The Tea Party these days looks with fondness to the 19th century as a time of rugged individualism and unemcumbered free markets. As with so many mythic images, reality is exceedingly different. Like corporate personhood? Thank the railroads. Ever notice how, in labor strife the gov’t generally takes the side against the workers? Appreciate the decision making process for nuclear plants? Again look to railroad history. That 19th century behemoth, the powerful machinations of the transcontinental railroads, gave us today’s corporate rule.

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