John P. Gates

Document Type


Publication Date



Baltimore, East Indies, early globalization, expansion of Baltimore, international trade, merchants, Robert Gilmore, Smith v. Gilmor, Walter Dorsey, early 19th century


As the young United States entered the 19th century, the City of Baltimore had become a major center of America’s international commerce. Baltimore had quickly risen from a relatively small town on the Chesapeake Bay to the home of the country's third busiest trading port and one of its fastest growing cities in less than two decades.

The case of Smith v. Gilmor (M.D. 1816), a lawsuit between two prominent Baltimore merchants, was emblematic of the early days of globalization and the confusion this clash of cultures caused in the world of international trade. The controversy in this case is placed over the backdrop of how the merchants and sailors of Baltimore helped to expand America’s economic influence across the globe during the early years of the nation despite the overwhelming power of the old European trading monopolies.


Law | Legal History

Included in

Legal History Commons