My wife and I visited some of the historic sites around Boston last weekend. It was very cool to touch history and see buildings that were constructed in the 1600’s. It is a vivid contrast to things in Arizona where meaningful history only stretches back to the early 1900’s.
The park ranger at the Hartwell Tavern historic site gave us a detailed history of the property and the people who lived and fought near that tavern. He pointed out two laws in the community that amazed me because they would be rejected by contemporary American society.
1. Every able bodied male between the ages of 16 and 60 must serve in the militia. This service was born out of necessity because they were undermanned and outgunned by the most powerful army in the world at that time.
2. By law everyone must attend church on Sunday. It’s amazing that a young republic so bent on establishing a separation from the Church of England and its repressive regulations would mandate church attendance. That would be a hard sell today.
These laws are strict by today’s standards and I can imagine (I don’t know this) that there were several other laws regarding borrowing that the Colonial citizens would be required to follow:
1. You must repay your debt. This is biblical so it probably had great meaning to the early Christian citizens of colonial America. The same principal applies to microlending in third world countries. The money you borrow today must be repaid so your neighbor can borrower the money later. Today’s citizen has been conditioned to default on a loan because of no fear of the consequences.
2. You must have built a substantial credit history and be in good standing in the community to get a loan. There would be no loans for the recently employed or the younger generation. This seems prudent because the longevity of employment should be a large part of the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.
3. You must have something of value to offer as collateral. Loans would only be given to those people who have significantly valuable collateral outside of the property backing the loan. This cross default arrangement would be a huge disincentive for borowers to default on the underlying loan. Today it is very rare for someone to pledge additional collateral for a loan.
Today’s citizens of the United States are much different than their enacestors. What are we fighting for anymore? Are borrowers simply trying to get theirs before it’s all gone? Please leave a comment. Thank you.
- What Are Secured Transactions? (brainz.org)
- Government and Religion in Early American Culture (brighthub.com)
- Sample of a Promissory Note Template with Free Download (brighthub.com)
- Prosper Unveils 1-Year and 5-Year Peer-to-Peer Loans (eon.businesswire.com)