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A Rank among the Very First of Military Powers: Mr. Lincoln’s War

A Rank among the Very First of Military Powers: Mr. Lincoln’s War

Chapter:
(p.178) Chapter Six A Rank among the Very First of Military Powers: Mr. Lincoln’s War
Source:
A Hercules in the Cradle
Author(s):
Max M. Edling
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226181608.003.0007

The Civil War witnessed wartime mobilization on an unprecedented scale and made the previous wars fought by the United States look like relatively minor affairs (ch. 4 and 5). Chapter six analyzes how the initial war finance plan by Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury Samuel P. Chase was replaced by much more ambitious policies. Led by the banker Jay Cooke, the federal government sold hundreds of millions of war bonds to the American public. Meanwhile, Congress adopted new tax laws that fundamentally reformed the American fiscal regime. Nevertheless, the guiding principles of public policy remained the same and after the war the federal government shaped its tax system and debt management in accordance with pre-war ideals. The American republic’s demonstration of strength made an impression on leading European North American powers and within a few years after the Civil War, Britain, France, and Russia had all retreated from the continent.

Keywords:   Civil War, fiscal regime, Jay Cooke, Samuel P. Chase, United States, war bonds, war finance

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