Abstract

This essay evaluates the relative strength of sexual urges, the quest for wealth, and the importance of social prestige in the American side of the transatlantic marriage market through the adventures of a Scots émigré, Dr. Alexander Hamilton. Restrained by ambiguous Scottish sexual mores, a difficult financial situation, and the intent of colonial women to find mates among the wealthy, Dr. Hamilton was forced to delay marriage for years. His success in finding a wealthy wife from the elite Dulany family was due to his ability to use his social and cultural talents as a unique currency to substitute for actual wealth or kin contacts. In the American environment, on the periphery of the British empire, where the elite were most conscious of their social inferiority, Hamilton demonstrated that cultural assets could stand in place of the traditional financial capital that powered the marriage market at the upper levels of society.

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1897
Print ISSN
0022-4529
Pages
pp. 657-673
Launched on MUSE
2003-03-31
Open Access
No
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