Question 7: Was Lincoln the first Big Government president?
Yes. Lincoln was in favor of the Hamiltonian vision of a strong centralized government and a centrally planned economy. This is the beginning of crony-capitalism-socialism-fascism — the transformation from republic to empire. Some characterize Lincoln’s policies as mercantilist as he favored corporate welfare subsidies, protectionist tariffs, and central banking. Lincoln gave the U.S. its first income tax and Greenbacks. Bankers loved Lincoln – think the National Banking Acts of 1863-1864. The Lincoln-Douglas debates offer an excellent glimpse into Lincoln’s political economy.
McLanahan says: “And all the political economic woes we point to today – all the problems with federal spending, all the problems with the central banking system, all of these problems point their origins back to this time period when the South could no longer block this stuff… the Gilded Age, the populist movement, this in so many ways is a by-product of this war and the Hamiltonian system being forced down Americans’ throats.”
What is really meant by “reconstruction”? Does “reconstruction” mark the change from “union” to “empire”? What do you think?
Below: Tom DiLorenzo with Robert Wenzel on “Jon Stewart and his Lying Lincolnians”