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America's founding and the struggle over economic inequality

Author: Clement Fatovic
Publisher: Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, 2015.
Series: Constitutional thinking
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"The causes of economic inequality and the problems growing inequality poses for our political system have been major concerns in America particularly since the Great Recession of 2008. This is not new to American politics; Clem Fatovic shows how economic inequality was a major concern of Americans at the founding of the republic. Now many say that economic inequality is simply the price we pay for freedom; in the
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Fatovic, Clement, 1973-
America's founding and the struggle over economic inequality.
(DLC) 2015026842
(OCoLC)920843622
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Clement Fatovic
ISBN: 9780700621514 0700621512
OCLC Number: 928784062
Description: 1 online resource.
Contents: Cover; Title Page; Copyright Page; Table of Contents; Foreword; Preface and Acknowledgments; 1. The American Revolution and the Ideal of Equality; 2. Class Conflict and Crisis under the Articles of Confederation; 3. The Constitutional Backlash against the â#x80;#x9C;Excesses of Democracyâ#x80;#x9D;; 4. â#x80;#x9C;Necessary and Properâ#x80;#x9D;: Alexander Hamilton on the Economic Powers of the National Government; 5. Constructing the Constitution: How the Early Congresses Understood Their Own Powers and Tackled Economic Hardship. 6. â#x80;#x9C;Silently Lessening the Inequality of Propertyâ#x80;#x9D;: Thomas Jefferson on the Governmentâ#x80;#x99;s Role in Reducing Economic Inequality7. â#x80;#x9C;Not Charity but a Rightâ#x80;#x9D;: Thomas Paine on the Justice of a Welfare State; 8. Conclusion; Notes; Index; Back Cover.
Series Title: Constitutional thinking
Responsibility: Clement Fatovic.

Abstract:

"The causes of economic inequality and the problems growing inequality poses for our political system have been major concerns in America particularly since the Great Recession of 2008. This is not new to American politics; Clem Fatovic shows how economic inequality was a major concern of Americans at the founding of the republic. Now many say that economic inequality is simply the price we pay for freedom; in the late 18th century economic inequality was seen as a threat to freedom and to the democracy we were starting in the United States. This is a study of the dimensions of economic inequality in the early republic and the measures that were discussed and debated about how to deal with it"--

"If, as many allege, attacking the gap between rich and poor is a form of class warfare, then the struggle against income inequality is the longest running war in American history. To defenders of the status quo, who argue that the accumulation of wealth free of government intervention is an essential feature of the American way, this book offers a forceful answer. While many of those who oppose addressing economic inequality through public policy today do so in the name of freedom, Clement Fatovic demonstrates that concerns about freedom informed the Founding Fathers' arguments for public policy that tackled economic disparities. Where contemporary arguments against such government efforts conceptualize freedom in economic terms, however, those supporting public policies conducive to greater economic equality invoked a more participatory, republican, conception of freedom. As many of the Founders understood it, economic independence, which requires a wide if imperfect distribution of property, is a precondition of the political independence they so profoundly valued. Fatovic reveals a deep concern among the Founders--including Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Noah Webster--about the impact of economic inequality on political freedom. America's Founding and the Struggle over Economic Inequality traces this concern through many important political debates in Congress and the broader polity that shaped the early Republic--debates over tax policies, public works, public welfare, and the debt from the Revolution. We see how Alexander Hamilton, so often characterized as a cold-hearted apologist for plutocrats, actually favored a more progressive system of taxation, along with various policies aimed at easing the economic hardship of specific groups. In Thomas Paine, frequently portrayed as an advocate of laissez-faire government, we find a champion of a comprehensive welfare state that would provide old-age pensions, public housing, and a host of other benefits as a matter of "right, not charity." Contrary to the picture drawn by so many of today's pundits and politicians, this book shows us how, for the first American statesmen, preventing or minimizing economic disparities was essential to the preservation of the new nation's freedom and practice of self-government"--

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"Most Americans acknowledge our spiraling income inequality, but many worry that tackling it could cost us our freedom, and we are at an impasse. Clement Fatovic proposes to move forward by glancing Read more...

 
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