomplished book elaborates as no other work has done the ways in which credit organizes the American state and polity.”
“In American Bonds, Quinn performs an improbable alchemy. With superb insight, she transforms the seemingly arid technical terrain of credit markets into a vivid political, sociological, and moral territory. This book will attract not only specialists but also anyone interested in learning why and how government policy has shaped American lending practices.”