Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government

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9780195049671: Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government

Few topics are as timely as the growth of government. To understand why government has grown, Robert Higgs asserts, one must understand how it has grown. This book offers a coherent, multi-causal explanation, guided by a novel analytical framework firmly grounded in historical evidence.
More than a study of trends in governmental spending, taxation, and employment, Crisis and Leviathan is a thorough analysis of the actual occasions when and the specific means by which Big Government developed in the United States. More than an abstract account, it names names and highlights the actions of significant individuals.
The author examines how 20th-century national emergencies--mainly wars, depressions, and labor disturbances--have prompted federal officials to take over previously private rights and activities. When the crises passed, a residue of new governmental powers remained. Even more significantly, each great crisis and the subsequent governmental measures went hand in hand with reinforcing shifts in public beliefs and attitudes toward the government's proper role in American life.
Integrating the contributions of scholars in diverse disciplines, including history, law, political philosophy, and the social sciences, Crisis and Leviathan makes compelling reading for all those who seek to understand the transformation of America's political economy over the past century. About the Author:
Robert Higgs is William E. Simon Professor of Political Economy at Lafayette College.

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About the Author:

Robert Higgs is senior fellow in political economy for the Independent Institute and the editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal, the Independent Review. He is also the author of several books, including Against Leviathan, Competition and Coercion, Neither Liberty Nor Safety, Resurgence of the Warfare State, and The Transformation of the American Economy 1865–1914, and the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Gary Schlarbaum Award for Lifetime Defense of Liberty and the Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty. He lives in Covington, Louisiana. Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr. was a professor emeritus of history at the State University of New York–Albany, a Guggenheim fellow, and the author of dozens of articles and 10 books, including The Civilian and the Military and The Decline of American Liberalism.

From Library Journal:

Higgs, a political economist, analyzes how the American federal government has come to exercise so much control over individuals and the marketplace in this century. Essentially he proposes that government control, which increases during a war or economic depression, continues after the crisis, with each increase influencing the prevailing ideology, making further increases more acceptable to the public. The process involves government taking on new functions more than expanding traditional ones. Because of this ratchet-like movement toward ever bigger government, Higgs is somewhat pessimistic about the survival of individual rights and a free society. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. David Steiniche, Social Sciences Department, Missouri Western State College, St. Joseph
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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