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Historical Figures

Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755  – July 12, 1804) was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, a Founding Father, economist, and political philosopher. Aide-de-camp to General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War, he was a leader of American nationalists calling for a new Constitution; he was one of America’s first constitutional lawyers, and wrote most of the Federalist Papers, a primary source for Constitutional interpretation. Hamilton was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington Administration, especially the funding of the state debts by the Federal government, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. He created and dominated the Federalist Party, and was opposed by Thomas Jefferson and his Democratic-Republican Party.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Hamilton

Adam Smith (16 June 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of political economics. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. The latter, usually abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. Smith is widely cited as the father of modern economics and capitalism.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Smith


  John Calvin Coolidge, Jr., (July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) was the 30th President of the United States.  As President, Coolidge demonstrated his determination to preserve the old moral and economic precepts amid the material prosperity which many Americans were enjoying. He refused to use Federal economic power to check the growing boom or to ameliorate the depressed condition of agriculture and certain industries. His first message to Congress in December 1923 called for isolation in foreign policy, and for tax cuts, economy, and limited aid to farmers.  He rapidly became popular. In 1924, as the beneficiary of what was becoming known as “Coolidge prosperity,” he polled more than 54 percent of the popular vote.  In his Inaugural he asserted that the country had achieved “a state of contentment seldom before seen,” and pledged himself to maintain the status quo.  ”This active inactivity suits the mood and certain of the needs of the country admirably. It suits all the business interests which want to be let alone…. And it suits all those who have become convinced that government in this country has become dangerously complicated and top-heavy.”  http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/calvincoolidge

Friedrich Hayek (8 May 1899 – 23 March 1992), born Friedrich August von Hayek, was an Austrian-born economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought. He is considered to be one of the most important economists and political philosophers of the twentieth century. Hayek’s account of how changing prices communicate signals which enable individuals to coordinate their plans is widely regarded as an important achievement in economics.  Seven years after the onset of the British Great Depression, which began in 1925, Hayek suggested that private investment in the public markets was a better road to wealth and economic coordination in Britain than government spending programs, as argued in a letter he co-signed with Lionel Robbins and others in an exchange of letters with John Maynard Keynes in The Times . The global Great Depression formed a crucial backdrop against which Hayek formulated his positions, especially in opposition to the views of Keynes.  Hayek was concerned about the general view in Britain’s academia that fascism was a capitalist reaction against socialism and The Road to Serfdom arose from those concerns. It was written between 1940 and 1943. The title was inspired by the French classical liberal thinker Alexis de Tocqueville’s writings on the “road to servitude”. It was first published in Britain by Routledge in March 1944 and was quite popular, leading Hayek to call it “that unobtainable book,” also due in part to wartime paper rationing. When it was published in the United States by the University of Chicago in September of that year, it achieved greater popularity than in Britain. At the arrangement of editor Max Eastman, the American magazine Reader’s Digest also published an abridged version in April 1945, enabling The Road to Serfdom to reach a far wider audience than academics.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek

 William F. Buckley, Jr. (November 24, 1925 – February 27, 2008) was an American conservative author and commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, and was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His writing was noted for extensive vocabulary.  George H. Nash, a historian of the modern American conservative movement, believed that Buckley was “arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States in the past half century”. “For an entire generation he was the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure. ” Buckley’s primary change to politics was the fusion of traditional American political conservatism with laissez-faire economic theory and anti-communism, laying the groundwork for the modern American conservatism of U.S. presidential candidates Barry Goldwater and President Ronald Reagan.  Buckley wrote first God and Man at Yale (1951); among over fifty further books on writing, speaking, history, politics and sailing, were a series of novels featuring CIA agent Blackford Oakes. Buckley referred to himself as either a libertarian or conservative. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_F._Buckley,_Jr.

Barry Goldwater (January 2, 1909 – May 29, 1998) was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–1987) and the Republican Party’s nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure in the 1960–64 era, he was known as “Mr. Conservative”.  Goldwater is the politician most often credited for sparking the resurgence of the American conservative political movement in the 1960s. He also had a substantial impact on the libertarian movement.  Goldwater rejected the legacy of the New Deal and fought through the conservative coalition to defeat the New Deal coalition. He lost the 1964 presidential election to incumbent Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson.  ”Our tendency to concentrate power in the hands of a few men deeply concerns me. We can be conquered by bombs or by subversion; but we can also be conquered by neglect – by ignoring the Constitution and disregarding the principles of limited government.  “I am convinced that most Americans now want to reverse the trend. I think that concern for our vanishing freedoms is genuine. I think that the people”s uneasiness in the stifling omnipresence of government has turned into something approaching alarm. But bemoaning the evil will not drive it back, and accusing fingers will not shrink government.”  http://www.4president.org/brochures/goldwater1964brochure.htm

MiltonFriedmanMilton Freidman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American economist and statistician at the University of Chicago, and recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.  Among scholars, he is best known for his theoretical and empirical research, especially consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy.[1] He was an economic advisor to U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Over time, many governments practiced his restatement of a political philosophy that extolled the virtues of a free market economic system with little intervention by government. As a leader of the Chicago school of economics, based at the University of Chicago, he had great influence in determining the research agenda of the entire profession.  Friedman was best known for reviving interest in the money supply as a determinant of the nominal value of output, that is, the quantity theory of money. Monetarism is the set of views associated with modern quantity theory. Its origins can be traced back to the 16th-century School of Salamanca or even further but Friedman’s contribution is largely responsible for its modern popularization. He co-authored, with Anna Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States (1963), which was an examination of the role of the money supply and economic activity in U.S. history. A striking conclusion of their research was one regarding the role of money supply fluctuations as contributing to economic fluctuations.

Jack Kemp (July 13, 1935 – May 2, 2009) was an American politician and a collegiate and professional football player.  As an economic conservative, Kemp advocated low taxes and supply-side policies during his political career. As a proponent of both Chicago school and supply-side economics, he is notable as an influence upon the Reagan agenda and the architect of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which is known as the Kemp–Roth tax cut.  Kemp championed several Chicago school and supply-side economics issues: economic growth, free markets, free trade, tax simplification and lower tax rates on both employment and investment income.  He was a long-time proponent of the flat tax.  He also supported the gold standard, and was the first lawmaker to popularize enterprise zones, which he supported to foster entrepreneurship and job creation and expand homeownership among public housing tenants.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Kemp

Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States and the 33rd Governor of California.  As president, Reagan implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed “Reaganomics,” advocated controlling the money supply to reduce inflation, and spurring economic growth by reducing tax rates, government regulation of the economy, and certain types of government spending. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, took a hard line against labor unions, and ordered military actions in Grenada. He was reelected in a landslide in 1984, proclaiming it was “Morning in America”.  During his Presidency, Ronald Reagan pursued policies that reflected his personal belief in individual freedom, brought changes domestically, both to the U.S. economy and expanded military, and contributed to the end of the Cold War. Termed the Reagan Revolution, his presidency would reinvigorate American morale and reduce the people’s reliance upon government.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Reagan

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