Big Business Republicans Were the First “Progressives” – 1896 and 1900

On page 119 of the wonderful book The  Case for Gold, by Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman, we read the following:

“After 1896 and 1900, then, America entered a progressive and predominantly Republican era. Compulsory cartelization in the name of ‘progressivism’ began to invade every aspect of American economic life. The railroads had begun the parade with the formation of the ICC in the 1880’s but now field after field was being centralized and cartelized in the name of ‘efficiency,’ ‘stability,’ ‘progress,’ and the general welfare…. In particular, various big business groups, led by the J.P. Morgan interests, often gathered in the National Civic Federation and other think tanks and pressure organizations, saw that the voluntary cartels and the industrial merger movements of the late 1890s had failed to achieve monopoly prices in industry. Therefore, they decided to turn to governments, state and federal, to curb the winds of competition and to establish forms of compulsory cartels, in the name, of course, of ‘curbing big business monopoly’ and advancing the general welfare.”

This quote is cited from pages 434 and 435 of The Creature from Jekyll Island, A Second Look at the Federal Reserve by G. Edward Griffin.

As counter intuitive as it may seem, big business actually likes a lot of regulation. It keeps their smaller competitors buried in paperwork, leaving the behemoths, who have huge legal departments, free to dominate the market. The answer: reduced regulation and more competition. Also, how ironic that the Republicans were the party of big government and economic centralization at the turn of the 20th century. Unfortunately, apparently unbeknownst to its constituency, the GOP in many ways is still a party in favor of big government.


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