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

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4. The Rise and Fall of Monopolies

  • American Economy Rothbard
January 16, 2010

Tags U.S. EconomyMonopoly and CompetitionPolitical Theory

Petroleum entered the industrial scene in 1859 with John D. Rockefeller's hard work. As the first manufacturing corporation, Standard Oil created a monopoly in kerosene refining by buying others out. A huge drop in the price of fuel followed, benefiting consumers, due to production efficiencies. Rothbard, then, discusses pietists, prohibitionists and the big political shift of 1896.

Pietists, prohibitionists, anti-immigrationists, and women suffragettes had made a big Republican drive before 1890. But then a big, sudden shift in politics occurred, with Democrats capturing the big Midwest states, due to demographics of Germans, higher birth rates, anti-prohibitionists, and hard money standards. After this, the Republican party got more moderate and the  Democratic party got captured by extreme pietists in 1896. The South became a fully Democratic region. The Panic of 1893 resulted in the loss of Democratic seats due to the depression. By 1896 Bryanites were taking over the party. German Lutherans, and Catholics became majority-party Republicans, leaving the Irish to become minority-party Democratic civil servants. This situation lasts until 1932. The parties become non-ideological. Statists prevailed.

Lecture 4 of 13 presented in Fall of 1986 at the New York Polytechnic University.

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