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How Did Capitalism Create Colonies That Could Survive in the American Wilderness?

This excerpt from page 24 of Paul Johnson's A History of the American People on how to use self-interest to grow freedom.

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May 12, 2013 - 9:00 am

Glenn Reynolds’ column last week, emphasis added:

According to Virginia historian Matthew Page Andrews, “As soon as the settlers were thrown upon their own resources, and each freeman had acquired the right of owning property, the colonists quickly developed what became the distinguishing characteristic of Americans — an aptitude for all kinds of craftsmanship coupled with an innate genius for experimentation and invention.”

American exceptionalism — to the extent it remains — is not the product of some sort of genetic superiority. The settlers who made something of Jamestown after Dale’s reforms were the same ones who were bowling in the streets instead of working when he arrived.

What is exceptional about America — at least, what’s been exceptional up to now — is the extent to which individuals were allowed to keep the fruits of their own labor instead of having them seized by people in power for their own purposes. The insight behind American exceptionalism is that people work harder and better for themselves, as free people, than they do as servants for some alleged communal good.

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All Comments   (5)
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The anti-capitalist stupidity and ignorance on display in these comments is shocking.

The land was just as free when they got there to start with, why didn't they prosper from the start? There was no slavery for a generation after the decade of the example, why did they prosper so long before slavery?

Why is the demarcation of failure to the point of starvation and cannibalism, and wealth and success so sharply seen turning around a "mere" change in economic policy?

"the "success" of capitalism is a chimera. "

The concentration of dumbth in this quoted comment should burn.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There were people already living here and what might have happened to them? Mostly killed off by disease and warfare. Free land will almost always bring prosperity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There might've been a little slavery in there folks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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