Reply To: When and why were markets first liberalized?


This question should be posted to the forum on Western history since 1500.

In America, the Revolution left the economy essentially free. Far from deciding to free people, governments simply didn’t have mechanisms to regulate them.

Before the Revolution, people such as Thomas Jefferson had argued for a natural right to trade freely with all the world. Prior to Henry Clay’s House speech unveiling the “American System So-Called, but Anglican System in Fact” (as William B. Giles dubbed it), free trade was the American policy. Thereafter, a Hamiltonian impulse would wax and wane, finally triumphing in 1860 and after.