Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book review - Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States

Jack Rakove teaches history and political science at Stanford University.
Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States
by Michael Lind
Harper, 592 pp., $29.99
IN OUR CURRENT slough of economic despair, is it time for Americans to recognize that we should all become Hamiltonians, following the genius of our first and greatest Secretary of the Treasury? That is the appeal that Michael Lind makes in Land of Promise (a title that faintly echoes the work ofThe New Republic’s founding co-editor, Herbert Croly, in The Promise of American Life.) Lind has already gained a pair of appreciative (but hardly uncritical) nods in the New York Times, one in a book review by David Leonhardt, the other in a column by David Brooks. True, both journalists take issue with some aspects of Lind’s Hamiltonianism. Leonhardt wonders whether other nations have not pursued more Hamiltonian policies than Americans have, but with lesser results. Brooks goes much further, arguing that Lind is seeking to turn the true Hamiltonian philosophy “into something that looks like modern liberalism.” A real Hamiltonian, Brooks suggests, would favor “long-term structural development” above “providing jobs right now,” while fostering “national power and eminence” over individual wealth or social equality.
History News Network

No comments:

Post a Comment