Miller Center

Eric Lomazoff

Government, Harvard University

The Life and Death of the Hydra-Headed Monster: Antebellum Bank Regulation and American State Development, 1781–1836

Lomazoff photo

Eric Lomazoff is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Villanova University.

Lomazoff's dissertation engaged the long, discontinuous, and tortured life of the Bank of the United States (1791–1811 and 1816–1836), the lynchpin of Federalist political economy which grew into a regulatory role vis-a-vis state-chartered commercial banks. Lomazoff used this neglected policy instrument of the Early Republic to address both micro- and macro-level themes within the broad literature on institutional development. A focus on multiple short-run episodes in the life of the Bank – its creation, conversion, postwar resurrection, and demise – permits the testing of standing disciplinary hypotheses concerning institutional choice, change, reproduction, and decline. By contrast, zooming out from these discrete historical moments presents an opportunity to evaluate early, if failed, national state-building efforts over the long durée. That is, the Bank's protracted and uneven career begs for a chronicle of antebellum financial state development and the forces which explain its sharp vicissitudes over time. Lomazoff argued that we may learn just as much about the early state of "court and parties" from the institutions which died away as from those which persistently organized antebellum American politics.

Fellowship year: 2010

Mentor: Stephen Skowronek, Yale University

Selected Recent Publications

"Symmetry and Repetition: Patterns in the History of the Bank of the United States." in Randall Parker and Robert Whaples, eds., Routledge Handbook of Major Events in Economic History (New York: Routledge, 2013): 3-14. 
"Turning (Into) 'The Great Regulating Wheel': The Conversion of the Bank of the United States, 1791-1811." Studies in American Political Development 26, no. 1 (April 2012): 1-23. 
"Speak (Again), Memory: Rethinking the Scope of Congressional Power in the Early American Republic.Tulsa Law Review 47, no. 1 (Summer 2011): 87-98. 
"Approval Regulation and Endogenous Consumer Confidence: Theory and Analogies to Licensing, Safety, and Financial Regulation." with Daniel Carpenter and Justin Grimmer, Regulation & Governance 4, no. 4 (December 2010): 383-407.

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