Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff

Fraud An American History

 By Edward J. Balleisen 


In this book, you will learn the history of fraud in America and the evolving efforts to combat it – from the age of P.T. Barnum through the eras of Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff.

Starting from the days of “buyer beware” in the early nineteenth century, Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff describes the gradual construction of regulatory institutions to protect consumers and investors – from the Gilded Age through the New Deal and the Great Society. It concludes with the recent era of deregulation, which has brought with it costly frauds, including the savings and loan crisis, corporate accounting scandals and the subprime mortgage crisis.

Product Details:
Copyright 2017
Hardcover, 496 Pages
Princeton University Press (January 24, 2017)

Table of Contents:


List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Part I: Duplicity and the Evolution of American Capitalism

Chapter One: The Enduring Dilemmas of Antifraud Regulation 3

Chapter Two: The Shape-Shifting, Never-Changing World of Fraud 14

Part II: A Nineteenth-Century World of Caveat Emptor(1810s to 1880s)

Chapter Three: The Porousness of the Law 43

Chapter Four: Channels of Exposure 75

Part III: Professionalization, Moralism, and the Elite Assault on Deception (1860s to 1930s)

Chapter Five: The Beginnings of a Modern Administrative State 107

Chapter Six: Innovation, Moral Economy, and the Postmaster General's Peace 143

Chapter Seven: The Businessmen's War to End All Fraud 174

Chapter Eight: Quandaries of Procedural Justice 208

Part IV: The Call for Investor and Consumer Protection (1930s to 1970s)

Chapter Nine: Moving toward Caveat Venditor 245

Chapter Ten: Consumerism and the Reorientation of Antifraud Policy 285

Chapter Eleven: The Promise and Limits of the Antifraud State 316

Part V: The Market Strikes Back (1970s to 2010s)

Chapter Twelve: Neoliberalism and the Rediscovery of Business Fraud 353

List of Abbreviations 385

Notes 387

Index 471