Abstract

Abstract:

Jacksonian Democrats played a key role in popularizing free market ideas in America. Many Democrats in the 1830s and 1840s celebrated the market as part of an optimistic populist mythology. The market, they argued, was not only an embodiment of personal freedom, but also a fair and egalitarian device that promised to tear down the privileges of the emerging financial and industrial elite. This essay explores the ways in which Democrats positioned the market as a "natural" institution and contrasted it to the "artificial" inequalities sustained by government regulation. It shows, furthermore, that the Jacksonian idea of nature was heavily inflected with religious significance: natural law embodied God's benevolent intentions for American society.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1553-0620
Print ISSN
0275-1275
Pages
pp. 123-133
Launched on MUSE
2019-02-28
Open Access
No
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