By John Steele Gordon
Original 12 months of publication: 2005
Throughout time, from historical Rome to trendy Britain, the good empires outfitted and maintained their domination via strength of palms and political strength. yet now not the us. the USA has ruled the area in a brand new, peaceable, and pervasive means -- throughout the persevered production of mind-blowing wealth. during this authoritative, engrossing heritage, John Steele Gordon captures as by no means sooner than the genuine resource of our nation's worldwide effect: wealth and the means to create extra of it.
This P.S. version beneficial properties an additional sixteen pages of insights into the booklet, together with writer interviews, steered studying, and more.
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Extra info for An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power
16 Such extravagant language, it seemed, could be nothing but calculated deception, at best an obvious distortion of fact, designed to incite and mold a revolutionary fervor. “The stigmatizing of British policy as ‘tyranny,’ ‘oppression’ and ‘slavery,’ ” wrote Arthur M. ” 17 Indeed, so grandiose, so overdrawn, it seemed, were the ideas that the historians were necessarily led to ask not whether such ideas were valid but why men should have expressed them. It was not the content of such ideas but the function that was really interesting.
And that is how history moves from one generation to another, exploding the previous generation’s illusions and conjuring up its own. If we approach the past in this way, we become more aware of just how much people then were victims as well as drivers of the histori cal process. We come to realize that those in the past were restricted by forces that they did not understand nor were even aware of—forces such as demographic movements, economic developments, or large-scale cultural patterns. The drama, indeed the tragedy, of history comes from our understanding of the tension that existed between the conscious wills and intentions of the participants in the past and the underlying condi tions that constrained their actions and shaped their future.
But others soon picked up Hamilton’s suggestion and began running with it. Before long some polemicists were arguing that if the judges were in fact a kind of representative of the people, then maybe the people ought to elect them. And sure enough this began to happen in the Jacksonian era; today, as I indicate in my essay on American constitutionalism, some thirty-nine states elect their judges in one way or another. This was a development that Hamilton could never have imagined and would have been appalled by, yet he helped to produce it.