Networks, trust and risk mitigation during the American revolutionary war : a case study

Downs, Carolyn Mary (2017) Networks, trust and risk mitigation during the American revolutionary war : a case study. Economic History Review, 70 (2). pp. 509-528. ISSN 0013-0117

[thumbnail of Economic History Review Accepted.]
PDF (Economic History Review Accepted.)
Economic_History_Review_Accepted..pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial.

Download (580kB)


This article takes a case study approach to the question of how entrepreneurs developed and used networks to support trade during the American Revolutionary War (American War of Independence). Using the business letter books of Daniel Eccleston of Lancaster covering January 1780 to December 1781 the paper shows how he used trust-building activities and developed open networks in Britain and the West Indies in order to build, sustain, maintain and diversify his commercial activities to mitigate risk and develop new opportunities. Ecclestons’s letters illustrate a competitive market in which entrepreneurs helped drive the industrial revolution through stimulating demand and encouraging trade. They show that mutual trust was the foundation of strong networks, and that networks were significant in underpinning entrepreneurial success through allowing the mitigation of business risk and offering the opportunity for diversification supported by the network. The paper makes use of the work of Casson (1995; 2011), Haggerty (2012), Pearson and Richardson (2001) and Wilson and Pop (2003a; 2003b) .

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Economic History Review
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Downs, C. (2017), Networks, trust, and risk mitigation during the American Revolutionary War: a case study. The Economic History Review, 70: 509–528. doi:10.1111/ehr.12385 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? networkstrustamerican revolutionary warrisk mitigationatlantic tradeindustrial revolution west indieshistoryeconomics and econometrics ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
06 May 2016 07:47
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 23:48