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The Strange Life of 'Lord' Timothy Dexter

Stashed in: Freakonomics

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Lord Timothy Dexter was many things.

He was a famed 18th century entrepreneur -- one who made a series of apparently harebrained transactions, and somehow emerged handsomely rewarded each time. He was a poor, uneducated leather craftsman who, by fortuitously (and stupidly) speculating on the Continental dollar, became one of the richest men in Boston, and who then unsuccessfully lobbied for entry into elite social circles for decades. He was, in his own words, a “Classic Progressive ‘Libperel’” -- and despite his atrocious spelling, he was also a published author and self-proclaimed philosopher. 

Lord Timothy Dexter was many things, but he was not a Lord: this was a title he bestowed upon himself, with great personal satisfaction.

Most importantly, Lord Dexter was one of America’s first famed eccentrics -- yet, in the annals of history, he has been largely forgotten. This is a tragedy. Though he constantly yearned to be accepted, Lord Dexter refused to compromise his strange ways; in doing so, he paved the way for all aspiring American weirdos.

Why would he call himself a Lord? Because he was eccentric?

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