Democracy and War Profiteering
They say to “never let a crisis go to waste,” but does that include war? Embodied in characters like “Daddy Warbucks” from the musical Annie, war profiteering has been an integral part of American history since the Civil War. In this episode, Mary, Gary, and Eryn discuss the history of war profiteering and its implications today. What is the difference between supporting a war effort and profiting from it? What challenges does this age-old business pose to democracy?
Additional BRI Resources
The Commercial Republic Before the Civil War, 1815-1860
Between the War of 1812 and the Civil War, the federal government largely retreated from a program of national economic development, while the states stepped into the role of economic promotion, particularly in the banking and internal improvement fields.
The Civil War and the Industrial Revolution
When eleven slave states seceded in 1860-61, they left the federal government in the hands of the new Republican Party. The Republicans were dedicated above all to ending slavery and preserving the Union, but many of them also advocated a revival of the Federalist and Whig system of national mercantilism, which sought to have the federal government shape economic development.