History: The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson


The Ascent of Money is a book written by a great writer, Naill Ferguson. In his book, he has attempted to display to his audience the historic background of money and how the financial systems began. He has articulately presented the historical background of money in a way that no other writer has ever done. This essay seeks to analyze the book from a critical angle to see the extent the author has articulated his case.

In this book, The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson displays the fact that money is the main pillar that supports human advancement. In addition, he argues that financial historical accounts are indispensable in studying the development of money. Through Ferguson’s professional approach, common chronological pointers emerge in an innovative and a professional manner. It seems like within no time the development of a new beginning is imminent. For instance, a boom in the market for art and construction was created when Italian bankers approved Arabic arithmetic.

The main arguments in the book

One of the main arguments in the book is the rise of the Dutch and the role it played in the development of the money system The ascendance of the Dutch republic is viewed as the achievement of the world’s first contemporary bond market in bankrupt Habsburg tyranny. Similarly, the genesis of the French uprising is traced back to a stock market as a result of an apprehended Scot murderer. With his transparency and vigor, Ferguson expounds about fundamental financial institutions and notions by showing their origins.

In the Ascent of Money he combines his writing skills in a careful manner to give lay readers a fascinating explanation of international financial historical development. Coincidentally, the book was launched at the same time as an eponymous television series that has by now been shown in most of the English speaking regions in the world. Both the film and the book are immeasurably enjoyable and readily available, but the latter perhaps makes for a more convenient platform.


The Introduction prepares readers for the authors thoughtfully outline of the story that displays the initial stages of the development of money. The author is disturbed by the recurrent hostility to financial agents and spiritual minorities linked with the early-modern European history. In the first years of the 17 century, the development of money systems had taken a turn in Europe.

This was despite the fact that the development was still determined by the demand of costly and persistent warfare and the objective of monopolizing business with the East. This spill of European monetary advancement had in reality paved the way for the manufacturing and industrial upheaval. The development of money in this period introduced the setting that would allow the creation of a centralized bank hence the creation of the central bank idea.

Succeeding chapters display Ferguson’s analysis. Titled, Human Bondage, Chapter Two investigates the clarity of the European monetary course. It begins with describing the prevalence of Florentine citizenry ant its participation in financing the Nation’s liabilities in the 14th century. Netherlands was not left behind in the monetary revolution. Besides, during the 17th century the country had adopted the borrowing systems. The Dutch were intelligent to finance their battles by overruling Amsterdam as the market for a complete assortment of new securities.

Theories sounding the development of money

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are typified by Anglo-French resistance. But here, Ferguson sees a wide opening stuck between protestant Britain where community debt non-payment became inexistent and it increased by many-folds. The powers of landed nobility lessened while a specialized national service became more influential and the government bond issues lost credibility. Remarkably, the increase of British administration bonds and the admiration of its faith permitted Whitehall to have access to loans in foreign countries and this led to the decline of Napoleon’s influence.

According to Ferguson, European financiers were unwilling to get involved in the purchase of bonds. This unexpected instance is raised just before the end of the chapter when he is in a few words talking about the Bush Administrations’ hefty financial plan. Chapter Four discusses a myriad of issues including the implications of Hurricane Katrina on the U.S. and how it affected the motivation that the Americans had. Other global calamities that have been discussed include the great fire of London which led to the development of insurance covers. In this chapter, Ferguson argues that men were being driven by the urge to accumulate property. The author acknowledges that people were obsessed with land ownership.

Ferguson asserts that most Families had their homes. He connects this to the astounding community revolution. The expansion of home ownership is supported by other writers such Fannie Mae. Ferguson does a magnificent job of explaining the association linking the Great economic Depression to the current finical constrains experienced around the globe. In essence, the last chapter is committed to China’s recovery in the twenty-first century. The book cleverly considers whether this might eventually result in a disastrous Sino-American martial conflict. This paper is therefore a concise review of the Ascent of Money.


The paper has critically interrogated the author’s achievement in arguing out his case in the subject. The development of money has been given a chronological approach that allows the reader to understand the step-by-step process in the development of money. The book has not only discussed the development of money but also the development of the financial systems that exist today. It is a clear and concise work of art that describes the real development of the current currency systems.

This review has tried to examine the book chapter-by-chapter picking up the themes and stories represented from each one of them. The book is an easy to read work of literature and it is attractive to both the elite financial experts as well as the laymen. He has used a very simple language and tone in his book although he is explaining very complex societal issues of global concern.

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Premium Papers. 2021. "History: The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson." June 12, 2021. https://premium-papers.com/history-the-ascent-of-money-by-niall-ferguson/.

1. Premium Papers. "History: The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson." June 12, 2021. https://premium-papers.com/history-the-ascent-of-money-by-niall-ferguson/.


Premium Papers. "History: The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson." June 12, 2021. https://premium-papers.com/history-the-ascent-of-money-by-niall-ferguson/.