Front Page Titles (by Subject) John Taylor: Labor & Liberty - Literature of Liberty, Summer 1982, vol. 5, No. 2
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John Taylor: Labor & Liberty - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Summer 1982, vol. 5, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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John Taylor: Labor & Liberty
“The Political Economy of John Taylor of Caroline.” Journal of American Studies 14 (December 1980): 387–406.
John Taylor of Caroline has chiefly been studied onesidedly, either for his oppositional ideology during the 1780s and 1790s, for his negative fear of power, privilege, and corruption, or for his agrarianism. In fact Taylor's thought rested upon twin interacting foundations of “physical” powers (agricultural prossperity) and moral, metaphysical, or political powers (republican liberty). This joint commitment was exemplified in two books: Arator, Being a Series of Agricultural Essays, Practical and Political (1803) and An Inquiry (1814). Both works are complementary: In the defense of republican liberty political action was primary; although in the promotion of agricultural prosperity it was but a means to an end, the end was as dear to Taylor as republican liberty itself. Macleod concentrates on elaborating Taylor's neglected “physical” world, that is, his economics.
Taylor was commited, like the French physiocrats, to agriculture, but he was economically more commited to a labor theory of value. “Physiocrats might wish to free economic endeavour from state direction but they were not anti-statist in their orientation: their analysis derived from the need to generate a more substantial and secure governmental revenue. Taylor, on the other hand, was anti-statist and wished to avoid the generation of a revenue which he considered must inevitably become a fund for corruption extracted from the true producers of wealth.” Wealth, he believed, should be retained by those individuals whose labor produced it: “national prosperity and liberty are safe, endangered or lost, in proportion as individuals retain, or governments acquire, the investiture or disposition of the earnings of industry.”
Although Taylor borrowed from mercantilist ideas (as in his identification of the agricultural interest with the national interest), he fused these and other ideas into his own personal amalgam. He was not a scientific political economist, and his analysis of the labor theory of value was more often normative than analytical. But he came closest of the early Americans to a qualified Ricardianism merged with the ideology of 18th-century whiggery and its notions of natural property won by honest labor, talents, and industry rather than by state coercion and corruption. Taylor's antagonism to state granted monopolies or to a military establishment was a blend of his opposition ideology (from which he defined any “transfer of property by law” as “aristocracy” and privilege) and his strict labor theory of value since government expenditures fell ultimately on the back of honest labor. This is seen from an analysis of tariffs and the public debt. Taylor doubted the benefits of state-promoted commercial growth and used the labor theory as a moral weapon to preserve an old social order.