October, 2021

Cronyism

Liberty versus Power in Early America, 1607–1849
  • Patrick Newman

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Like Rothbard before him, Dr. Newman has authored a book that is masterfully researched and captivatingly written. Even the most voracious reader of American history will never see some of America's "Great Men" the same way again.

Cronyism: Liberty versus Power in America 1607-1849 describes the evolution of political favor seeking in early American history, from the colonial era to the Mexican War. Newman argues that cronyism emerged from the perennial clash between the forces of liberty and power. When the interventionist Federalists, National Republicans, and Whigs controlled the government, special-interest policies—central banking, protective tariffs, businesses subsidies, territorial expansion, and so on—drastically increased. However, after the libertarian Jeffersonian Republicans and Jacksonian Democrats assumed the command posts, cronyism only moderately declined before resuming its upward march. “Power,” Lord Acton teaches us, “tends to corrupt,” and slowly but surely the proponents of limited government turned into the privilege granting parties they previously despised.

This important work shows the neglected side of history the mainstream consensus doesn't want you to know: how politicians routinely dipped their hand in the public trough to benefit themselves and their supporters. Newman leaves no corrupt dealing unexposed, tracing the path of who lobbied for what legislation and how they profited at the public's expense.