The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

United States, Economics in (1776–1885)

  • Stephen Meardon
Reference work entry


Economics in the United States before 1885 was not a discipline of credentialled professionals. Its debates were published in political pamphlets and newspaper editorials as well as college textbooks and scholarly treatises. Its principal project was to set the boundaries of a doctrinal system of economic liberalism and determine the appropriate functions of government. The system was characterized by the sanctity of private property, the celebration of individual labour, and the harmony of the economic and moral orders. Those parts of the system that were imported from abroad were adapted, sometimes ingeniously, to economic and political circumstances at home.


American Economic Association American Free Trade League Banknotes Bastiat, F. Bryant, W. C. Cardozo, J. N. Carey, H. C. Carey, M. Catallactics Combinations Economic liberalism Ely, R. T. Enlightenment Finney, C. Franklin, B. Free banking Free labour doctrine Free trade George, H. Great Awakening Hamilton, A. James, E. Jefferson, T. Land tax Leavitt, J. Liberty Party List, F. Madison, Bishop J. Malthus’s theory of population McCulloch, J. R. Physiocracy Paine, T. Paper money Patten, S. N. Perry, A. L. Petty, W. Political economy Protectionism Public works Raymond, D. Rent Ricardo, D. Say, J.-B. Second Great Awakening Slavery Smith, A. Tucker, G. Turgot, A.R. J. United States, economics in Vattel, E. Wayland, F. Wealth Wells, D. A 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Meardon
    • 1
  1. 1.