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Professor of economics and history at San Jose State University

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Laissez Faire Books
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel is an expert on the American Civil War. He has explained why slavery probably would have ended even without the Civil War, which means it was a needless tragedy. He tells how the War ushered in the era of big government ... His controversial book Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men was published in 1996. He had previously written audiotape scripts for Knowledge Products on the Constitution (narrated by Walter Cronkite) and on American Wars (narrated by George C. Scott). His articles have appeared in Reason, Liberty, Independent Review, the Journal of Libertarian Studies, and the Journal of Austrian Economics.


Cato Institute, Adjunct Scholar
Independent Institute, Research Fellow
Foundation for Economic Education
Eris Society

Web Pages

Advocates for Self-Government - Libertarian Education: Jeffrey Rogers Hummel - Libertarian
Includes picture, biographical profile and quote
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel is assistant professor at San Jose State University where he teaches both economics and history. In 2001-2, Jeff was the William C. Bark National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. ... He has contributed to the Encyclopedia of American Business History and Biography and to a collection edited by Robert Higgs entitled Arms, Politics, and the Economy. Jeff served as a tank platoon leader in the U.S. Army. He earned his undergraduate degree from Grove City College and his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin.
Hummel, Jeffrey Rogers | People | San Jose State University
Personal faculty page, includes picture, short profile, list of publications, courses, research interests and other details
Jeff Hummel is the author of Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War (1996). He teaches both economics and history, and before joining the SJSU economics faculty in the fall of 2002, lectured as an adjunct at Golden Gate University and Santa Clara University. He served in the U.S. Army as a tank platoon leader during the early seventies, was Publications Director for the Independent Institute in Oakland, CA, in the late eighties, and was a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, for the 2001-2002 academic year.


Delete the Fed, by Sheldon Richman, 20 Aug 2013
Asks who should run the Federal Reserve after Bernanke's term expires and argues the Fed is unnecessary to stabilize the economy or to prevent unemployment, but harmful in other ways
[Monetary] economist Jeffrey Rogers Hummel points out, "Globalization, with the corresponding relaxation of exchange controls in all major countries, allows [investors] easily to flee to foreign currencies, with the result that changes in central-bank policy are almost immediately priced by exchange rates and interest rates. Add to this the ability to purchase from many governments securities that are indexed to inflation, and it becomes highly unlikely investors will be caught off guard by anything less than sudden, catastrophic hyperinflation (defined as more than 50% per month) — and maybe even not then."
Does Freedom Require Empire?, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 5 Sep 2014
Critiques Daniel McCarthy's "Why Liberalism Means Empire" (July 2014), which attempts to justify British and American imperialism by insisting that "power is the basis of the peaceful order upon which liberal democracy rests"
As Jeffrey Rogers Hummel puts it in "The Will to Be Free: The Role of Ideology in National Defense," "Ideas ultimately determine in which direction [people] wield their weapons or whether they wield them at all." "All successful States are legitimized," Hummel writes.
No government rules for long through brute force alone ... Successful ideas therefore can induce alterations in the size, scope, and intrusiveness of government.
If this is the case with respect to the government a population labors under, Hummel argues, then it is also the case with respect to potentially threatening foreign governments.
History Lesson Lost, by Sheldon Richman, 6 Oct 2006
Discusses the Articles of Confederation, based mostly on The Articles of Confederation: An Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution, 1774-1781 (1940) by Merrill Jensen
Economic historian Jeffrey Rogers Hummel handily disposes of that myth: "Indeed, subsequent accounts have blown this rationale [for strengthening the central government] up into an utterly fanciful picture of competing trade barriers between the various states disrupting the American economy. The two factual instances on which this overblown picture is largely based involve New York and Connecticut, which taxed foreign goods entering from neighboring states — an economically insignificant restriction. The prevailing rule prior to the Constitution was complete free trade among the states" (emphasis added).
The Housing-Financial Meltdown Revisited, by Sheldon Richman, 11 Oct 2013
Examines the history behind the 1933 Glass-Steagall act, its repeal in 1999, and the causes behind the 2008 financial meltdown, with quotes from "The Rise and Fall of Glass-Steagall" (2010) by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and Warren C. Gibson, and other sources
[Economists] Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and Warren Gibson explain ... "The crisis began with the housing collapse, a result of government encouragement of unsound lending practices. Financial firms took too much risk with mortgage-backed securities, in part because of moral hazard engendered by government guarantees and partly because bond rating firms were not as independent as was once thought. The limited liability [of] investment banks ... may also have amplified moral hazard. There is no good reason to believe that Glass-Steagall, had it remained in effect, would have prevented any of these problems."
Related Topics: Banking, Free Market
One Hundred Years of the Federal Reserve, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Dec 2013
Examines the Federal Reserve's record since its inception, quoting the 2010 Cato Institute paper "Has the Fed Been a Failure?" by Selgin, Lastrapes and White, as well as Rothbard, Timberlake and Hummel
Regarding the ineffectiveness of inflation at lowering interest rates in the longer term, monetary economist Jeffrey Rogers Hummel adds, "Globalization, with the corresponding relaxation of exchange controls in all major countries, allows [investors] easily to flee to foreign currencies, with the result that changes in central-bank policy are almost immediately priced by exchange rates and interest rates. ... it becomes highly unlikely investors will be caught off guard by anything less than sudden, catastrophic hyperinflation (defined as more than 50% per month) — and maybe even not then."
War Is Peace and Other Things the Government Wants You to Believe [PDF], by Sheldon Richman, Jun 2008
Transcript of speech given at The Future of Freedom Foundation's June 2008 conference, “Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy & Civil Liberties”, including audience questions
Now one of the great myths we live by, part of the Matrix, is that the state protects us. Protects our freedom, protects us. Government protects us. And Jeff Hummel— Jeffrey Hummel, who I'm a big fan of, he's a great historian, great economist. I recommend his book on the Civil War, War between the States, if I can use a more neutral term— there are other terms I could use for it, but it would take up too much of my time— but anyway, Emancipating Slaves and Enslaving Free Men; I highly recommend it to you. He makes a point that the truth is actually the opposite. That the state doesn't protect us, we protect the state.
Where Is the Constitution?, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 28 Jul 2006
Discusses the varying legal interpretations of the U.S. Constitution, what is meant by "obeying rules" and suggests that to effect change in a pro-liberty direction, the "hearts and minds" of people must change
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, an economist and historian, explains that the Constitutional Convention was dominated by nationalist Hamiltonians ... In drafting the document the centralists largely got their way, and that Constitution was ratified. Then at Anti-Federalist insistence the Bill of Rights was added ... Yet, Hummel writes, "[T]he Anti-Federalists ... won on the question of how the Constitution would operate in practice. ... To oversimplify only slightly, the Federalists [Hamiltonians] got their Constitution, but the Anti-Federalists [Jeffersonians] determined how it would be interpreted." At least for a while.


Garrison, William Lloyd (1805-1879), The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
William Lloyd Garrison was the most prominent of the young, radical abolitionists who burst on the American landscape in the 1830s. Garrison attacked black slavery, prevalent throughout the southern states, with unparalleled vehemence. Exasperated at the betrayal of the Revolutionary promise that all forms of human bondage would disappear in this new land of liberty and marshaling all the evangelical fervor of the religious revivals then sweeping the country, Garrison demanded no less than the immediate emancipation of all slaves. He ... also demanded full political rights for all blacks, whether in the North or the South.
Martin Van Buren: The American Gladstone, Reassessing the Presidency, 2001
Revised version of the 1999 essay "Martin Van Buren: The Greatest American President", now a chapter in Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom (2001)
Greatness must be measured against some standard. Let us begin our examination with foreign policy, the area where a president's individual traits probably can make the most difference in history's trajectory. Conventional historians tend to have a nationalist bias that makes them appreciate a strong executive who lastingly contributes to the growth of central authority. ... In contrast, presidents merit recognition for keeping the United States out of war, and Van Buren has the unique distinction of keeping the United States out of two: one with Mexico and another with Britain.
Martin Van Buren: The Greatest American President [PDF], The Independent Review, 1999
Discusses the Van Buren presidency and why he should be considered "the greatest president in American history"
President Martin Van Buren does not usually receive high marks from historians. Born of humble Dutch ancestry in December 1782 in the small, upstate New York village of Kinderhook, Van Buren gained admittance to the bar in 1803 without benefit of higher education. ... All will acknowledge, I believe, that Americans once enjoyed greater freedom from government intervention than any other people. For that accomplishment, Martin Van Buren deserves as much credit as any other single individual—and certainly more credit than any other president of the United States.
Not Just Japanese Americans: The Untold Story of U.S. Repression During 'The Good War', The Journal of Historical Review, 1986
Detailed and well-annotated survey of United States government's repression of civil liberties during World War II, both before and after the attack on Pearl Harbor
The sad saga of civil liberties in the United States during the Second World War begins well before Pearl Harbor. The popular impression is that the Japanese surprise attack in December 1941 caught the U.S. government totally unaware. In an effort to counter this impression, countless revisionist historians have raked over the diplomatic events that preceded the attack. ... The internment of Japanese-Americans was not an anomaly. It was representative of a wartime administration that respected civil liberties only so far as political expediency required.
Taking the gloss off of the Great Emancipator, Chicago Tribune, 12 Feb 2009
Examines Lincoln's attitude toward the abolition of slavery as well as the effects of his war on the growth of government
Abraham Lincoln is justly celebrated as the Great Emancipator. The Civil War freed nearly 4 million African-Americans from human bondage. It thereby fulfilled the promise of the American Revolution, eradicating a major coercive blight on the country. But unfortunately, Lincoln did almost as much to repudiate as to reaffirm the radical principles of the Declaration of Independence. ... [Lincoln] was a perplexing mixture of lofty ideals and political expediency. This portrait may not jibe with the popular hagiography, but that is often what happens when you replace blind hero worship with the complexities of history.

Books Authored

Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War, 1996
Partial contents: Slavery and States' Rights in the Early Republic - Emergence of the Republican Party - The Confederate States of America - The War to Abolish Slavery? - Dissent and Disaffection-North and South - The Ravages of Total War