Journal of Libertarian Studies

Matter of Degree, Not Principle: The Founding of the American Liberty League

The Journal of Libertarian Studies

On October 29, 1929, the roof fell in on the booming American economy. A nation that since World War I had come to believe material progress was inevitable and unstoppable suddenly witnessed the most surreal of spectacles: panic on Wall Street. The change in economic conditions dashed the expectations of thousands of businessmen; huge investments had to be liquidated. Unemployment averaged 4 million in 1930, 8 million in 1931, and 12.4 million in 1932.

Vanishing with the expectation of unending prosperity was confidence- confidence in the “American System,” in its underlying philosophy, in its capacity to be different from that of other nations. In sum, the faith people had in America’s chance to succeed in the noble experiment with self- government was badly shaken.

Volume 6, Number 2 (1982)


Richman, Sheldon “Matter of Degree, Not Principle: The Founding of the American Liberty League.” Journal of Libertarian Studies 6, No. 2 (1982): 145–167.

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