Blogs > Liberty and Power > Jeffersonianism Interred

Mar 31, 2007 10:51 pm

Jeffersonianism Interred

For historian Arthur A. Ekirch Jr., the decline of American liberalism tracked the rise of nationalism and the corporate state, the intimate alliance between business and government. He equates liberalism -- libertarianism -- with economic freedom and property rights for the common citizen, not just for an aristocracy. From the relative, though imperfect, laissez-faire periods of the Jefferson and Jackson presidencies, the United States moved almost unswervingly to become what Albert Jay Nock would call a"Merchant-state" in which the central government heavily intervened on behalf of particular business interests, hampering the independence and progress of upstart competitors as well as workers. For most people, this is what the word" capitalism" would come to denote. (See "TGIF: Arthur A. Ekirch Jr.,'s The Decline of American Liberalism.")

The Civil War was the great impetus in this direction....
Read the rest of this week's TGIF column,"Jeffersonianism Interred," at the website of the Foundation for Economic Education.

Cross-posted at Free Association.

comments powered by Disqus