7/04/2019

How America Reconciled Patriotism and Free Markets

"When The Federalist Papers’ authors set out what amounted to an agenda for putting America on the path to becoming a commercial republic, they had several things in mind. First, the American regime was to be republican. The governed were to be regularly consulted and public affairs would be conducted via accepted procedures and institutions which impeded arbitrary power. These in turn would direct politics towards realizing those decidedly common goods of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The same regime, however, was to be commercial. Republican government would be combined with a private enterprise economy constantly subject to the discipline of consumer preferences expressed through open and competitive markets. Federalists 44 and 62 stressed the necessity of the states and the new Federal government dispensing with the internal barriers that inhibited commerce. They also underscored how ever-expanding regulation would advantage those who we would call crony capitalists at the expense of “the industrious and uninformed mass of people.”"