The South’s historic defence of economic freedom
Southern Nationalist Network
January 27, 2012
In 1984 Dr Leonard Liggio, professor of history and law at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, spoke for the Mises Institute about the history of hard-money in the United States. In the excerpt from that speech linked below Dr Liggio traces back the struggle for hard-money (a strong, stable currency which is not inflated by government and is generally backed by gold) to disastrous inflationary schemes inflicted upon the British and French by their governments in the early 1700s. These schemes (the Mississippi Bubble and the South Seas Bubble) were well-known by the Founding Fathers who attempted to avoid the British and French mistakes of costly war, the resulting high debt and monetary inflation to pay off that debt. As Dr Liggio notes, Thomas Jefferson was a student of the great French Classical Liberal economists of the early 1800s who were the best in the world at that time in defending free trade, hard-money and economic freedom. For decades, Jean-Baptist Say’s A Treatise on Political Economy was the standard economic text book in US schools and universities. Jefferson had Say’s work translated into English (it’s possible that he translated it himself) and encouraged its wide use. As a result, Americans generally had an even stronger understanding of the importance of economic freedom than did the British in that age. Southerners generally held fast to this position but in the North there arose a secular and perverted form of Puritanism (which MacDonald King Aston wrote about at length in his book Yankee Babylon) that supported inflation, tariffs and government manipulation of the economy. Throughout the late 1700s and early 1800s though, the Jeffersonian position (which was picked up and carried on by the Jacksonian Democrats) held far more popularity than the Neo-Puritan concepts that came out of New England. Dr Liggio describes the Northern promotion of the then radical concept of government schools as an attempt on the part of these Yankees to push their ideas about economic intervention and political centralisation onto the young, having realised that this was the only way their ideas would ever prevail. Throughout most of the nineteenth century Southerners continued to oppose inflation, tariffs and public school, resisting the Northern push for far greater government intervention and control. Of course, this political and social struggle ultimately became a physical struggle, with the North conquering the South and forcing its agenda upon the entire United States. Public schools, railroad subsidies, banking privileges and massive debt were fastened upon Southerners.