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"Confidence" is a term of art in political economy, one which was frequently invoked during the Jacksonian debates about trade, currency, and central banking. In The Confidence-Man, Melville alludes to these debates, interweaving them with other and often contradictory claims about confidence, particularly as a synonym for Christian faith. Melville treats capitalism and Christianity as equally important ideologies for antebellum Americans, but also treats them as incompatible. Parts of his novel satirize efforts made by Jacksonian political economists like William Gouge and Henry Carey to conceive of a general theory of capitalism which is coherent with, and can, indeed, be justified by, Christianity.