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Friends of the Unrighteous MammonNorthern Christians and Market Capitalism, 1815-1860$
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Stewart Davenport

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226137063

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226137087.001.0001

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Of Competition and Liberalism, Luxury and Speculation

Of Competition and Liberalism, Luxury and Speculation

(p.191) Chapter Fourteen Of Competition and Liberalism, Luxury and Speculation
Friends of the Unrighteous Mammon
University of Chicago Press

All of the pastoral moralists were committed to the most basic principles of economic liberalism. Everyone, for example, agreed about the goodness of private property. Joseph Emerson's entire sermon on Christian Economy was a defense of the proposition. This type of realistic assessment of competition was one of the pastoral moralists' most fundamental axioms. Like trade itself, competition was simply a reality—a fact of life in a liberal society that needed to be navigated properly, not condemned categorically. The unavoidable truth of the matter was that self-interested competition was a necessary component of a market-capitalist society. It was the motivating engine that drove the economy, but that also had to be restrained and subjected to the boundaries of Christian morality.

Keywords:   pastoral moralists, economic liberalism, private property, Joseph Emerson, Christian Economy, competition, morality

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