Conceived in Liberty Volumes 1-4 Hardcover – May 25, 2011
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- Item Weight : 4.55 pounds
- Hardcover : 1616 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1933550988
- ISBN-13 : 978-1933550985
- Publisher : Ludwig von Mises Institute; First Edition (May 25, 2011)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
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Rothbard explains in the preface - ''I see the liberty of the individual not only as a great moral good in itself (or, with Lord Acton, as the highest political good), but also as the necessary condition for the flowering of all the other goods that mankind cherishes: moral virtue, civilization, the arts and sciences, economic prosperity. Out of liberty, then, stem the glories of civilized life.''
PART I Europe, England, and the New World
1. Europe at the Dawn of the Modern Era
2. New World, New Land
Interestingly, Rothbard starts with Europe in the twelfth century to explain colonial America. Very discerning. Presents the reasons for the voyages of discovery from multiple viewpoints, Portuguese, French, English, Russian and Spanish. Focuses on the change from individual free trade to state controlled 'mercantilism'. Mentions the complaint of the English that the freedom to trade was guaranteed in Magna Carta. Excellent!
Covers the English men, Raleigh, Drake, etc., and companies who discovered and settled America. Makes a fascinating connection with the destruction of Ireland and the destruction of the natives in America. Same goal, selfish domination. Comments on the Tudors and their creating methods of control, especially the selling of destructive monopolies.
PART II The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century
3. The Virginia Company
4. From Company to Royal Colony
5. The Social Structure of Virginia: Planters and Farmers
6. The Social Structure of Virginia: Bondservants and Slaves
7. Religion in Virginia
8. The Royal Government of Virginia
9. British Mercantilism over Virginia
10. Relations with the Indians
11. Bacon’s Rebellion
13. The Carolinas
14. The Aftermath of Bacon’s Rebellion in the Other Southern Colonies
15. The Glorious Revolution and its Aftermath
16. Virginia After Bacon’s Rebellion
As the chapters above indicate, Rothbard presents a detailed analysis of the Virginia and Carolinas. Highlights the destructive impact of the monopolies. These are created by the crown in order to collect revenue from the purchasers. The resulting poverty requires oppressive, cruel political oppression.
The cruelty continues with the importation of English bond servants, some kidnapped, especially children from England. Indians are captured and enslaved. Later, even a larger number of African slaves enter Virginia. Horrible result, requiring even more oppression due to the repeated slave revolts. Details the causes and effects of Bacon's revolt, one hundred years before American revolution. Fascinating!
PART III The Founding of New England
17. The Religious Factor
20.The Puritans “Purify”: Theocracy in Massachusetts
21. Suppressing Heresy: The Flight of Roger Williams
22. Suppressing Heresy: The Flight of Anne Hutchinson
24. Rhode Island in the 1650s: Roger Williams’ Shift from Liberty
27. Joint Action in New England: The Pequot War
29. Suppressing Heresy: Massachusetts Persecutes the Quakers
30. Economics Begins to Dissolve the Theocracy: Disintegration of the Fur Monopoly
31. Economics Begins to Dissolve the Theocracy: The Failure of Wage and Price Control
32. Mercantilism, Merchants, and “Class Conflict”
34. The Rise of the Fisheries and the Merchants
37. The Restoration Crisis in New England
''“The Puritans in leaving England,” the historian Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker wrote, “fled not so much from persecution as from error.” It was to build a rigorous theocracy free from dissent that the Puritans built a colony in America. And yet a Protestant theocracy must always suffer from a grave inner contradiction: for one significant tenet of Protestantism is the individual’s ability to interpret the Bible free of ecclesiastical dictates. Although particular Protestant creeds may have no intention of countenancing or permitting dissent, the Protestant stimulus to individual interpretation must inevitably provoke that very dissent.''
This conundrum dominated New England society at that time.
PART IV The Rise and Fall of New Netherland
38. The Formation of New Netherland
41. New Netherland Persecutes the Quakers
PART V The Northern Colonies in the Last Quarter of the Seventeenth Century
44. The Beginning of Andros’ Rule in New York
46. King Philip’s War
47. The Crown Begins the Takeover of New England, 1676-1679
49. Edward Randolph Versus Massachusetts, 1680-1684
50. The Reopening of the Narragansett Claims, 1679-1683
51. The Rule of Joseph Dudley and the Council of New England
55. “The Holy Experiment”: The Founding of Pennsylvania, 1681-1690
56. The Dominion of New England
59. Aftermath in the 1690s: The Salem Witch-Hunt and Stoughton’s Rise to Power
60. The Liberalism of Lord Bellomont in the Royal Colonies
62. Rhode Island and Connecticut After the Glorious Revolution
''One of William Penn’s most notable achievements was to set a remarkable pattern of peace and justice with the Indians. In November 1682 Penn concluded the first of several treaties of peace and friendship with the Delaware Indians at Shackamaxon.'' (7712)
Pattern 'of peace and justice'!
''But this surely accounts for only part of the story. For the Quakers not only insisted on voluntary purchase of land from the Indians; they also treated the Indians as human beings, as deserving of respect and dignity as anyone else. Hence they deserved to be treated with honesty, friendliness, and evenhanded justice. As a consequence, the Quakers were treated precisely the same way in return.''
Voluntary 'purchase of land'! Astounding!
''No drop of Quaker blood was ever shed by the Indians. So strong was the mutual trust between the races that Quaker farmers unhesitatingly left their children in the care of the Indians. Originally, too, the law provided that whenever an Indian was involved in a trial, six whites and six Indians would constitute the jury.''
''Not a drop of Quaker blood shed''. Wow!
''Voltaire, rapturous over the Quaker achievement, wittily and perceptively wrote that the Shackamaxon treaty was “the only treaty between Indians and Christians that was never sworn to and that was never broken.” Voltaire went on to say that for the Indians “it was truly a new sight to see a sovereign [William Penn] to whom everyone said ‘thou’ and to whom one spoke with one’s hat on one’s head; a government without priests, a people without arms, citizens as equal as the magistrate, and neighbors without jealousy.” (7712)
Where did this go? Where can it be rediscovered?
Seriously, Dr. Rothbard states in his preface that he set out to return the historical narrative to history, and he achieves his goal magnificently. Not only is his unique perspective integral in interpreting the events leading to the American Revolution, but he returns the "who, what, when, and where" back to history (and it's his perspective that is so integral in clarifying the "why"). My introduction was no exaggeration, and I can honestly say I learned more facts of history from this text that any course I have ever taken. I must admit my knowledge of colonial American history was pretty poor to begin with, but I was astonished at how much I learned about the American Revolution (a period of which I though I was much more versed).
Further, his "Liberty versus Power" perspective provides for ultimate clarity when determining the motivations behind colonial & revolutionary period events. Many of the mythical figures of the revolution lose their sainthood when checked through the prism of Rothbard's perspective. To say the least, Ben Franklin and Murray probably don't enjoy each others company at the Thursday night card game in the afterlife, as he shows Franklin to have been quite the opportunist - happy to take his turn at the public trough to enjoy the political largesse, and certainly no radical friend of liberty. Another spoiler, George Washington was NOT a military genius (I'll give you a minute to catch your breath.), ... but Rothbard's keen insight is not reserved for the moderates and conservatives, either, as he is just as forthright concerning Jefferson, Henry, and the typically more libertarian forefathers. More importantly, I learned many new figures of American (and British) history, and their importance to the struggle for liberty. As one example, I knew of Ethan Allen before this book, but Murray's coverage of Allen's struggles against the State of New York in protecting the lands of his Green Mountain community was new to me. That Allen managed to help protect the lands of the settlers in the region from feudal New York oligarchs attempting to confiscate their property, without ever killing a single person in the struggle, is nothing short of astonishing.
This is a rather voluminous work, and he does get mired in meticulous descriptions in an effort to be as thorough as possible (in his goal of getting the who, what, when, where back in history), but overall well worth it. Beyond this, his economic genius allows him to understand the ramifications of policy that would escape traditional historians. For $4 you can't go wrong, and to be honest it would be well worth much more to own this set in hardcover.
Beginning with the founding of the English colonies on the eastern seaboard, Rothbard ruthlessly applies his power-vs.-freedom analysis to events well-known and some not-so-well known. Puritans are cast as petty religious tyrants, and Roger Williams, who fled from tyranny only to become a tyrant himself, is shown to be a hypocrite. Almost all colonists, with the exception of Quakers and Moravians, are judged guilty of injustice towards Indians. Revered figures such as Benjamin Franklin and George Washington are viewed in a skeptical light.
Not even all libertarians will agree with some parts of Rothbard's analyses, but there is no other work of history that I'm aware of that treats the topic of early American history in such a logical and consistent manner. One would hope that more historians would follow in Rothbard's footsteps.