Ross School - Senior Projects 2010

Student: Fredrik Walstam

Mentor: Matthew Aldredge


Title: Rise of the Credit Market


For my Senior Project I decided to learn about the various developments throughout history that have shaped our modern financial system. I’ve read certain novels that helped me on my journey but I had to do a lot of additional research on the various topics I covered. I decided to create two papers: one researching the history of the topic and one modern paper. The first paper covered various historical topics and how they contributed to the ever-changing world. The modern paper explains how the current system functions.  





When I first started looking into what I wanted to do for my senior project, I quickly realized that I wanted to do a project where I could write about a topic that interested me. Originally I proposed investing in the stock market and then write a side paper with my observations and research on modern economic concepts. I was assigned a math teacher, Julia Arena who would help me graph my presumed stock value increases but we quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to get the help I required with such a project. I still wanted to do research within the same field so after reading the Ascent of Money and thinking over the summer, I realized I wanted to do a more historical paper. I was assigned the history teacher of 10th grade, Matthew Aldredge. What I had come to learn over the summer was how big of a part the economy actually has played through history, and how various financial developments often were equally or more so important than political changes. As I felt that this new side of history opened up for me, I realized that I wanted to write a paper about just all of these developments and their relevance in history. In my paper I start from the foundation of societies, then the creation of money and as that follows my paper follows this chronological different timeline of the world up to our modern world. The Ascent of Money had left me with several “wow” moments where I had to put away the book for a minute to fully understand how big of a thing was being explained to me.  Often when reading about wars, my sources would mostly refer to the fact of how they financed their troops and as I moved up to the more and more modern warfare, I got a better understand of how it plays out in our current world. Also, as I went into the more modern material, the reading got much harder and I was forced to explain three page explanation within one simplified sentence, which was not always easy.

In the end I’ve gained more information about major historical events through time and by studying banks, companies and credit I’ve gained a better understanding of our current financial system and better comprehension of the recessions that appear several times within a century.

Works Consulted

Bierman, Harold. "The 1929 Stock Market Crash". EH.Net Encyclopedia. Mar.26 EH.Net 2008. Web


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Blumenthal, Karen. Six Days In October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929. New York: Atheneum Books For Young Readers, 2002. Print.

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Ferguson, Niall. The Ascent of Money. New York: The Penguin, 2008. Print.

Grossman, Richard. "US Banking History, Civil War to World War II". EH.Net Encyclopedia. 2008.Web Mar16

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Officer, Lawrence. "Gold Standard". EH.Net Encyclopedia, 26 Mar, 2008. Web

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Stengel, Richard, ed. "Person Of The Year." Time 28 Dec. 2010: 76. Print.

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Jennifer Waters, “Another shoe to drop: Bad credit-card debt could be next shot to economy, researcher says”; MarketWatch, September 30, 2008.
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“What was the first company to issue stock?" Welcome to Web. 06 Jan. 2010. <>.

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Community Member (Details)

Sandy Wyman is a parent at the school who works in a hedge fund industry.