Pioneers of American Economic Thought in the Nineteenth Century

Pioneers of American Economic Thought in the Nineteenth Century

Pioneers of American Economic Thought in the Nineteenth Century

Pioneers of American Economic Thought in the Nineteenth Century

Excerpt

The multiple influences of English and French thought on the evolution of American political ideas are familiar to all students of American history and government. Quite properly, Americans believe that the combination of ideas achieved in the new world is not only unique, but politically and socially significant. About our indigenous economic thought, however, there has been no similar enthusiasm; indeed, not only have Americans been modest about this portion of their intellectual achievement, but for the most part essentially apologetic. It is within the realm of probability, however, that this undue modesty may be largely the consequence of a faulty understanding of the actual content of American economic thought. At any rate, few Americans have any comprehensive idea of the philosophical ingredients of their native brand of economics. Nor should they be harshly blamed. A far more complex interaction of English and French influences characterized American economic thought in the nineteenth century than is ordinarily realized. It really takes a foreigner, and especially a Frenchman, to pick out these intermeshed strands and to signalize just how the several strands were altered and modified by American economic conditions. It is precisely because M. Teilhac has so skillfully traced the complex interaction of French and English influences, and has indicated how the borrowings of American writers were modified under the force of American environment, that his monographs on Raymond, Carey, and . . .

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