Conceived in Liberty
For anyone who thinks of Murray Rothbard as only an economic theorist or political thinker, these four spectacular volumes are nothing short of shocking. They offer a complete history of the Colonial period of American history through the Revolutionary War, a period lost to students today, who are led to believe American history begins with the US Constitution.
You can read an excerpt here: The Growth of Libertarian Thought in Colonial America.
Rothbard's ambition was to shed new light on Colonial history and show that the struggle for human liberty was the heart and soul of this land from its discovery through the culminating event of the American Revolution.
These volumes are a tour de force, enough to establish Rothbard as one of the great American historians.
Although a detailed narrative history of the struggle between liberty and power, Rothbard offers a third alternative to the conventional interpretive devices. Against those on the right who see the American Revolution as a "conservative" event, and those on the left who want to invoke it as some sort of proto-socialist uprising, Rothbard views this period as a time of accelerating libertarian radicalism. Through this prism, Rothbard illuminates events as never before.
The volumes were brought out in the 1970s, but the odd timing and uneven distribution prevented any kind of large audience. They were beloved only by a few specialists, and sought after by many thanks to their outstanding reputation. The Mises Institute is pleased to be the publisher of the newly available set.
- Volume One covers the discovery of the Americas and the colonies in the 17th century (531 pages, including index).
- Volume Two covers the period of "salutary neglect" in the first half of the 18th century (294 pages, including index).
- Volume Three covers the advance to revolution, from 1760-1775 (373 pages, including index).
- Volume Four covers the political, military, and ideological history of the revolution and after (470 pages, including index).
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From a review from Laissez-Faire Books:
"Although thousands of books have been written about early America, nobody else has provided as lively an account about the development of American liberty. These volumes, originally published in the 1970s, have been long out of print and hard to find. We owe the Mises Institute much gratitude for making them available again."
"Many hardships experienced in colonial America, Rothbard shows, were due to common property and government interference. He explains the failure of price controls and the failure of government efforts to subsidize fishing. He tells ow taxes and restrictions crippled business enterprise. He exposes government officials who seized the property of peaceful people and tried to conquer other colonies."
"Rothbard exults a chronicling the exploits of libertarians heroes and heroines like Roger William (in his early years) Anne Hutchinson, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Paine. Rothbard hails courageous slaves who revolted and escaped from their masters. He tells how commerce promoted tolerance. He gleefully reports how independent minded colonists educated themselves without government schools and he notes, 'The colonists were evidently content in their anarchism.'"
"Rothbard shares vital insights, often served with a memorable phrase. Talking about how private companies promoted settlement in America, he writes that 'the cleansing acid of profits was to dissolve incipient feudalism and land monopoly.'"
"These volumes will probably give you more pleasure than anything else written about American history. They are just delightful. Highly recommended."
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