Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Gilded Age

A commenter stopped by to repeat the liberal meme that the "Gilded Age" was the result of laizze faire capitalism and we don't want to do that again do we?

Unfortunately, that is just liberal revisionism. The excesses of the Gilded Age were as much a product of government intervention as libertarians claim is occuring in today's world.

Americans' sense of civic virtue was shocked by the scandals associated with the Reconstruction era, including corrupt state governments, massive fraud in cities controlled by machines, political payoffs to secure government contracts (especially the Crédit Mobilier of America scandal regarding the financing of the transcontinental railroad), and widespread evidence of government corruption during the Ulysses S. Grant administration (see {Whiskey Ring. Led by the Bourbon Democrats, especially Samuel J. Tilden and Grover Cleveland]], there was a call for reform, such as Civil Service Reform. More generally there was a sense that government intervention in the economy resulted in favoritism, bribery, kickbacks, inefficiency, waste and corruption. The Bourbons Democrats led the call for a free market, low tariffs, low taxes, less spending and, in general, a Laissez-Faire (hands-off) government.
Now those were Democrats that I could stand behind.

1 comment:

  1. The Bourbons Democrats!!!?!!!

    "Bourbon Democrats" may sound like fun, but they were nothing but a coterie of wealthy, corrupt wheeler-dealers whose only interests were feathering their own nests and keeping small farmers and labor out of power. The Bourbons did not need to win, and seldom did; they only needed to keep control of the party.

    A member of the Whitney family who was the treasurer of Standard Oil was a Bourbon Democrat.