How did Robert Morris and Hyam Salomon save the Revolutionary War?

Answer: They financed the Revolution!

During the time from 1781 to 1784, Robert Morris served as the Superintendent of Finance, managing the economy of the fledgling United States. As the central civilian in the government, Morris was, next to General George Washington, “the most powerful man in America.” Hyam Salomon worked with Morris and records show that Salomon’s fundraising and personal lending helped provide over $650,000 (approximately $8.8 billion in 2013 dollars) in financing to George Washington in his war effort. His most meaningful financial contribution, however, came immediately prior to the final revolutionary war battle at Yorktown.

In August 1781, the Continental Army had trapped Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis in the Virginian coastal town of Yorktown. George Washington and the main army and Count de Rochambeau with his French army decided to march from the Hudson Highlands to Yorktown and deliver the final blow. But Washington’s war chest was completely empty, as was that of Congress. Without food, uniforms and supplies, Washington’s troops were close to mutiny. Washington determined that he needed at least $20,000 to finance the campaign. When Morris told him there were no funds and no credit available, Washington gave him a simple but eloquent order: “Send for Hyam Salomon”. Salomon raised $20,000, through the sale of bills of exchange, and Washington conducted the Yorktown campaign, which proved to be the final battle of the Revolution.

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References:
Rappleye, Charles. Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010.ISBN 978-1-4165-7091-2. p. 4.

Moran, Donald N. (October 1999). “Haym Salomon –The Revolution’s Indispensable Financial Genius”. Liberty Tree and Valley Compatriot Newsletter. Sons of Liberty Chapter; Sons of the American Revolution. RetrievedJuly 30, 2014.

Haym Solomon: The Man Behind the Myth of the Dollar’s Star of David”. Retrieved 29 June 2014.

 

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