Abstract

Previous scholars have described the American business journalist Henry Hazlitt as “an intellectual middleman for orthodox economics.” This article examines Hazlitt's career during the immediate post–World War II era to flesh out how he performed this intermediary role in a specific historical context. A spotlight on unbound print media demonstrates how they enabled Hazlitt to transmit his ideas about the postwar political economy beyond traditional mainstream venues, extending and animating the reading public. Hazlitt's engagement with pamphlet literature likewise inspired a collaboration with Leonard Read that helped lay the groundwork for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the first postwar libertarian think tank. Hazlitt and FEE embarked on a reciprocal relationship during the organization's early years: FEE raised Hazlitt's profile by publicizing and disseminating his influential books Economics in One Lesson (1946) and Will Dollars Save the World? (1947) in pamphlet form, while the organization sought to build its brand by linking itself to the journalist's mainstream credibility. Examining Hazlitt's pamphlet trail in this way reaffirms his popular reach; underscores his unique role as an intellectual, interpersonal, and institutional go-between; and makes a case for his inclusion alongside other key figures in the historiography of the twentieth-century American Right.

In the mid-twentieth century, the journalist Henry Hazlitt rose to prominence as one of the most influential advocates of free market economics in American public life. His career as an economic analyst was built on shoe leather and self-study rather than academic credentials. During the 1920s, he covered the Wall Street beat for a revolving cast of New York's old Park Row dailies while poring over the works of Adam Smith, Philip Wicksteed, and Benjamin Anderson by night. As the editorial voice of the New York Times on economic policy (1934–46), he highlighted the dysfunction of New Deal market interventions; as Newsweek's business columnist (1946–66), he lodged the most persistent postwar critique of Keynesian doctrine (Milazzo 2011: xxviii); as the author of the best-selling Economics in One Lesson (1946), he acquainted modern readers with Frédéric Bastiat to draw a connection between special interests and government controls. All the while, his prominent endorsement of Friedrich Hayek and tireless professional sponsorship of Ludwig von Mises helped establish the twin pillars of Austrian economics in the United States (Hülsmann 2007: 794–95, 873). Hazlitt's talent for translating esoteric economic theory into accessible terms allowed him to reach a larger audience than contemporary academics. Moreover, his status as a public intellectual garnered respect from and access to prominent businessmen and professional economists, a source of social capital he tapped to promote new initiatives and institutions defending free markets. Surveying Hazlitt's career, one pair of scholars (Boettke and Palagashvili 2013) saw fit to characterize him as an “intellectual middleman for orthodox economics,” promulgating an economic outlook that, at the time, had little purchase within universities or government institutions.

The purpose of this article is to elucidate how Hazlitt performed this intermediary role. It examines his work as a journalist in a more exacting historical context and shifts the frame of reference toward his interactions with less-heralded forms of mass media. Specifically, it argues that unbound print matter—the humble pamphlet—played an outsize role in transmitting Hazlitt's countercultural message while prompting collaborations that laid the groundwork for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the first postwar libertarian think tank. As Hazlitt's career began to take off after 1945, his engagement with pamphlet literature led him to expand a recently inaugurated working relationship with FEE's founder, Leonard Read. This partnership, in turn, assisted Hazlitt in broadening his own readership. Pamphlets soon became a central component of the new foundation's outreach strategy and served a dual purpose during its critical early years: they repackaged the content of Hazlitt's books and columns for a wider middle-class audience while affiliating his name and mainstream credibility with a nascent organization looking to build its own brand.

Hazlitt's turn to old-fashioned, low-tech booklets, printed cheaply in large batches and distributed by mail, has drawn little notice from admirers otherwise intent on emphasizing his multimedia bona fides. Contemporaries on the right, harboring a pervasive sense of political marginalization, cherished his perch inside the New York media establishment and delighted in what the Republican activist James L. Wick touted as Hazlitt's “enormous following” (Milazzo 2011: xxiv). Murray Rothbard, Sylvester Petro, and Ronald Reagan, among others, cited his published work as a formative influence.1 His reach also extended to the airwaves, where he appeared as a fixture of radio debate forums and cohost of the Longines Chronoscope, a protype news panel in the pioneering days of television. Subsequent career chroniclers seeking to assert his modern relevance preferred to emphasize these more conspicuous outlets and examples, usually in compact retrospectives spanning multiple decades (Tucker 1994, 1999; Malone 2018; Greaves 1993). Such bird's-eye views, written by nonhistorians using only a select few archival documents, neglect to ground Hazlitt's ideas and activities in any particular time or place. As such, they overlook the critical backdrop of current events that a working newsman like Hazlitt responded to, as well as the web of personal relationships and institutional associations that shaped those responses.

Engaging Hazlitt's use of pamphlets helps to recover this context, because pamphlets, like Hazlitt himself, served an intermediary function: transmitting economic ideas across different media genres, engaging new readers, and forging professional connections and institutional reputations. In a bygone age of Reformation and revolution, pamphleteers carved out a cultural space for political debate that broadened deliberative discourse and gave tangible form to “public opinion” (Verhoest 2019). In a more media-saturated modern era, inexpensive booklets and broadsides provided the means for activists on both the left and the right to create, animate, and extend publics outside conventional channels (Mata 2018; Wolfskill 1962: 65–67; Lichtman 2009: 59–76, 94). In other words, Hazlitt's arguments penetrated the public consciousness more than they might have otherwise because they were unbound—freed from the facelessness of the Times's editorial page, but also amplified in the pages of pamphlets that reached beyond the ambit of publishing houses and generated more buzz than business columns.

At the same time, Hazlitt's ideas landed because they were bound up with a new institution that produced those pamphlets to spread the “freedom philosophy,” as Leonard Read branded his libertarian outlook. Read usually takes center stage in any recounting of FEE's postwar origin story because his ideological entrepreneurship willed it into being (Eow 2007: 109–59; Phillips-Fein 2009: 26–52; Sennholz 1993: 1–69). Hazlitt (1984) himself was always quick to credit Read's vision and energy, abjuring any significant role for himself in the influential organization's development. But by following the pamphlet trail, it becomes apparent that Hazlitt contributed more to FEE's inception than either he or later historical accounts let on. The relationship between the journalist and the foundation in its early years proved reciprocal and mutually reinforcing: Read hitched his wagon to Hazlitt's star, then labored to ensure that star's ascent.

With pamphlets, as with the press, timing is everything: success is measured by how well they manage to reflect public concerns over issues of the day (Calkin 1940: 26–27). In the mid-1940s, Hazlitt's instincts as a reporter led him to frame big stories in ways that resonated with readers. During that time, the United States experienced two historical inflection points in rapid succession: first, domestic reconversion from an unprecedented wartime command economy to a peacetime footing, followed soon thereafter by the onset of the Cold War and an unprecedented financial commitment to rebuilding and integrating the economies of Western Europe. In both instances, Hazlitt managed to insert himself into the hub of national conversation. In 1946, Economics in One Lesson presaged the Republican tide that swept up both houses of Congress in the midterm elections, offering readers weary of wartime controls a lucid case for why less government involvement in the economy would make more Americans better off. A year later, his widely discussed critique of the Marshall Plan, Will Dollars Save the World?, became a convenient synecdoche for the broader case against the Truman administration's signature foreign policy initiative.

In each circumstance, unbound literature reinforced Hazlitt's initial public offerings, serving as an alternative conduit to spread economic ideas first aired in editorials, magazine columns, and hardcover. Bypassing bookstores and newsstands, pamphlets brought Hazlitt's perspective directly into readers' living rooms, their places of business, and even the halls of Congress, elevating his profile and promoting FEE's educational mission.

The narrative outlined above unfolds below in four parts. The first offers an overview of Hazlitt's upward-trending status within the media landscape of the mid-1940s, focusing on how he analyzed current economic issues, interfaced with the public, and developed his relationship with Leonard Read. The second recounts how Hazlitt catalyzed Read's efforts to define an organizational mission for the incipient Foundation for Economic Education. The final two sections explain how Hazlitt's two books, Economics in One Lesson and Will Dollars Save the World?, grew out of his day-to-day work as a journalist and describe how FEE's pamphleteering program heightened their public impact. Taken together, they offer a unique vantage to observe how an otherwise unassuming newsman leveraged his communication skills, professional reputation, and personal network to build a case for free markets and a reputation as one of the Right's most valuable assets in the public square.

Hazlitt's Star Rising

It was a fit of pique over a wayward pamphlet that landed Henry Hazlitt his part in FEE's origin story. This subsequent turn of events makes sense only in view of the collaborative relationship he and Leonard Read had already begun to forge by the spring of 1945. That collaboration, in turn, came about as the upward arc of both men's careers made them prominent players on the national stage. They first met at the offices of the Times earlier that year when Read was in New York considering an offer from the National Industrial Conference Board (NICB) to serve as its executive vice president. Having made a name for himself building the ten-thousand-member Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce into a bastion of New Deal resistance, Read now eyed the NICB position as a more influential platform for free market proselytizing (Hazlitt 1968).

Hazlitt, too, was beginning to spread his wings. Opportunity knocked with the death of the Times's esteemed financial editor, Alexander Dana Noyes, whose Monday column had long anchored the paper's business section. Hazlitt soon got word from the paper's publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, that the column was his. Since 1934, Hazlitt's words had conveyed much of the Times's skepticism of New Deal domestic policy, although the prestige of the platform had come at the cost of editorial anonymity. Now, with the nation poised at the brink of peace, Hazlitt had been handed a prominent platform to interpret economic policy just as it was about to become a consuming public interest.2

Hazlitt's leap to the business section marked the first in a series of career advances that, in the span of just over a year, positioned him as the leading voice for the free market in American journalism and drew him into Leonard Read's orbit. During that time, signed columns elevated his visibility in the national media and his status within the business community. Public talks, debates, and policy papers garnered wide audiences and amplified his economic analysis, which continued to appear daily on the Times's editorial page. In the midst of this frenetic schedule, he also carved out enough time to write Economics in One Lesson, the little book that established his libertarian legacy. Although that book reintroduced readers to classical economic thought in a way that resonated beyond the 1940s, it must also be understood as a product of its time and a reflection of Hazlitt's quotidian analysis of economic events.

The issues dominating national headlines in 1945–46—full-employment plans, price controls, labor strife, and inflation—reflected the uncertainties of reconversion and the ambiguity Americans felt contemplating the postwar economy. In each case, a Keynesian emphasis on purchasing power framed the debate, much to Hazlitt's chagrin. It was a stark reminder of how far once-unorthodox economic ideas had penetrated public- and private-sector thinking about economic growth during the war years. On Capitol Hill, a well-publicized Senate bill sought to recast the federal budget as a planning process designed to anticipate market deficiencies, compensate for them with deficit spending, and guarantee employment for all able-bodied Americans (Attewell 2017). Organized labor, meanwhile, looked less to public works stopgaps to sustain prosperity than high industrial wages, advanced by a collective bargaining regime unshackled at last from the wartime “no-strike” pledge (Jacobs 2005). As it had during the New Deal, the politicization of wages extended ineluctably to prices. Laborites and their government allies, led by the Office of Price Administration's (OPA) Chester Bowles, insisted that corporations tap war-bloated profits to absorb pay hikes without passing the costs to consumers, while calling for the indefinite extension of wartime price ceilings (Rockoff 1984).

Beyond book fodder, Hazlitt's engagement with such matters heightened his public standing and even presented an opportunity for pamphleteering. He had sparred with Senator James E. Murray (D-MT) in the opinion pages of the Times starting in January 1945, when the War Contracts Subcommittee released the first draft of Murray's full employment bill.3 The opportunity to attach his name to these arguments and expand on them arrived with a request from the American Enterprise Association (AEA) for a fuller analysis in pamphlet form. Precursor of the American Enterprise Institute, the AEA was established in 1943 by businessmen suspicious of but not implacably hostile to the New Deal and published nominally objective assessments of pending legislation. Hazlitt already sat on its board of advisers, and his was the first pamphlet written by someone directly affiliated with the organization. Under the later leadership of William Baroody Jr., AEI became what one historian (Critchlow 2011) described as “a command center” for economic deregulation, employing cutting-edge quantitative analysis aimed at academics and Beltway insiders. But prior to the early seventies, the organization lacked the requisite funding, staff, or technical expertise. It turned instead to independent scholars and articulate laymen like Hazlitt to appeal to a more general audience. Its “National Economic Problems” series offered a sustained critique of various social welfare proposals, though little in the way of alternative policy prescriptions. That was enough for some readers. One, an economist with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, considered Hazlitt's pamphlet a “devastating expose” and “the best I have seen anywhere on this subject.”4

Hazlitt criticized the Murray legislation's “crude mechanical form of purchasing power theory,” which misunderstood disequilibria in discrete markets and assumed that a given volume of employment or production necessarily followed writ large from a given volume of government expenditures.5 The pamphlet and Hazlitt's editorials cast doubt on the knowledge or ability of experts to inject controlled doses of inflation into the economy. But in a larger sense, he lamented the bill's misplaced priorities. Full employment divorced from the goal of full production meant little, since civilizations measured progress in their ability to wring more production, not less, out of the same labor. “The real question is not whether there will be 50 or 60 million jobs in America in 1950,” he insisted, taking a subtle swipe at Henry Wallace, “but how much will we produce, and what, in consequence, will be our standard of living?”6 He made much the same argument over the airwaves and in Wallace's presence during a radio debate on the Murray bill sponsored by the University of Chicago Round Table. The legislation, he told the secretary, took for granted “that everything in economic life begins with expenditures.” But its proponents never considered the possibility that government expenditures might be the cause of, rather than the remedy for, the deficiencies in private spending they lamented—a theme later echoed in Economics in One Lesson.7

Hazlitt identified the full employment bill as one of the two most serious obstacles to reconversion. Price controls were the other, raising many similar concerns about inflation, production, and the limits of government expertise. If the prospect of a full-employment spending spree promised to stoke the inflationary furnace, he argued, the continuation of price controls could do little but paper over its effects, and in fact stood to make matters worse.8 He amplified this editorial position in public debates with Truman administration officials who shared Chester Bowles's enthusiasm for them. Hazlitt faced off on separate occasions against Robert R. Nathan, the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion's Deputy Director for Reconversion, and Richard Gilbert, economic adviser at OPA, on NBC's nationally syndicated radio program Wake Up, America!9

Hazlitt sparred with Bowles himself on the merits of “government controls during reconversion” in a September program hosted by the NICB before a capacity crowd in the Grand Ballroom of New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel. In his turn at the podium, he unpacked the inherent shortcomings of peacetime price controls before turning to the specific problems that accompanied their inevitable politicization (Hazlitt 1945). Controls, he observed, short-circuit the signal to produce more of a commodity whose demand has increased, but do nothing to limit that demand or boost supplies. Higher prices, by contrast, do both of these things automatically without complicated formulas or top-down administration. Price ceilings could not work in the long run without corresponding wage limits, although union leaders opposed them, refusing to recognize wages as the price of labor. Nor were they viable without extensive rationing to tamp down on excess purchasing power—the sort of regimentation that taxed consumer patience once patriotic wartime fervor had dissipated. OPA's price-fixing formulas, he asserted, were complicated, unrealistic, and unfair, putting “manufacturers at the mercy of bureaucratic discrimination and caprice.”10

Hazlitt's performance at the Waldorf was exactly what Leonard Read, now serving officially as the NICB's executive vice president, had in mind when he first approached Hazlitt to appear. Earlier that summer, Read had asked Hazlitt to join a group of “Grade A Liberals” for a dinner meeting that included Cornell's F. A. “Baldy” Harper along with other distinguished economists from Yale and Wisconsin, future Pulitzer Prize winner William H. Grimes of the Wall Street Journal, and Ludwig von Mises. Read later described this brainstorming session with some excitement as the NICB's “first venture into the field of political ideas.” With the blessing of President Virgil Jordan and the organization's executive board, Read planned to organize a series of studies on the subject of reconversion, “demonstrating by fact and reason the extent to which the free market economy ceases to exist if the controls remain.” He wanted to avoid outright advocacy, retaining the NICB's commitment to objective research while reinforcing the fundamental principles of “free competitive enterprise” for businessmen disinclined to think carefully about such matters. Read's mentor and confidant, Southern California Edison executive William Mullendore, agreed that the “void in the field of ideas” posed the greatest threat to postwar production but begged off an invitation to address price controls himself at the conference Read was tasked with organizing. Instead, Read turned to Hazlitt after recalling his impressive performance at the earlier meeting of distinguished economists. As Read recounted to Mullendore, the Times columnist “did a better job on this business of controls than anyone else.”11

Read's optimism about the NICB's intellectual turn did not survive the year, as disillusion with its too-tepid defense of the free market soon set in. FEE grew out of Read's disappointment, his past experience in California with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and his tireless initiatives. But Hazlitt's continued interactions with Read prior to the break with the NICB sharpened his vision of what the new foundation could become. In this sense, he was more of a catalyst for Read's actions than he later recalled.

Modeling Economic Education

It all started with a complaint to Alfred Sloan. The head of General Motors had good reason to be solicitous of Hazlitt. His work in the Times scored the massive United Auto Workers strike against GM in November and the purchasing power rationale union chief Walter Reuther invoked to justify his proposed 30 percent wage hike. Reuther's insistence that industrial laborers earn enough “to buy back the product” later garnered its own chapter in Economics in One Lesson—with Reuther's name redacted—to demonstrate how “everyone's income is someone else's cost” (Hazlitt 1946: 159–67). But like many other corporate executives, Sloan had become a fan of Hazlitt's columns well before the strike, often singling out his steadfast opposition to controls and loose fiscal policy. The two men became casually acquainted through correspondence and a shared connection to the labor economist Leo Wolman.12

Playing those cards, Hazlitt wrote in early August to vent his spleen about a pamphlet. Specifically, he voiced his displeasure with the Public Affairs Committee, a purveyor of policy analysis in pamphlet form that drew support from Sloan's eponymous ten-million-dollar charitable fund. Its latest offering, “There Can Be Jobs for All,” issued a full-throated endorsement of Full Employment in a Free Society, a brief for economic planning in the United States by Sir William Beveridge, prophet of the postwar British welfare state. Hazlitt was predictably appalled. Foundations should not expect their grantees to serve as ideological cyphers, he told Sloan, but nor should they underwrite advocacy so antithetical to their core values.13

Sloan, who pronounced the Beveridge Plan and its American cognate, the Murray bill, “the first step toward the Road to Serfdom,” agreed wholeheartedly. So much so that he asked Hazlitt to undertake a formal review of the Sloan Foundation's entire slate of activities devoted to economics education. Despite his packed schedule, Hazlitt was loath to refuse; years earlier, he had praised Sloan in the Times for earmarking the entire endowment to promote basic economic literacy among ordinary Americans. But he accepted the task only after Wolman and Read agreed to lend a hand. The three worked independently throughout the fall, comparing notes on their near-unanimous conclusions over dinner in mid-November. On the surface, nothing came of it. Sloan, though grateful for the effort, had his hands full with the strike and never seriously engaged their recommendations.14

In the interim, however, their report served as a de facto template, outlining a mission statement for an organization with an uncanny resemblance to the one Read was soon proposing to donors as the Foundation for Economic Education. As Hazlitt described it not long thereafter to the editor of the Baltimore Sun, FEE “came into being almost by a sort of accident.” The methods and objectives that the three consultants envisioned for the Sloan Foundation, he noted, had inspired Read to forge ahead on his own regardless of what the GM executive ultimately decided.15 For his own part, Read (1946: 604–5) characterized his work for the Sloan committee as both formative and sobering. The frustrations Hazlitt and Sloan expressed with the leftward tilt of “even-handed” economics education had resonated with him that fall. Throughout his tenure with the NICB, he chafed under a similar mandate for content neutrality in public programming—it was why Hazlitt had shared the dais with Bowles at the Waldorf, and why Read ultimately resigned his position in January 1946 (Sennholz 1993: 67–68; Doherty 2008: 160).

The authors of the report already seemed to be thinking beyond Sloan, looking past its preexisting administrative and financial commitments as if starting from a clean slate. They recommended severing ties with the Public Affairs Committee and all other programs whose content the foundation could not control. The sounder strategy, they argued, was to become an “operating organization” that generated the bulk of its educational content in-house, or else commissioned it for direct distribution. Research support for select academic economists at the top of the “intellectual hierarchy” would work in tandem with a broad program of multimedia outreach directed at general audiences. To reach a new generation more accustomed to regimentation than liberty, a successful institution would first need to spark a desire for economic understanding, then service it by producing, promoting, and distributing “the best in economic literature.”16

Both the paperwork filed to incorporate the Foundation for Economic Education in March 1946 and later promotional literature drew directly from the language of the Sloan report to describe the organization's mission and agenda. The extended list of programmatic options Read floated featured all those that he and his colleagues had suggested in December. Read also carried over the report's top-down conception of how knowledge permeated the nation's cultural consciousness. Apart from funding the research of elite specialists, both classical and cutting-edge economic ideas had to be applied to issues of current interest and made accessible in mass media formats to potential thought leaders across all intellectual tiers (Doherty 2008: 160–61).17

If FEE hoped to unite intellectual opponents of the New Deal state, businessmen, and the broader public in common cause for liberty, that meant allaying mutual suspicions rooted in the Depression years. Despite their shared distaste for Franklin Roosevelt's handiwork, businessmen and free market intellectuals had eyed each other warily in the 1930s. Prominent libertarian writers of that era—Albert Jay Nock, H. L. Mencken, Isabel Patterson, Rose Wilder Lane—dismissed corporate executives as self-interested, unprincipled plutocrats. In turn, Liberty Leaguers went about their errands with little regard for these literary heel-nippers. Both camps, however, shared an overarching suspicion of mass democracy and its statist affinities, and so had trouble connecting with the millions who had looked to Roosevelt's New Deal state as a lifeline (Doherty 2008: 113–47; Burns 2015; Levy and Peart 2012).

Hazlitt's potential to mend these rifts and revitalize the case for free markets must not have escaped Read's notice. His career at the Times imbued him with mainstream credibility. He was well versed in classical economic theory and literature and skilled at making those ideas accessible to readers in the context of current events. Hazlitt had also worked behind the scenes to expose the business community to Austrian intellectuals who defended the free market in the explicit language of democracy and cast statism as a credible threat to the well-being of ordinary people (Phillips-Fein 2009: 39–40). Hazlitt's connections helped secure Ludwig von Mises a publisher as well as a position with the National Association of Manufacturers; Read's subsequent collaborations with Mises in Los Angeles followed from that affiliation and culminated with his appointment as an in-house economist at FEE, alongside F. A. Harper (Eow 2007: 121). Hazlitt's career, moreover, was trending upward, compromised neither by advanced age, by the taint of prewar isolationism, nor by the sort of cantankerous, antidemocratic elitism that had derailed his friend Mencken. More than any other free market advocate, Hazlitt was ideally positioned to carry his critique of the New Deal state forward into the postwar era.

Read selected Hazlitt as the foundation's vice president and asked him to serve on a committee to select members for the expanded board of trustees. Read also looked to Hazlitt early on to help establish FEE's reputation, expand its reach, and jump-start serious financing. Read's initial prospectus for the organization threw caution to the wind, envisioning a slate of programs with an eventual annual cost approaching two million dollars. Even some of his most enthusiastic backers found the scale of such ambitions “breathtaking.” Still, as spring turned to summer, Read hesitated to launch a major fundraising campaign. Before doing so, he wanted potential business donors to have sampled some actual pamphlet content, distribution of which would serve simultaneously to build the foundation's mailing base among thousands of ordinary Americans.18 FEE's inaugural publication was Profits and the Ability to Pay Wages, a technical study geared specifically to employers that Read had first solicited for the NICB from Yale economist (and FEE secretary) Fred Fairchild. There was also a more accessible pamphlet in press, a critique of rent control by two promising young economists, George Stigler and Milton Friedman (it was Hazlitt who originally recommended their piece Roofs and Ceilings for publication).19 The very first mailer to target a broad audience, however, was a chapter excerpt, reprinted from Reader's Digest, of a just-published mass-market book on popular economics. Read was hitching FEE's wagon to Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. It turned out to be a fruitful collaboration for both parties.

Selling the Lesson

There was a certain marketing savvy in what Hazlitt himself called his book's “ambitious and belligerent title.”20 He pitched the project as a compendium of popular economic fallacies, those false but familiar premises that had long provided the intellectual scaffolding for a slate of misguided government policies. For a growing audience of middlebrow readers bewildered by the intricacies of the postwar political economy, his book promised to make a vast subject area accessible using the simplest of rubrics. “The shortest and surest way to an understanding of economics,” he assured them, “is through a dissection of such errors.” There was no reason for readers to feel intimidated, since many contemporary ideas that passed for brilliant innovations were, in fact, “mere revivals of ancient errors” (Hazlitt 1946: vii–viii).

Hazlitt chose to keep his own intellectual pedigree close to the vest. He confessed a debt to one of his earliest influences, Philip Wicksteed, and his latest, Ludwig von Mises, while leaving many others unmentioned. Given the book's focus on the fallacious, however, he had little choice but to acknowledge the inspiration of Frédéric Bastiat, the nineteenth-century French journalist and pamphleteer whose name, going forward, would be linked to his. Bastiat enjoyed something of a renaissance in the 1940s, rediscovered by those seeking to explain the advantages of free markets to lay audiences. Read dipped into him for the first time during the war while still in the employ of the LA Chamber of Commerce. A dusty copy of The Law made such a favorable impression that he determined to make an inexpensive new edition of the essay available to the general public. It appeared in 1945 under the imprint of his small publishing venture, the Pamphleteers, Inc., in a series that also included Rose Wilder Lane's Give Me Liberty and Ayn Rand's Anthem (Russell 1969: 143).

Hazlitt's manuscript made explicit use of Bastiat's ideas and metaphors to synthesize a decade's worth of economic commentary. He drew inspiration from the parables presented in Economic Sophisms (1845) and the 1850 essay “That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen.” The latter featured the “broken window fallacy,” which showed the purported economic advantages of destruction to be illusory: payment remitted to fix the fractured pane benefited the glazier but diverted limited funds from alternative uses and other potential beneficiaries. Hazlitt repackaged this moral for a modern audience as the eponymous (and implicitly anti-Keynesian) lesson in the book's title. “The art of economics,” he adduced, “consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups” (Hazlitt 1946: 5).

Hazlitt had little trouble applying the broken window analogy to all manner of public policies designed to rob Peter to pay Paul. Chapters on tariffs, commodity stabilization, and the mercantilist drive for exports reflected Bastiat's (and Hazlitt's) personal war on trade protectionism. Others covered topics well-rehearsed in his editorials, particularly of late: government credit and price-fixing, wage-setting through state minimums and union activism, subsidizing distressed industries, and government fiscal stimulus. All discussed the various ways that special interests sought to displace actual production with shortcuts and simulacra underwritten at the expense of William Graham Sumner's “forgotten man”: the laborer, the taxpayer, and, as Bastiat emphasized more than Sumner, the unorganized consumer (Hazlitt 1946: 30–55, 68–106, 116–58, 215–16). Hazlitt had interpreted the New Deal in this way since his earliest writings on the National Recovery Administration in Mencken's American Mercury. Now, his financial column in the Times adapted chapter segments almost verbatim in reference to the Murray Bill, the OPA, and Walter Reuther. Though Hazlitt sought to strip the book itself of contemporary details and statistics to lend it a certain timeless quality, the columns were one more reminder of how much the project reflected his day job.

Economics in One Lesson ended up spending four weeks as a New York Times bestseller, reaching as high as number seven in nonfiction before it dropped off the list. In later years, Hazlitt blamed his publisher for not printing enough copies to maintain the book's position. But this memory recounted actual events less accurately than it reflected his lingering pessimism about the publishing industry's receptivity to free market ideas. The book did not chart until mid-September, during its second printing.21 By that time, it had been buffeted by an August excerpt in the Reader's Digest and positive early notices, including John Chamberlain's glowing endorsement in the New York Times Book Review. His write-up may not have done for Hazlitt what Hazlitt's did for Hayek's Road to Serfdom two years earlier, but it did not want for enthusiasm. “If people wish to disperse the illusions which push pressure groups and politicians all over the world to economic cannibalism and universal impoverishment,” Chamberlain (1946: 23) effused, “they will form little societies to further the sale and influence of Mr. Hazlitt's incisive economic ‘lesson.’” Luckily for Hazlitt, a number of ideological allies had already taken Chamberlain's advice to heart.

The Foundation for Economic Education led the way. Not long after the Digest decided to condense Hazlitt, Read arranged to circulate a reprint in a leaflet called “Samplings,” FEE's first effort to target a wider audience and cultivate “a desire for good literature.” The mailer did not come right out and blame a liberal media monopoly for anemic sales of books supportive of the free market; it simply assumed that recipients understood the “causes for this prolonged slump in common-sense literature” and asked for help redistributing additional pamphlets in a “cooperative effort . . . to promote sound ideas in America.” The response exceeded expectations. An ebullient follow-up weeks later claimed that “tens of thousands of this leaflet were ordered from all parts of the nation and by persons from every walk of life.” Read hesitated to take direct credit for Hazlitt's subsequent success, but his correspondence hinted at the word-of-mouth momentum FEE helped build. “Referring to your letter of August 8, you can chalk up three copies of Economics in One Lesson that I have passed on to my friends,” wrote one industrial consultant from Cleveland.22

Not everyone in this targeted community proved receptive. Hazlitt, of course, anticipated pushback from liberal and Keynesian circles. One Stanford business professor informed readers of the Saturday Review that “the recipe for this book is simple. Exhume Herbert Spencer's Social Statics . . . disguise with a wash of Wicksteed's scientific laissez-faire, adulterate freely with modern reactionary political prejudices á la von Mises—and you have Economics in One Lesson” (Kreps 1946: 15–16). But it rankled Hazlitt most when erstwhile allies questioned the authenticity of his efforts. He seethed at the reaction of an economist at General Foods, a self-professed critic of the New Deal, who dismissed both Economics in One Lesson and the Foundation for Economic Education as fonts of one-sided, “rightist” propaganda. “Nothing could illustrate more vividly than this how difficult our problem is,” he confided to Read. “Such fifth columnists within business do far more harm than outright socialists or labor leaders.”23

Nevertheless, other organizations followed FEE's lead in an effort to market the book directly to businessmen. The recently launched Executive Book Club boosted sales by selecting Economics in One Lesson as its first choice, providing free copies to its newest members, and declaring it “one of the most enlightening, stimulating, and exciting books that you have ever read.” The club's interest translated into an order of over seventeen thousand copies. This level of mass-market success and exposure, coming at a time when the New Economics was emerging as the status quo in government and university departments, bolstered the confidence of Read and other FEE backers that the “freedom philosophy” could win Americans' support if properly explained.24

“One Practical Pamphlet” versus the Marshall Plan

Hazlitt remained at the forefront of that effort. Around the time Economics in One Lesson was cresting on bestseller lists, he left his longtime perch at the Times for a new position that promised more visibility and influence. As the new business columnist for Newsweek magazine, he went on to offer nearly a thousand permutations of the one lesson over the next two decades—and not just on topics limited to domestic policy (Milazzo 2011).

Indeed, the most immediate impact of his new job was that it allowed the flexibility for extended travel. At the first hint of spring in 1947, he set off for a tour of continental Europe that served to bolster his reputation and influence on two fronts. In the Swiss resort town of Mont Pèlerin, he counted among the founding members of a new international organization of free market intellectuals who hoped to stem the tide of socialist planning worldwide. Thereafter, his observations in various European capitals formed the basis of a series of columns he converted into a compact publication, Will Dollars Save the World?, which soon took center stage in the ongoing debate about America's role in the postwar global order. Notwithstanding the megaphone that his Newsweek column provided, pamphlet media still proved essential to make his thoughts on national security, trade, and European economic recovery more directly accessible to lay readers and policymakers during national discussions of the Marshall Plan in 1947–48. Once more, FEE's efforts on his behalf paid dividends for both parties.

Hazlitt had Friedrich Hayek to thank for his overseas adventure. It commenced with an invitation to Switzerland, where the Austrian played host to a transatlantic confab intended as an intellectual counterweight to the collectivists occupying the commanding heights of Western governments and universities. Hazlitt joined an esteemed group of international economists at Lake Geneva, where he enjoyed the “stimulating” proceedings and played an active role developing early drafts of a statement of purpose for what would become the Mont Pelerin Society. Prior to the trip, Hayek had exploited Hazlitt's credibility within the American business community, suggesting him for a proposed, but never convened, screening committee to vet participants at the behest of skeptical benefactors such as Volker Fund president Harold Luhnow (Caldwell 2022: 39n24).25 For his own part, Hazlitt always contrived to treat his Swiss sojourn as the first leg of an extended tour of Europe. His three-week stay there offered a needed dose of comfort and familiarity, easing him into the role of roving Newsweek correspondent. After the conference, he lodged on Lake Zurich in the home of one of Hayek's European financial backers, Albert Hunold; mingled among Hayek's social circle; and benefited from interviews that Hunold arranged with influential industrialists and bankers. He continued to rely on financial elites such as these as background sources for subsequent columns, which he composed after a hectic, sleep-depriving itinerary through Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and London.26

His travelogue appeared in Newsweek between April 21 and June 9, in the midst of rising tensions with the Soviet Union that soon prompted a decisive turn in America's relationship with Europe. Around this time, Truman administration officials realized that fundamental differences over the direction of the German occupation had laid bare two irreconcilable continental strategies and signaled the demise of the cooperative globalism envisaged only recently at Yalta (Leffler 1994: 33–63). Secretary of State George Marshall's face-to-face meeting with Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov in March 1947 convinced him that the Kremlin cared little for postwar European recovery or Germany's contribution to it (Steil 2018: 8–12, 29–81, 88–93, 27, 98–109). Thereafter, strategic containment of Soviet ambitions took on an explicit economic dimension in Marshall's call for a US-initiated large-scale aid program, designed to prevent starvation and stave off social disintegration (Hitchcock 2011: 154–59). Truman's national security team also hoped to build a cooperative framework to jump-start trade and establish a cohesive Western bloc capable of resisting communist subversion (Holm 2017: xv–xvi, 51–81, 146–48).

Though Hazlitt shared these strategic concerns about European recovery and Soviet designs, he harbored doubts about the administration's tactics. Back in New York, he set out to explain how Marshall Plan proponents had misdiagnosed Europe's economic ills, building on his observations from overseas in another series of columns over the next six months. His travels abroad had confirmed what he already suspected: European economic statecraft was breeding European economic dysfunction and doing more to prolong postwar problems than the wake of wartime destruction. If that were the case, then the well-intentioned munificence of American assistance could never overcome the internal contradictions of policy decisions hatched in distant capitals—dollars could not save the world from itself. Nor, for that matter, could they coax the structural reforms required for recovery.

Hazlitt had long asserted the mutually reinforcing relationship between government controls on domestic economic activity and autarkic restrictions on currency and trade. This argument moved to the foreground in his writings on foreign aid in 1947–48 (Hazlitt 2011: 30–38). The Dutch economy, for one, was hamstrung by controls and restrictions on commodity prices, raw materials, imports, exports, foreign exchange, and business startups. In Sweden, price-fixing and rationing released an excess of purchasing power to chase luxury goods, which led to a run on imports. Import restrictions via licensing stemmed the flow but prompted bilateral trade agreements that squeezed through controlled amounts of both luxuries and staples at artificially inflated prices. “Each country is forced to take, not the goods that its consumers want, and in the proportions that they want them, but the luxuries that its neighbor is most eager to get rid of,” he emphasized. This combination of bilateralism and totalizing controls was, in his view, reminiscent of the planned economy implemented under the Nazi regime's financial architect, Hjalmar Schact. Schact's dubious model for economic nationalism called for monetary inflation masked through rigid state management of prices, wages, output, currency, and exchange—what Wilhelm Röpke (1947: 1, 24) called “repressed inflation.” Hazlitt thought that the Allies had adopted this model almost wholesale for the now-occupied former Reich.

In his view, the most damaging instrument of planning and the “greatest single barrier to world recovery” involved the use of “government police power” to maintain currency levels well above their true market value. He spotlighted it as the Ur-source of Europe's putative dollar shortage, one of the primary justifications for large-scale aid cited by Marshall Plan proponents. European recovery required imports of raw materials and food, as well as the foreign denominations—primarily dollars—to pay for them. That meant Europe had to produce enough goods for export to earn those dollars, a capacity undermined, according to conventional wisdom, by lingering wartime dislocations. Hazlitt was one of the few commentators who interpreted the chronic postwar trade imbalance primarily as a failure of governments to allow natural currency adjustments. The problem, he insisted, was that nations like Britain were consuming more than they were producing and buying more than they were selling. A network of exchange controls buttressed overvalued currencies and Britain's imperial preferences, short-circuiting any incentives to balance international accounts. As such, Hazlitt argued, American aid would do little but “subsidize and prolong a totalitarian device that disintegrates and strangles international trade, makes free enterprise impossible, retards European recovery, and intensifies and perpetuates the very ‘dollar shortage’ that it pretends to cure.” Instead, he proposed a more straightforward solution to the dollar shortage. “We might find,” he informed Newsweek readers, “that the restoration of free markets in exchange, especially if combined with the restoration of free markets in commodities, would make the whole ‘Marshall Plan’ unnecessary” (Hazlitt 2011: 72–73, 48–49, 83–84, 92–93, 100–101).

Hazlitt worked quickly to distill this extended analysis into a short work published jointly in November 1947 by Appleton-Century Press and in pamphlet form for the Foundation for Economic Education (Hazlitt [1947] 2007). The Nation took specific note of Hazlitt's mass distribution strategy with FEE. The lead story for the liberal journal's year-end issue conjectured that sales in the competitive bookstore market alone might not have been enough to dent public opinion. But the seventy-five-cent price of the foundation's pamphlet was half that of the Appleton-Century edition, and bulk discounts were attracting huge orders. “Judging by the number that are now floating around—one of our readers reports he has received five copies from five different donors—it would seem that corporations and businessmen who support the Foundation are buying them in carload lots for presentation to friends, customers, and employers” (Hutchison 1947: 699–701). Frank Chodorov's libertarian newsletter, Analysis, took to giving free copies to annual subscribers, as did other business publications. In some quarters, circulation of FEE's pamphlet was predicted to reach a million copies. Leonard Read giddily cited its reach to his trustees as evidence of the foundation's impact, a case the Richmond News Leader helped make for him:

One practical pamphlet . . . is beginning to have a widespread influence on American thinking. . . . You might as well send for it now. . . . A great American, known to millions, looked grave as he spoke of the book this week in Washington: “It has done more than anything else,” he said, “to shake my faith in the Marshall Plan.”

“What influence has this ‘Great American?’” Read asked the board. “Isn't it possible that a doubt in his mind is equal to a similar doubt in the minds of thousands of others?”27

The Committee for the Marshall Plan to Aid European Recovery certainly thought so. The ad hoc organization culled liberal internationalists from the ranks of corporations and organized labor, with leading lights of the foreign policy establishment, including Dean Acheson, Allen Dulles, and Alger Hiss, populating its executive committee. Though nominally an independent citizens organization, it served as the cusp of the State Department's public relations campaign to promote the European Recovery Program (Wala 1986: 247–65). The committee attributed much of the opposition to the ERP to Hazlitt's publication, an effect “most noticeable in the business community which had so large a stake in European recovery.”28

The release of Will Dollars Save the World? also coincided with major congressional hearings on the Marshall Plan scheduled that winter. Much as his critics anticipated, legislators were quite familiar with Hazlitt's work by then. One industrial newsletter reported that it was “being widely read on Capitol Hill.” Syndicated columnists urged as much, and constituents often took matters into their own hands. As Leonard Read told one corporate donor, David Goodrich, FEE never sent unsolicited materials to congressmen, but word was that Senator Styles Bridges (R-NH) had already received fourteen copies. Turning the tables, an Oklahoma congressman submitted an order for five hundred pamphlets intended for residents of his district. Hazlitt dutifully decamped to Washington for an extended stay “on request by the Congress” (as Read put it) a month before the hearings began.29

Hazlitt enjoyed a warmer reception before the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees than the handful of other Marshall Plan critics on the left and right. Unlike former vice president Henry Wallace, he shared the general anticommunist orientation of the members. In contrast to isolationists like the National Economic Council's Merwin Hart, he betrayed no smoldering hostility toward Imperial Britain, saw no connection between Cold War foreign policy and creeping totalitarianism at home, and never suggested that Truman was manufacturing hysteria. He spoke as a more forthright proponent of multilateralism, convertible currencies, and free trade than skeptics like Senator Robert Taft, and emphasized both the domestic and global threat of inflation that foreign aid posed. Nor did he characterize the Marshall Plan itself as socialist, emphasizing instead, as he had in print, the practical limitations of planned economies to foster recovery regardless of the money spent.30

Still, Hazlitt's earnest arguments about economic incentive structures always faced an uphill battle against a policy he readily acknowledged as a powerful symbol of American generosity and resolve. Although Senator Henry Cabot Lodge (R-MA) characterized his book as “conspicuously well-phrased, and from a certain standpoint . . . unanswerable,” Republicans and Democrats alike questioned Hazlitt's central premise that American money could have no meaningful impact on European recovery. They tended to see the morale-bolstering aid package less as “a strictly business proposition” than as one designed primarily, as Senator Mike Mansfield emphasized, to contain communism.31 Even several of Read's correspondents expressed disappointment that Hazlitt offered no substantive alternative to the Marshall Plan.32 Likewise, among the Mont Pelerin crowd, Lionel Robbins concurred with Hayek, who thought it was “possible to agree with practically every word in [Hazlitt's] conclusions” yet think it ill-advised to argue that “at this moment the complete cessation of American lending would be anything less than a major calamity” (Jones 2016: 76).

For his part, Hazlitt always considered himself an internationalist. Prior to Pearl Harbor, he had championed the defense of the Allies as integral to the interests of the United States, viewed economic nationalism as a trigger for war, and condemned isolation as a chimera. Indeed, he considered his opposition to the Marshall Plan, like his earlier opposition to the Bretton Woods Agreement, not as a defense of isolationism, as some of his critics charged, but as a way to distinguish—with a nod to Hayek (1948)—“internationalism: true and false” (Hazlitt [1947] 2007: 78–80.) For Hazlitt, false conceptions of both internationalism and individualism substituted the rationalistic designs of bureaucrats for the spontaneity of the marketplace. In foreign affairs, he suggested, free trade was giving way to the machinations of governments and transnational institutions. Under such conditions, collectivism and autarky would triumph, even if the putative goal was to promote liberal internationalism and contain communism. Hazlitt's critique continued along this front in dozens of columns and other FEE-sponsored pamphlets over the years, including Illusions of Point Four, a 1950 broadside against the Truman administration's expansion of foreign aid to the developing world that presaged arguments deployed by critics of such programs in later decades (Hazlitt 2011: 164–65, 168–69; Hazlitt 1950; Easterly 2006).

Conclusion

Henry Hazlitt's pamphlet trail reaffirms his popular reach, underscores his unique role as an intellectual, interpersonal, and institutional go-between, and makes a case for his inclusion alongside other key figures in the historiography of the twentieth-century American Right. Recent histories have looked at corporate activism and institution building to explain the rise of antiliberal economics (Phillips-Fein 2009; Jones 2016; Kruse 2017). Others focus on the development of transatlantic communities of economists and intellectuals united in their suspicion of state planning after World War II (Burgin 2012). Using unbound media to ground Hazlitt's activities in a specific historical context, this essay demonstrates the extent to which he inhabited and tied together these business, academic, and activist circles, and how all of them relied on his professional credibility and mainstream appeal to advance their antistatist agendas with a wider public after World War II. Hazlitt may have lacked the academic credentials that later proved so decisive in shifting the conventional wisdom within policy networks. But the continued salience and eventual renaissance of orthodox economics in the late twentieth century owed something tangible to a journalist, generalist, and intermediary who knew how to keep economics in the news.

The author would like to thank all those who organized and participated in the journal's 2022 conference on economics and journalism, particularly Paul Dudenhefer. Mata Tiago, Bruce Caldwell, and two anonymous reviewers offered encouragement and insightful feedback on earlier drafts of this article.

Notes

1.

“Messages and Talks from the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s Fifth Anniversary Celebration and Tribute to Henry Hazlitt,” Free Market, December 1987, 3–6, https://cdn.mises.org/fm1287_0.pdf; Sylvester Petro to Hazlitt, March 18, 1985, and May 24, 1985, folder “Sylvester Petro,” Henry Hazlitt Papers, Foundation for Economic Education Archives (hereafter cited as HHP, FEE Archives).

2.

Arthur H. Sulzberger to Hazlitt, May 31, 1945, folder “A. Sulzberger, 1935–82,” HHP, FEE Archives.

3.

“A ‘Job Budget,’” New York Times, December 23, 1944; James E. Murray, “For Full Employment Bill,” New York Times, January 6, 1945; “The Job Budget,” New York Times, January 6, 1945; “Free Enterprise Now,” New York Times, August 23, 1945; “Senator Murray Defends Bill,” New York Times, August 29, 1945; “What’s in the Murray Bill,” New York Times, August 29, 1945.

4.

William A. Berridge to John O’Leary, October 10, 1945, Doc. No. 9034, Group 8, folder “American Enterprise Institute 1945–72,” box B01 A–Br, Henry Hazlitt Correspondence, Henry Hazlitt Archives (hereafter cited as HHC, HHA).

5.

Henry Hazlitt, “The Full Employment Bill: An Analysis,” National Economic Problems No. 415, American Enterprise Association (1945), 1–14, Doc. No. 5083, Group 1, folder “Full Employment Bill Analysis 1945,” box B02 F–H, Henry Hazlitt Subject Files, HHA.

6.

“Controlling the Budget,” New York Times, June 12, 1945; Henry Hazlitt, “Economics and Finance: The Fetish of Full Employment,” New York Times, October 29, 1945.

7.

“Sixty Million Jobs,” The University of Chicago Round Table, No. 392 (September 23, 1945): 1–16.

8.

“Danger to National Economy Seen in Continued Controls on Industry,” New York Times, August 13, 1945; Henry Hazlitt, “Economics and Finance: ‘Fighting Inflation’ by Price Control,” New York Times, September 3, 1945.

9.

“Wake Up, America! Radio Quiz Debates,” January 2, 1945–December 31, 1945, January 6, 1946–December 29, 1946, folder “Wake Up America Radio Show, 1940–46,” box 7, Fred G. Clark Papers, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.

10.

See also Henry Hazlitt, “Economics and Finance: A Vain Search for a Wage-Price Formula,” New York Times, October 22, 1945.

11.

Read to James C. Ingebretsen, June 18, 1945, folder “James C. Ingebretsen 9/27/46–8/13/51,” box “Read Correspondence I–J”; Read to John W. Scoville, June 6, 1945, folder “Will J. Flaherty 10/18/46,” box “Read Correspondence Fis–Gin”; Read to Mullendore, June 5, 1945, Mullendore to Read, June 12, 1945, Read to Mullendore, August 10, 1945, folder “William C. Mullendore 10/8/42–7/23/47,” box “Read Correspondence MU-P,” Leonard Read Papers, Liberty Fund Archives (hereafter cited as LRP, LFA).

12.

Henry Hazlitt, “Economics and Finance: Wages and Prices in Wonderland,” New York Times, September 10, 1945, and “Economics and Finance: Enough to Buy Back the Product,” New York Times, September 24, 1945; Alfred Sloan to Hazlitt, December 11, 1945, Doc. No. 18907, Group 13, folder “Alfred P. Sloan, 1945–46,” box B06 Sh–Z, HHC, HHA.

13.

Henry Hazlitt to Alfred P. Sloan, August 2, 1945, Doc. No. 18904, Group 12, and undated letter from the Public Affairs Committee promoting the pamphlet, Doc. 18902, Group 11, folder “Alfred P. Sloan, 1945–46,” box B06 Sh–Z, HHC, HHA.

14.

Alfred Sloan to Henry Hazlitt, August 9, 1945, Doc. No. 18891, Group 7; Sloan to Hazlitt, September 6, 1945, Doc. No. 18911, Group 14; Sloan to Hazlitt, November 26, 1945, Doc. No. 18886, Group 5; Hazlitt to Sloan, December 7, 1945, Doc. No. 18881, Group 3, folder “Alfred P. Sloan, 1945–46,” box B06 Sh–Z, HHC, HHA; “More Light,” New York Times, December 14, 1937.

15.

Henry Hazlitt to Hamilton Owens, September 18, 1946, Doc. No. 16709, Group 01, folder “Hamilton Owens Sept. 1946,” box B04 Ki–Ph, HHC, HHA.

16.

“Recommendations for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation,” Doc. No. 18878, Group 1, folder “Alfred P. Sloan, 1945–46,” box B06 Sh–Z, HHC, HHA.

17.

“Certificate of Incorporation of the Foundation for Economic Education, Inc.,” folder “Annual Meeting of Board of Trustees 5/14/46”; “Outline of Proposed Activities and Reasons Therefor,” 9–12, box “Subject Files,” LRP, LFA.

18.

William Mullendore to Leonard Read, February 28, 1946, folder “William C. Mullendore 10/8/42–7/23/47,” box “Correspondence MU–P”; “Minutes of First Meeting of Members of the Board of Trustees of The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc.,” March 21, 1946, and Read to David M. Goodrich, April 17, 1946, folder “First Meeting of the Board of Trustees,” box “Subject Files”; Read to A. A. Imberman, August 22, 1946, A.A. Imberman to Read, August 26, 1946, Read to Imberman, August 28, 1946,” folder “A.A. Imberman 9/27/46–8/13/51,” box “Correspondence I–J”; Read to Lammot du Pont, July 10, 1946, folder “Lammot DuPont 6/28/45–5/8/48,” box “Correspondence Dei-Du”; Frank A. Hecht to Read, August 26, 1946, and Read to Hecht, August 29, 1946, folder “F.A. Hecht 9/4/46–7/5/46,” box “Correspondence Hart–Hodge”; Read to the Board of Trustees, December 17, 1946, folder “Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees 124/46,” box “Subject Files,” LRP, LFA.

19.

On Roofs and Ceilings, see George Stigler to Alan Wallis, circa 1946, Allen Wallis Papers, Correspondence with George Stigler, box 10, folder 1, University of Rochester Special Collections. I am indebted to Jennifer Burns for alerting me to this reference.

20.

Henry Hazlitt to Benjamin Anderson, September 6, 1945, Doc. No. 9229, Group 36, folder “Benjamin Anderson 1922–49,” box B01 A–Br, HHC, HHA.

21.

Henry Hazlitt, “My Life and Conclusions,” 41–42, Doc. No. 2428, folder “Autobiographical Drafts,” box B01 A–E, Group 2, HHSF, HHA; Hazlitt to Ordway Tead, August 1, 1945, folder “Harper and Row 1945–74,” FEE Archives. For publication history, see the Harper Advertisement in Retail Bookseller, dated October 1946, Doc. No. 5470, folder “Hazlitt Advertisements and Conventions,” box B02 F–H, Group 04, HHSF, HHA. New York Times Bestseller Lists accessed in Hazlitt Scrapbook and http://www.hawes.com/1946/1946.htm.

22.

“Samplings of Important Books, No. 1: Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson,” Doc. No. 3820, Group 02, folder “EIOL Correspondence 2,” box B01 A–E, HHSF, HHA; Leonard Read, “Memorandum,” August 8, 1946, Doc. No. 3822, Group 03, folder “EIOL Correspondence 2,” box B01 A–E, HHSF, HHA; Read, “Memorandum” (undated), Hazlitt EIOL Scrapbook, Hazlitt Papers, FEE Archives; Charles B. Lansing to Read, October 2, 1946, folder “Charles B. Lansing, October 2–3, 1946,” box “Read Correspondence K–MA,” and A. A. Imberman to Read, August 23, 1946, folder “A.A. Imberman 9/27/46–8/13/51,” box “Read Correspondence I–J,” LRP, LFA.

23.

F. E. Richter to Leonard Read, September 6, 1946, Doc. No. 17745, Group 33; and Henry Hazlitt to Read, October 28, 1946, Doc. No. 18190, Group 56, folder “Leonard Read 1946–79,” box B05 Pi–Se, HHC, HHA.

24.

For reprints and Executive Book Club ad, see Hazlitt EIOL Scrapbook, HHP, FEE Archives; Hazlitt to Benjamin Anderson, August 7, 1946, Doc. No. 9216, Group 31, folder “Benjamin Anderson 1922–49,” box B01 A–Br, HHC, HHA.

25.

Hazlitt to Hayek, January 3, 1947, folder 34, box 74, Hayek Papers, Hoover Institution Archives; Henry Hazlitt to Frances Hazlitt, April 3, 1947, Doc. No. 13933, Group 04, folder “Frances Hazlitt 1945–47,” box B03 H–KE, HHC, HHA; Luhnow to Hayek, May 7, 1946, and January 6, 1947, Hayek to Luhnow, January 17, 1947, Luhnow to Hayek, January 27, 1947, box 58, folder 16 Hayek Papers. I am indebted to Angus Burgin and Bruce Caldwell for sharing some of these references.

26.

Henry Hazlitt to Frances Hazlitt, April 9, 1947, Doc. No. 13950, Group 07, April 12, 1947, Doc. No. 13956, Group 8, April 17, 1947, Doc. No. 13965, Group 9, folder “Frances Hazlitt 1945–57,” box B03 H–Ke, HHC, HHA.

27.

Richmond News Leader, December 10, 1947, Will Dollars Save the World? Scrapbook, FEE Archives; Leonard Read Memorandum to the Trustees, “On Reporting Progress,” December 15, 1947, Doc no. 8710, Group 12, folder “WDSTW,” box B05 Sp–Z, HHSF, HHA; Analysis promotional materials in folder “Printed Materials I,” box 1, Henry Hazlitt Papers, University of Syracuse Archives. The one million figure was floated in “Will Dollars Save the World?,” Rochester Times-Union, November 6, 1947, WDSTW? Scrapbook, FEE Archives.

28.

“Report on the Activities of The Committee for the Marshall Plan to Aid European Recovery,” April 8, 1948, folder “Printed Materials I,” box 1, HHP, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University.

29.

Syndicated columns included John Gerrity, “Will Dollars Save the World?,” December 3, 1947; and M. S. Rukeyser, “Europe’s Shortage Dilemma Explained,” December 6, 1947, WDSTW? Scrapbook, FEE Archives; The Scott and Schuler Washington Letter, November 18, 1947, WDSTW? Scrapbook, FEE Archives; Read to David M. Goodrich, December 13, 1947, box “Read Correspondence Gip-Greg,” folder “David Goodrich 3/11/46–12/14/49,” LRP, LFA.

30.

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (SCFR), United States Assistance to European Economic Recovery, 80th Cong., 2d Sess., 1948, pp. 871–97; House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA), United States Foreign Policy for a Post-War Recovery Program, 80th Cong., 1st and 2d Sess., 1947–48, pp. 1591, 1602.

31.

HCFA, 621, 622, 623, 632, 642, 647, 650-51, 655, 657; SCFR, pp. 695, 699, 702, 704.

32.

J. C. Ingebretsen to Read, September 11, 1947, folder “James C Ingebretsen 3/10/47–4/7/48,” box “Read Correspondence I–J,” LRP, LFA.

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