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Reviews

"Tracing the concept of economic equality among individuals and families in the United States with clarity and consistency, Mandell transcends the distinctions usually made among intellectual, social, and economic history. Addressing both theory and practice, he succeeds in writing for both his fellow scholars and a larger literate, curious public."

"This book provides an insightful look at a timely topic: the various movements and strands of thought promoting economic equality in early American history."

"This deeply researched story of the interplay between America's Revolutionary commitment to upholding individual rights and creating a society of equals supplies the foundation for grasping the nation's current turmoil over economic and political inequality. Mandell explains how providing poor men with equal access to voting came to sanction great disparities of wealth after the Civil War. This challenged Americans' longstanding belief that their republic required a broad, relatively equal distribution of wealth."

"Daniel R. Mandell's sweeping and magisterial history of egalitarian economic ideas and policies in the American tradition teaches us how tightly bound Americans once understood political equality and economic egalitarianism to be. He adds to the historical record a new indictment of the post-Reconstruction era—it severed that close link. As Americans now wrestle collectively with how to tackle historically high levels of wealth and income inequality, Mandell's book opens a vista into a vast and inspiring array of conceptual frameworks in stark contrast to those that have dominated recent decades of economic thought."

"In this deeply relevant work of historical excavation, Daniel Mandell highights what he rightly calls the 'lost tradition' of economic equality in America. Drawing on top-down sources and bottom-up social movements, he has written a wide-ranging and original examination of ideas of and disputes about equality from post-Reformation England and Scotland through the Reconstruction era. From the treatment of canonical thinkers like John Locke to little-known radicals like Philadelphia shoemaker William Heighton, Mandell provides an engaging analysis of evolving ideas about the relationship between economic and political equality and how, after the Reconstruction era, that tradition became obscured. This careful and compelling history is at the same time a work of searching moral inquiry."