A Hercules In The Cradle: War, Money, And The American State, 1783-1867 by Max M. EdlingA Hercules In The Cradle: War, Money, And The American State, 1783-1867 by Max M. Edling

A Hercules In The Cradle: War, Money, And The American State, 1783-1867

byMax M. Edling

Hardcover | November 27, 2014

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Two and a half centuries after the American Revolution the United States stands as one of the greatest powers on earth and the undoubted leader of the western hemisphere. This stupendous evolution was far from a foregone conclusion at independence. The conquest of the North American continent required violence, suffering, and bloodshed. It also required the creation of a national government strong enough to go to war against, and acquire territory from, its North American rivals.

In A Hercules in the Cradle, Max M. Edling argues that the federal government's abilities to tax and to borrow money, developed in the early years of the republic, were critical to the young nation's ability to wage war and expand its territory. He traces the growth of this capacity from the time of the founding to the aftermath of the Civil War, including the funding of the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. Edling maintains that the Founding Fathers clearly understood the connection between public finance and power: a well-managed public debt was a key part of every modern state. Creating a debt would always be a delicate and contentious matter in the American context, however, and statesmen of all persuasions tried to pay down the national debt in times of peace. A Hercules in the Cradle explores the origin and evolution of American public finance and shows how the nation's rise to great-power status in the nineteenth century rested on its ability to go into debt.
Max M. Edling is a lecturer in North American history at King’s College London and the author of A Revolution in Favor of Government: Origins of the U.S. Constitution and the Making of the American State.
Title:A Hercules In The Cradle: War, Money, And The American State, 1783-1867Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:November 27, 2014Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022618157X

ISBN - 13:9780226181578


Table of Contents

Introduction: War, Money, and American History

1.         A More Effectual Mode of Administration: The Constitution and the Origins of American Public Finance
2.         The Soul of Government: Creating an American Fiscal Regime
3.         So Immense a Power in the Affairs of War: The Restoration of Public Credit
4.         Equal to the Severest Trials: Mr. Madison's War
5.         The Two Most Powerful Republics in the World: Mr. Polk's War
6.         A Rank among the Very First of Military Powers: Mr. Lincoln's War

Conclusion: The Ideology, Structure, and Significance of the First American Fiscal Regime

Editorial Reviews

“Though the details can be overwhelming, Edling explains such arcane matters of debt funding strategies with amazing clarity. His basic story is actually straightforward: Hamilton’s system called for the federal government to rely on tariff revenues in peacetime and loans in wartime and then to pay debts down quickly to preserve the nation’s borrowing capacity for future wars. The system had flaws, particularly the vulnerability of tariff revenue to the goodwill of the European naval powers, but Edling is more struck by an irony: that its putative opponents deployed it most aggressively.”