OPINIONS ON PARTICULAR PROBLEMS
HAVING discussed certain general principles which guided Webster's conduct with respect to public revenue, expenditure, and credit and their problems, a brief survey of his opinions upon a few significant public issues may further demonstrate his contributions to American economic thought and development. One of the great questions which engaged his attention was the disposition of the public domain. He always considered the western lands as a common fund belonging to the whole people and not to the residents of the separate states and, partly for this reason and partly because he believed Congress was assigned by the Constitution to the duty of trusteeship of the domain, resisted every attempt to cede the land to the states. On this issue, he was at odds with Calhoun who tried to induce Congress to transfer title to the domain to various states in the south and west.
Early in his public career, he assumed a definite position upon the problem of retention versus alienation of the domain. In 1825, he committed himself unequivocally in favor of disposition, considering it an unwise policy to hoard it as a treasure for the purpose of meeting the needs of the exchequer. However, he was a moderate alienationist, favoring a policy of accelerating the sale of lands to dissatisfied industrial workers of the east and to pioneers generally by the stimulus of low prices, but not so low as to tempt speculators into the market. His point of view was both fiscal and social,