During his first run for political office in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) described his platform thus: “My politics are short and sweet, like an old woman’s dance. I’m in favor of a national bank. I’m in favor of the internal improvement system and a high protective tariff. These are my sentiments and political principles.” As a one-term Congressman and as President, Lincoln never deviated from these principles.
In many respects, Lincoln fulfilled Alexander Hamilton’s vision. His policies of protection (Morrill Tariff) and building of infrastructure (cf. the Transcontinental Railroad) were totally in line with Hamilton’s commitment to unifying and industrializing the nation. Even more important was his explicit commitment to raising the productive power of labor, not only by education (Land-grant colleges) and protection, but by eliminating chattel slavery (which Hamilton also wanted to do). And while he did not create a new national bank, Lincoln crafted a national banking system through his greenback policy, a policy taken, as was Hamilton’s, as a way of eliminating the control over credit which the British Empire was still exerting on the international scale.
To summarize the elements of Lincoln’s policy:
• High tariffs
• Government subsidies and guidance for the rail and canal grid
• Free public schools and colleges, and aid to farmers and miners
• National regulation of private banks and issuance of cheap credit
• Outreach to other nations to follow the same approach
“Lincoln Financed the War by Taking on the New York-Based British Banks,” by Rochelle Ascher, EIR, June 20, 2014.
Abraham Lincoln and the Economics of the American System, by Gabor S. Boritt, 1994, available through Amazon.
“The Lincoln Revolution,” by Anton Chaitkin, Spring 1998 edition of Fidelio magazine
“Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the American System“, by Rochelle Ascher, AmericanSystemNow.com, February 2018