The American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire: 1870 to World War II

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2. The Railroading of the American People

American Economy Rothbard

Tags U.S. HistoryPolitical Theory

01/15/2010Murray N. Rothbard

The railroads experienced both enormous growth and enormous government intervention. Land was closed off from settlement, causing farmers to oppose the privileged railroads. Markets were skewed. Waste and inefficiencies were high. Graft and corruption were rampant. Only the Great Northern by James Hill was built with private monies. It became the of the few transcontinental railroads not to go bankrupt.

Lecture 2 of 13 presented in Fall of 1986 at the New York Polytechnic University.

The full series:

  1. The Civil War and Its Legacy
  2. The Railroading of the American People 
  3. The Decline of Laissez-Faire
  4. The Rise and Fall of Monopolies
  5. Pietism and the Power Brokers
  6. Tariffs, Inflation, Anti-Trust and Cartels
  7. Theodore Roosevelt: Master Reformer
  8. Regulation and Public Utilities
  9. The Progressive Era?
  10. Cartelization of Banking: The Fed
  11. Woodrow Wilson and World War I
  12. The Great Cooperation
  13. Politics and the Power Elite


Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard made major contributions to economics, history, political philosophy, and legal theory. He combined Austrian economics with a fervent commitment to individual liberty.

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