Roswell Colt: Entrepreneurship in the Early Republic
Roswell Colt of Paterson, New Jersey came of age during the Early Republic. A successful entrepreneur, he invested in a variety of projects including the once moribund Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures (S.U.M.), a public/private company organized by Alexander Hamilton and his associates to promote the industrial development of Paterson, a new town built along the Passaic River. Where Hamilton failed, Colt succeeded. The S.U.M. became the cornerstone of his successful business career. His economic portfolio was diverse; he invested in railroads, textile mills, weapons factories, real estate, salt works, and banks. He mingled with politicians such as Daniel Webster, served as an economic and political advisor to Nicholas Biddle and his cousin, Samuel Colt, and dined with Philip Hone. He felt at home in Paterson, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. His personality, values, instincts and economic strategies fit in well with the emerging market economy.
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