Abstract: The State of the Market: Commerce and the Transformation of Federal Governance in the Early American Republic

Gautham Rao


This paper uncovers a transformation in the way the federal government collected customs revenue in the early republic. In the Federalist and Jeffersonian era, the U.S. Treasuy, fearful of alienating the nation's source of revenue, urged local customs officials to accommodate the merchant elite. In the Jacksonian era, however, commercial scandals such as financial panics rendered merchant capital an increasingly untrustworthy source of government vitality. The Jacksonians thus centralized control over collection of duties.