Dr. Tiemann’s Historical Research
These are unusual times that we are living in and, with many of the foundation so our monetary systems being challenged, Dr. Tiemann set out to think more deeply about money and banking. He has been researching the historical antecedents to our federal monetary system, as originally conceived by Alexander Hamilton and established with the Compromise of 1790, and as more fully illuminated through a series of historical events occurring during and after the enormous economic expansion associated with Gold Rush California. Dr. Tiemann has found that researching Gold Rush history has provided a fertile, ab ovo context for thinking systematically about banking in general. Additionally, his study of original documents from the Gold Rush era have yielded deep insights and fresh vignettes into the colorful lives of important historical personalities, such as William A. Leidesdorff, Joseph Hawley, James King of William and William Tecumseh Sherman. He has enjoyed gleaning more intimate details of the financial activities of these colorful characters and placing them into context within the uniquely Californian banking idiosyncrasies of that era. Inspired by this original blend of banking, Gold Rush and early California history, Dr. Tiemann is now concurrently working on bringing important historical banking lessons into view through the lives of these notable figures for general readers. Below are some of his published working papers, talks and Teaching Notes he has developed.
The Alaskan fur rush and the Russian-American Company (January 2022) Dr. Tiemann has contributed his third classroom case study to the library of the Global History of Capitalism Project of the Oxford Centre for Global History at the University of Oxford. This case, The Alaskan Fur Rush and the Russian-America Company, is an in-depth look at the history of the Russian-American Company, the 19th-century fur-trapping and trading enterprise that established Russia’s presence in Alaska and California. Dr. Tiemann argues that as so often happens in businesses that exploit natural resources, after decades of over-hunting of fur-bearing animals, the Russian-American Company found itself burdened with a colossal stranded asset – the current State of Alaska. In support of this teaching center, Dr. Tiemann will be teaching the case for Oxford in June, 2022. This case study is made available by Oxford under a Creative Commons Copyright.
Historical Perspectives on Bitcoin (October 2021) Can history teach us anything about Bitcoin? Much of the technology behind Bitcoin and other crypto-assets may be novel, but the economic landscape into which their proponents hope to integrate them is not. Using historical examples, ranging from Russian fur trappers to the California Gold Rush, Dr. Tiemann examines how crypto-assets might evolve if these instruments become regular features of our economic lives.
Discounting Gold (April 2021) Dr. Tiemann continues to serve as an invited lecturer for Professor Christopher McKenna of the Oxford Centre for the Global History of Capitalism Project. In support of this teaching center, Dr. Tiemann has written a second teaching note Case Study, in conjunction with Dr. McKenna, that he will be teaching for Oxford in June, 2021. This Case Study covers the issue of the “resource curse” and endeavers to address whether and why that did or did not apply to California as a result of the California Gold Rush. Gold attracted thousands of emigrants to the state. At the height of the rush, California suffered from the worst symptoms of the resources curse: a speculative, land-grab atmosphere, poorly-developed agriculture and manufacturing, and an almost total reliance of imports paid for by exports of the natural resources—gold—and corruption and crime. Yet, despite these factors, California benefitted from the gold rush, turned the curse into a blessing and remains a hotbed of innovation, economic activity and adventure. This case study is made available by Oxford under a Creative Commons Copyright.
Money, Cattle Hides and William A Leidesdorff: California before the Gold Rush (August 2020) As an invited lecturer for the Oxford Centre for the Global History of Capitalism Project, Dr. Tiemann has written a teaching note Case Study, in conjunction with Dr. Oenone Kubie, that he will be teaching at Oxford University in October, 2020. This Case Study covers much of the history that Dr. Tiemann has been studying around the period of the American Gold Rush, which catalyzed the transformation of California into an economic power by the end of the 19th century. In particular, the note takes a look at William A. Leidesdorff, who arrived in the area in the early 1840s and built a successful business as a steamboat operator, hotel owner and merchant. This case study is made available by Oxford under a Creative Commons Copyright.
Monetary Stimulus (June 2020) Can an injection of liquidity — even a temporary one — into an economy where money is tight produce a meaningful improvement in economic conditions? This is the question that Dr. Tiemann explores in this note. He cites an economic fable and reviews historical records that revealed how the arrival of a Russian trading brig, the Baykal, bearing an official-looking Russian bill of exchange but otherwise empty, helped produce a type of localized economic stimulus during the Gold Rush era. Dr. Tiemann then explains how the economic stimulus currently being offered by the Congress in response to the dislocations caused by the coronavirus can have a meaningful effect on the economy.