Abstract

This article seeks to reveal the links between Henry C. Carey's monetary theory in the greenback debate and the sectionalist issue within the US Reconstruction period. Sectionalism refers to the economic, political, and cultural differences between the North and South that led to the Civil War and persisted during Reconstruction. It is well known that Carey perceived those differences before the war and proposed, on grounds of his economic development theory, to alleviate sectionalism through a protective tariff. What is hardly known is that Carey continued to engage with the sectionalist issue in its new form during the Reconstruction period and tried to offer a solution to it via protectionism and greenbacks. He showed how greenbacks could put in motion a virtuous cycle of economic development and tied his solution to sectionalism to national independence.

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