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debt,

obligation in services, money, or goods owed by one party, the debtor, to another, the creditor. When contested, debts are collected by a civil suit upon which the judge renders a judgment, and an execution is levied on the debtor's property. In ancient nations debt was associated with slavery because the insolvent debtor and his household were in many cases turned over to the creditor to perform compulsory services. In early Rome the insolvent was given into custody of the creditor for 60 days prior to his sale as a slave, subject to such treatment as pleased the creditor. That arrangement was mitigated in 494 B.C. by the first of the uprisings of the Roman people; turbulence in Rome afterward was to a large extent occasioned by the desire to restrain creditors. In Greece the reforms of SolonSolon
, c.639–c.559 B.C., Athenian statesman, lawgiver, and reformer. He was also a poet, and some of his patriotic verse in the Ionic dialect is extant. At some time (perhaps c.600 B.C.) he led the Athenians in the recapture of Salamis from the Megarians.
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 had a similar origin. In ancient Israel, every 50th year—the year of jubilee—Jewish debtors were freed and their obligations were canceled. Sumerian and Babylonian kings also periodically proclaimed jubilee periods when debts over seven years old were forgiven. Imprisonment for debt, which once crowded prisons, was ended in theory in England and the United States by laws enacted in the 19th cent. The laws of bankruptcybankruptcy,
in law, settlement of the liabilities of a person or organization wholly or partially unable to meet financial obligations. The purposes are to distribute, through a court-appointed receiver, the bankrupt's assets equitably among creditors and, in most instances, to
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 are designed to apply the resources of debtors to their debts and thereafter to remove such legal obligations.

Bibliography

See D. Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years (2011).

References in classic literature ?
The same acclamations were bestowed upon Prince John, although he was indebted for them rather to the splendour of his appearance and train, than to the popularity of his character.
To five little stone lozenges, each about a foot and a half long, which were arranged in a neat row beside their grave, and were sacred to the memory of five little brothers of mine - who gave up trying to get a living, exceedingly early in that universal struggle - I am indebted for a belief I religiously entertained that they had all been born on their backs with their hands in their trousers-pockets, and had never taken them out in this state of existence.
The other Queen for whom they retain a great veneration is Candace, whom they call Judith, and indeed if what they relate of her could be proved, there never was, amongst the most illustrious and beneficent sovereigns, any to whom their country was more indebted, for it is said that she being converted by Inda her eunuch, whom St.
And seeing this goodly sum reminds me that I have a friend who is indebted to a churchman for this exact amount.
To this manly spirit, posterity will be indebted for the possession, and the world for the example, of the numerous innovations displayed on the American theatre, in favor of private rights and public happiness.
From something that he told me in our journey hither, I have reason to think Bingley very much indebted to him.
The 38-year old, who was born and raised in Pakistan, said he is proud to represent South Africa and will forever be indebted to the country for making his dream to play cricket come true.
IANS Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor says he will always remain indebted to music directors with whom he worked in various films.
Summary: Shivpuri (Madhya Pradesh) [India] June 16, (ANI) : An indebted farmer unable to pay off a loan of Rs.
But I am forever indebted to what Emmerdale did for me and for my career, and for the writers giving Mandy such great storylines.
This means if the indebted households had spent 163,000 won on repaying debt out of their disposable income of 1 million won in 2012, they spent 232,000 won for the same purpose last year, the BOK analysis said.
According to this criterion, Macedonia is still in the group of moderately indebted countries.