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Conceived in Liberty Volume 1

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Hardcover, Volume 1 of 4-volume set
Price: $20.00
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Purchase the set here: Conceived in Liberty 4 Volume Set

There's never been a better time to remember the revolutionary and even libertarian roots of the American founding, and there's no better guide to what this means in the narrative of the Colonial period than Murray Rothbard.

For anyone who thinks of Murray Rothbard as only an economic theorist or political thinker, these four spectacular volumes are nothing short of shocking. They offer a complete history of the Colonial period of American history, a period lost to students today, who are led to believe American history begins with the US Constitution.

Rothbard's ambition was to shed new light on Colonial history and show that the struggle for human liberty was the heart and soul of this land from its discovery through the culminating event of the American Revolution. These volumes are a tour de force, enough to establish Rothbard as one of the great American historians.

Although a detailed narrative history of the struggle between liberty and power, Rothbard offers a third alternative to the conventional interpretive devices. Against those on the right who see the American Revolution as a "conservative" event, and those on the left who want to invoke it as some sort of proto-socialist uprising, Rothbard views this period as a time of accelerating libertarian radicalism. Through this prism, Rothbard illuminates events as never before.

The volumes were brought out in the 1970s, but the odd timing and uneven distribution prevented any kind of large audience. They were beloved only by a few specialists, and sought after by many thanks to their outstanding reputation. The Mises Institute is pleased to be the publisher of the newly available set.

Read a sample chapter: The Growth of Libertarian Thought in America.

Volume One covers the discovery of the Americas and the colonies in the 17th century (531 pages, including index).

Volume Two covers the period of "salutary neglect" in the first half of the 18th century (294 pages, including index).

Volume Three covers the advance to revolution, from 1760-1775 (373 pages, including index).

Volume Four covers the political, military, and ideological history of the revolution and after (470 pages, including index).

ISBN 0-945466-26-9
1668 pgs., high quality foil-stamped cloth covers and sewn-signature binding.

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by Ken Peterson
on 2/23/2009
Rothbard--Renaissance Man
Even if he did not write another word, this work alone would be enough to establish Rothbard as one of great minds of the 20th Century. No study of the Revolution can be complete without reading these volumes.
by Matt Singh
on 12/3/2008
A Must For Every Freedom Library
Murray Rothbard's early American history in four volumes, "Conceived in Liberty". It's chock full of fascinating details about the character and motivations of the people who came here to form the colonies. I liked the fact that Rothbard begins with an overview of trade history in the pre-colonial era and shows how trade helped motivate the migration to North America and how it affected everything that happened thereafter.

I found these books especially good at illustrating the struggle between the colonial governing class, composed of "friends of the Crown", and the people who actually did the work and built the society. The battle between oligarchy and liberty manifested itself from the first days of the colonies and there were some shining moments for liberty, particularly when the power of the state was too weak or absent and self-government flourished.

Much of the time, however, oppression was the mode by which the colonial governments operated and indeed the majority of the colonists suffered under it for 200 years, whether under the Puritans in Massachusetts, the aristocratic land barons of New York, or the Planter Elite of the tobacco colonies, that is, until they were moved to revolution.

Rothbard chronicles how the revolution grew to enjoy the support of merchants, craftsmen and farmers, through an informal network with leaders who were not imposed on the movement, but leading because of the merit they showed by working hard and at great risk, and the willingness of the masses to follow by choice. The shadow government they created, across thirteen colonies, to supplant the official colonial government, was robust and a model of spontaneous order without coercion.

Next time someone asks me where libertarianism has ever worked in the world before I'll be better able to respond that it has worked right here in America!

Unfortunately, as Rothbard observes, we may have thrown off the British, but, the Oligarchs remained, changing only their nationality and wielding enough influence over the framing of the new constitution to insure that, like all of the other parasitic flora and fauna of nature, they would be ever present to plague us.

No serious student of American history should miss owning this set.
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