Front Page Titles (by Subject) Freedom and Creativity - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1
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Freedom and Creativity - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1 
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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Freedom and Creativity
“1776: A Year of Challenge—A World Transformed.” The Journal of Law and Economics (USA), 19(1976): 437–466.
The year 1776 was one of cataclysmic challenges in theology, politics, government, and economics. A variety of great writings challenged the old order of government corruption and mercantilist intervention. Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations attacked government regulation including the mercantilist controls that curtailed the American colonies. Smith urged us to replace government management with self-interest to unfetter economic energies. In the same year Thomas Jefferson wrote his antistatist Declaration of Independence declaring the radical notion of “the right of the people to alter or to abolish” government. How can we explain this year of challenges?
Historically, the world of 1776 was undergoing tremendous economic growth and equally tremendous growth in population. The hundreds of thousands of immigrants who migrated to America in the decades before 1776 were seeking a promised land and new frontiers. They sought to escape the political, economic, and social constraints of the continental state-ridden society.
The British Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1768 to 1772, the Earl of Hillsborough, personified the mercantilism that 1776 challenged. Hillsborough epitomized the old mercantilist order that tried to impede the land development scheme of the Grand Ohio Company because it did not promote the commerce or “great national objects” of Britain. Depopulation of the British Isles was threatened by the settlement of America. Hillsborough compounded his mercantilist intervention with his vested interest as an Anglo-Irish landowner. Through restrictive laws he sought to halt the exodus of Irish to the New World. He wanted to bolster the British mercantile empire by stabilizing the agricultural population in Northern Ireland.
Benjamin Franklin detected the systematic political corruption of Britain in the urban mismanagement of London: this inability to govern amid the swirl of growth symbolized the major problem of the time. Major institutions were inadequate. As dissenters challenged the religious establishment, Adam Smith and others challenged the economic regulations. A new world of large, available land holdings and high mobility undermined the old legal system protecting privilege and questionable property titles.
Now the American question focused the longstanding demands of English reformers (such as the Chathamites and Rockingham Whigs). The burgeoning New World confounded the old British constitution. The once effective British constitution (government by interests and political manipulation) could not satisfy the new economic interests in America. The American crisis of 1776 was part of the major domestic issues facing Britain—economic, demographic, religious, and especially political and constitutional. The American Revolution launched a series of ideological challenges to the heart of the old order. 1776 inaugurated long-delayed reforms in Britain, and ushered a new world of change.