Magazine December 20, 2010, Issue

Mr. Lincoln’s Economics Primer

(William Marsh/Corbis)
Free men, free soil, free markets

Abraham Lincoln’s greatest love was politics, but his intellectual passion was for what the 19th century called “political economy” — the way economics and politics intersected in society and government. According to his law partner William Herndon, Lincoln “liked political economy, the study of it,” and Shelby Cullom, who practiced law beside Lincoln in Springfield, Ill. (and later crafted the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887), thought that “theoretically . . . on political economy he was great.” Although Lincoln’s angular, shambling appearance gave him the look of anything but a student of economics — one contemporary said he resembled “a

To Read the Full Story
Allen C. Guelzo — Mr. Guelzo is the Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University.

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