Lincolnomics: How President Lincoln Constructed the Great American Economy

John F. Wasik. Diversion, $31.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-63576-693-6
In this unique blend of biography and policy prescription, journalist Wasik (Lightning Strikes) casts Abraham Lincoln as America’s “foremost moral architect of economic and social opportunity” and looks to his life and political career for lessons in how the nation might rebuild its infrastructure and redress income inequality. Wasik traces the roots of Lincoln’s support for the transcontinental railroad and other “internal improvements,” including canals and bridges, to his experiences as a river boatman and lawyer for the Illinois Central Railroad, and to the influence of Whig congressman Henry Clay’s “American System,” which aimed to facilitate interstate commerce by imposing foreign tariffs, creating a national banking system, and providing federal subsidies for infrastructure projects. Wasik also delves into Lincoln’s signing of the 1862 Morrill Act, which established the land-grant college system, and his fostering of medical innovations during the Civil War. Contending that “Lincolnomics means compassion in politics and capitalism,” Wasik suggests that the 16th president would have supported reducing college tuition, expanding the social safety net, and upgrading the nation’s infrastructure to combat climate change. Though the nuances of Lincoln’s views on race and slavery are glossed over, Wasik convincingly argues that his economic policies deserve more credit. Liberals will cheer this eye-opening account. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 03/01/2021
Release date: 04/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-63576-687-5
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