Recent movements such as the Tea Party and anti-tax "constitutional conservatism" lay claim to the finance and taxation ideas of America's founders, but how much do we really know about the dramatic clashes over finance and economics that marked the founding of America? Dissenting from both right-wing claims and certain liberal preconceptions, Founding Finance brings to life the violent conflicts over economics, class, and finance that played directly, and in many ways ironically, into the hardball politics of ...
Recent movements such as the Tea Party and anti-tax "constitutional conservatism" lay claim to the finance and taxation ideas of America's founders, but how much do we really know about the dramatic clashes over finance and economics that marked the founding of America? Dissenting from both right-wing claims and certain liberal preconceptions, Founding Finance brings to life the violent conflicts over economics, class, and finance that played directly, and in many ways ironically, into the hardball politics of forming the nation and ratifying the Constitution-conflicts that still continue to affect our politics, legislation, and debate today. Mixing lively narrative with fresh views of America's founders, William Hogeland offers a new perspective on America's economic infancy: foreclosure crises that make our current one look mild; investment bubbles in land and securities that drove rich men to high-risk borrowing and mad displays of ostentation before dropping them into debtors' prisons; depressions longer and deeper than the great one of the twentieth century; crony mercantilism, war profiteering, and government corruption that undermine any nostalgia for a virtuous early republic; and predatory lending of scarce cash at exorbitant, unregulated rates, which forced people into bankruptcy, landlessness, and working in the factories and on the commercial farms of their creditors. This story exposes and corrects a perpetual historical denial-by movements across the political spectrum-of America's all-important founding economic clashes, a denial that weakens and cheapens public discourse on American finance just when we need it most.
Mixing lively narrative with fresh views of America’s founders, in Founding Finance, William Hogeland offers a new perspective on America’s economic infancy.
Hogeland (Declaration: The Nine Tumultuous Weeks When America Became Independent: May 1-July 4, 1776) examines how populists striving for economic and social justice were derailed in the founding of the United States and how both today's Tea Party and Occupy movements mistakenly look to the Founding Fathers for historical justification. He shows that wealthy merchants and planters dominated society as lenders and landlords. He cites the North Carolina Regulators, the Pennsylvania Committee of Privates, and the Whiskey Rebellion as populist attempts at egalitarian reform and notes how, in defense, the economic elite formulated a strong federal government built on centralized banking with taxing and military powers. Familiar names such as Alexander Hamilton, John and Samuel Adams, and George Washington figure prominently in his study but so too do egalitarian radicals such as Thomas Paine and Herman Husband. Hogeland concedes that he is at variance with consensus historians. VERDICT This provocative work will displease members of both the right and the left, but it is recommended to academic and other readers who wish to dig beneath history's surface and note both the populist and anti-populist dimensions of the nation's founding.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA
William Hogeland writes and speaks on startling connections between American history and today’s political and cultural struggles. He is the author of the critically acclaimed narrative histories Declaration and The Whiskey Rebellion, as well as a collection of essays, Inventing American History. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic, American History Magazine, Boston Review, Salon, Huffington Post, and elsewhere. He has also appeared on CBS’s Good Morning, America, PBS’s History Detectives, and C-SPAN’s Book TV.
Chapter One. The Founders, Finance, and Us (2012)
Chapter Two. Regulate, Riot, Occupy (1765–1771)
Chapter Three. Two Revolutions? (1771–1776)
Chapter Four. Conceived in War Debt (1776–1783)
Chapter Five. History on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1913–2012)
Chapter Six. An Existential Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (1784–1789)
Chapter Seven. It's Hamilton's World ... We Just Live In It (1790–1791)
Chapter Eight. Crackdown and Lockup: Cincinnatus, the Whiskey Rebels, and the End of Thomas Paine (1792– )
Chapter Nine. Gather Your Armies (2012)