The American Enterprise

Walt Whitman, free trader.(Flashback)

To know nothing of what happened before you were born is to remain ever a child--Cicero

Before Walt Whitman, poet, there was Waiter Whitman, editor of the New York Aurora and the Brooklyn Eagle and author of vehement, if sometimes prolix, observations on the political scene of the 1830s and 1840s.

Whitman was a partisan of the Loco Focos, the radical libertarian wing of the Democratic Party. Setting out his beau ideal in a state, Whitman waxed minimalist: "The true government is much simpler than is supposed, and abstains from much more. Nine tenths of the laws passed every winter at the Federal Capitol, and all the State Capitols, are not only unneeded laws, but positive nuisances, jobs got up for the service of special classes of persons. …

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