The American History and Music Project(TM) Parlor Lyceum series:"Salem's Fate: The Decline & Fall of Salem as World Trader in the 1820s" Robert Booth
June 23, 2010
In 1820, Salem was the richest place, per capita, in America, the eighth-largest in population, and a center of culture, finance, insurance, and publishing. But a worldwide depression and changes in Congressional policy and the rise of the industrial economy had a profound impact on Salem's shipping, and forced the merchants to explore new lines of business. Stephen White, merchant, led the effort to create a modern Salem, reflected in unification of the town's long-divided politics, the building of East India Marine Hall, the founding of the Barton Square Independent Church, and the industrial ambitions of Salem Mill Dam Corporation. These efforts were interrupted in 1830 by the assassination of White's adoptive father, Capt. Joseph White, among the seaport's richest men. Stephen was framed for the murder; the trial exposed a dark underside, and Salem was never the same. Join historian Robert Booth as we explore the surprising saga of "Salem's Fate."