Jefferson's bucolic dream for America was a society composed of farmers and merchants. In broad terms, this was the society in which he lived. The leadership of British America came out of the upper middle-class in England composed largely of merchant adventurers and landowners. These trading families operated on both sides of the Atlantic and routinely lobbied Parliament and the privy council on behalf of the port cities in England. While many American crops could have been grown in England, they blocked their importation because their relatives were large landowners in the South and traded with these ports. It was in the economic interest of the South, after our independence, to oppose tariffs. Port cities in the North and South would also oppose them. While Bourbon Democracy may have "returned" after the "Deal of 76," it had always existed in the South.
There has always been two opposing economic themes in American history, Jefferson's bucolic model and Alexander Hamilton's dream of an independent national economy supported by American industries and agriculture. It was behind Hamilton's wall of tariffs that the US became a major industrial nation. Republican Industrialists and their workers support tariffs in the nineteenth century, and I think this was the major reason that Ohio traditionally went Republican. Free labor vs. slave labor, along with tariffs vs. "free trade," were issues that fueled the American Civil War. Republicans have not always been stupid, and Democrats have not always been on the side of the angels. Neither party, at the present time, has a clue about economic development.
I believe the authors of this article would want to look at African-American history in the South, and their-post Civil War role as a working underclass, as opposed to white workers. Louisiana has always been corrupt! As a kid, the first slot machine I touched was in a roadside restaurant in that state. There was also a movie about corruption in Phenix City, Alabama, across the river from Columbus, Georgia, and Ft. Benning.
Pervis James Casey
Apr 22 2009 - 12:50pm