Thursday, October 2, 2014

Should the Government Build Roads?

Who would build the roads if not for national taxes? This is one of the arguments that we hear from statists of all stripes. And those who don't wish to have the Federal government involved in the building of roads are usually in the Jeffersonian camp. But when we look at historical debates on this issue, it seems that Mr. Jefferson was not quite the libertarian that we think, and his opposition in the northeast was not quite as statist as we might suppose.

Excerpt from the Aurora, October 25, 1815
In an editorial probably by William Duane, in the October 25, 1815 issue of The Aurora, it is alleged that Thomas Jefferson "sought in vain to establish at least one great national road from the extremes to the centre of the union" and that this desire of his was frustrated by representatives of Connecticut.

I will be sharing this very interesting editorial -- sent to me by Pam Keyes --  in its entirety on Historia Obscura in the very near future. But for the time being I leave you with this to think about: who was really the statist here?

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  1. You always share some great first hand documents and newspaper articles from these posts. These posts are very complimentary to understanding both of your novels as well.

    1. Thanks, Julia. I love to share these contemporary documents. In this case, I got the newspaper article from Pam Keyes, for which I am very grateful.