By Max M. Edling
In A Hercules within the Cradle, Max M. Edling argues that the federal government’s talents to tax and to borrow funds, built within the early years of the republic, have been severe to the younger nation’s skill to salary conflict and extend its territory. He lines the expansion of this capability from the time of the founding to the aftermath of the Civil warfare, together with the investment of the battle of 1812 and the Mexican conflict. Edling keeps that the Founding Fathers basically understood the relationship among public finance and tool: a well-managed public debt used to be a key a part of each glossy nation. making a debt may constantly be a fragile and contentious subject within the American context, besides the fact that, and statesmen of all persuasions attempted to pay down the nationwide debt in occasions of peace. A Hercules within the Cradle explores the foundation and evolution of yankee public finance and indicates how the nation’s upward push to great-power prestige within the 19th century rested on its skill to enter debt.
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Extra resources for A Hercules in the cradle : war, money, and the American state, 1783-1867
36 The sectionalism evident in the discussion of the fiscal clause reveals how the delegates saw the American union as a means to promote the interests of their respective constituencies rather than an imagined American nation. Because of its composition the Committee of Detail had been under the spell of southern influence. Its report proscribed Congress from taxing exports and from taxing, or otherwise interfering with, the slave trade. It also stipulated that Congress could only pass commercial legislation with the support of two-thirds of the members of both houses.
The second concerned the need to organize the national domain in the trans-Appalachian west. The two remaining issues concerned the need to invest Congress with two additional powers: the right to regulate commerce and the right to collect taxes independently of the states. Increased fiscal powers of Congress and the coercion of state governments were closely related questions because the most serious and persistent state delinquency was the failure of state governments to comply with Congress’s requisitions for money.
In Madison’s mind this veto power would shield the Union from selfish and short-sighted state legislation. Without it, “every positive power that can be given on paper” to the national government “will be evaded & defeated” by the states. ” The negative proposed by the Virginia Plan was actually a diluted version of Madison’s original call for “a negative in all cases whatsoever,” which his fellow Virginians presumably found too great an interference with state rights. Madison’s later attempts to introduce this broader power were also unsuccessful.