29 March 2006

Henry Clay Must be Rolling over in His Grave

By Wilkins McCawber

In light of recent debates on immigration and globalization, the great American statesman, Henry Clay, must be churning over in his long forgotten grave. Perhaps the greatest statesman not to have been elected President, Clay envisioned a continental America that would be self-sufficient and self-supporting. The great diversity of natural wealth in the continental United States--fertile land in the Mid-west, rich farmlands in the South, fishing grounds in the Northeast--would, in Clay's words, form the great "American System." The United States would leverage comparative advantages among the various regions without resorting to foreign entanglements, as Washington had warned against.

In other words, the US of A would constitute its own Nafta and WTO. And indeed, that was what happened until the 1970s. America, at its zenith, in 1955 was virtually self-sufficient, and most American households had chickens in the pot and a car in every garage.

Perhaps, it's time to revisit old Henry Clay's idea...

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