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Grant number like: FB-57150-13

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Stewart Winger
Illinois State University (Normal, IL 61790-3040)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2013 – 12/31/2013

Abraham Lincoln, Public Power, and the Expansion of the Market Economy, 1835-1877

This project aims to produce a book as well as articles demonstrating the crucial role played by an active government at the national and especially the state level in promoting and transforming the market economy from 1835-1877. Research in Illinois Supreme Court and corporate records as well as standard sources will show that the "myth of a stateless American past" is just that, a myth. This work calls for a re-conceptualization of the market economy in this period, not as the absence of regulation, but as itself a regulatory scheme and incentive structure established by the state. While most legal historians continue to assume that the United States either suffered from or benefitted from a relatively weak state, this work bolsters the work of legal historians who have called that picture into question, while adding the crucial dimension of party politics on the high court. Lincoln's uniquely well-documented career provides an accidental window onto all of these developments.