ISBN-10:
0674362136
ISBN-13:
9780674362130
Pub. Date:
06/01/1997
Publisher:
Harvard
The Greatest Nation of the Earth: Republican Economic Policies during the Civil War

The Greatest Nation of the Earth: Republican Economic Policies during the Civil War

by Heather Cox RichardsonHeather Cox Richardson

Hardcover

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Overview

While fighting a war for the Union, the Republican party attempted to construct the world's most powerful and most socially advanced nation. Rejecting the common assumption that wartime domestic legislation was a series of piecemeal reactions to wartime necessities, Heather Cox Richardson argues that party members systematically engineered pathbreaking laws to promote their distinctive theory of political economy.

Republicans were a dynamic, progressive party, the author shows, that championed a specific type of economic growth. They floated billions of dollars in bonds, developed a national currency and banking system, imposed income taxes and high tariffs, passed homestead legislation, launched the Union Pacific railroad, and eventually called for the end of slavery. Their aim was to encourage the economic success of individual Americans and to create a millennium for American farmers, laborers, and small capitalists.

However, Richardson demonstrates, while Republicans were trying to construct a nation of prosperous individuals, they were laying the foundation for rapid industrial expansion, corporate corruption, and popular protest. They created a newly active national government that they determined to use only to promote unregulated economic development. Unwittingly, they ushered in the Gilded Age.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674362130
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 06/01/1997
Series: Harvard Historical Studies , #126
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 342
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)
Lexile: 1540L (what's this?)

About the Author

Heather Cox Richardson is Associate Professor of American History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

What People are Saying About This

An excellent study of the economic ideas of the Republican party during the Civil War, and more particularly, of the legislation passed by the Civil War Congresses (the 37th and 38th Congresses). The real strength of Richardson's manuscript is her ability to lucidly explain Republican economic thought and untangle the complicated legislative process by which this thought was converted into economic legislation. The book skillfully analyzes the rise of cross-cutting influences. Richardson's discussion of bonds, banks, and the currency is the clearest analysis available of these exceedingly complex subjects. An important contribution to Civil War historiography.

William E. Gienapp

An excellent study of the economic ideas of the Republican party during the Civil War, and more particularly, of the legislation passed by the Civil War Congresses (the 37th and 38th Congresses). The real strength of Richardson's manuscript is her ability to lucidly explain Republican economic thought and untangle the complicated legislative process by which this thought was converted into economic legislation. The book skillfully analyzes the rise of cross-cutting influences. Richardson's discussion of bonds, banks, and the currency is the clearest analysis available of these exceedingly complex subjects. An important contribution to Civil War historiography.
William E. Gienapp, author of The Origins of the Republican Party, 1852-1856

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