Daniel Webster as an Economist

Daniel Webster as an Economist

Daniel Webster as an Economist

Daniel Webster as an Economist

Excerpt

The public life and professional career of Daniel Webster have been discussed by biographers, historians, and other commentators primarily from three points of view--Webster as a great orator, as a lawyer and jurist, and as a statesman. A thorough investigation and an exhaustive analysis of Webster as an economist, however, and of his contributions to economic thought and policy in the United States has not been undertaken. While it is true that a few of Webster's more important opinions concerning particular economic issues which were prominent throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, such as the tariff, government finance, and the United States Bank, are well known, comparatively little about him is known in regard to his general economic thought. This study aims to explain Webster's underlying system of economic thought and attempts a broad and intensive survey of all his expressions of opinion relating either to economic doctrine and theory or to economic policy and action.

It cannot be maintained that Daniel Webster was an economic theorist of great significance. Webster, himself, made no pretensions and expressed no wish to qualify as an economic theorist, nor was he actuated in making his great speeches on economic questions by a desire to contribute directly to economic literature or economic science. Furthermore, he contributed no single work, whether speech, pamphlet, or volume, which purported to deal with economic doctrines in general. His talents and his temperament were far better adapted to the investigation of particular problems . . .

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