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Lincoln and the Economics of the American Dream Paperback – December 1, 1994
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As Boritt explains in the preface, Lincoln's "connections with political economy" "may appear to be dreadfully dull to some," but the author cautions that "it is indispensable." Lincoln first came to prominence in rural Illinois in the 1830s as an advocate for "better transportation - `internal improvements,' as Americans called it." As a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, Lincoln "supported the creation of many, though not all, private, river, canal, turnpike, and railroad companies." At the end of the first chapter, Boritt writes that Lincoln's "political activity was inspired, beyond the hope of personal or party gain, by a vision of endless material progress," which became the "American dream."
Because Lincoln's origins were humble, he often is portrayed as a champion of the common man, but, as Boritt observes, for Lincoln, "banking was a special interest," and, in 1835, he supported a state bank because, according to Boritt, "the Illinois economy needed banking facilities above all to support internal improvements.Read more ›
Boritt is not given to conjecture (though, he is given to hyperbole with his obvious admiration of Lincoln), and carefully builds his theses on a bed of primary evidence, almost solely relying on Lincoln's words, and the words of his contemporaries and those who knew Lincoln and worked with him. He builds a brilliant case for how Lincoln's core economic beliefs and underlying support for man to enjoy the fruit of his labor would define his entire life's work, from when he was a young man seeking office for the first time in Sangamon County in 1832 up through the White House.Read more ›