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Constitutionalism in the Approach and Aftermath of the Civil War$
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Paul D. Moreno and Jonathan O'Neill

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251940

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251940.001.0001

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“The Legitimate Object of Government”

“The Legitimate Object of Government”

Constitutional Problems of Civil War–Era Republican Policy

(p.161) 6 “The Legitimate Object of Government”
Constitutionalism in the Approach and Aftermath of the Civil War

Paul D. Moreno

Fordham University Press

Historians like Herman Belz considered and rejected the view that Lincoln used the Civil War as the occasion to establish a “dictatorship.” This chapter will consider the argument that the Republicans used the war to begin the development of a “leviathan state.” Republican ascendancy after 1860 revived the debate over the Hamiltonian-Whig program of national mercantilism that Lincoln favored, with its attendant constitutional problems. How extensive and how permanent were the alterations that the late 19th century Republicans made to the constitutional political economy of the United States± This is a perennial question that engaged contemporary political actors, the federal courts of the Gilded Age, and several generations of historians. This chapter will synthesize and evaluate the historical claims made by these analysts in the fields of the tariff, national banking system, and internal improvements such as railroads.

Keywords:   Leviathan State, national mercantilism, tariff, national banking system, internal improvements

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