Natural Gas Wars, Then and Now

The more things change. . . and all that.

There are moments when it really feels like nothing much ever changes, except perhaps the scale of our collective foolishness. Last night, over coffee, i set down Wealth Against Commonwealth (1894), in which Henry Demarest Lloyd chronicled, among other things, Standard Oils “gas wars” against the citizens and governments of various American cities, to read the New York Times coverage of the Russia-Ukraine natural gas feud. The mid-winter shutoff, in order to force an increased rate, is a tactic as old as the industry.

For those who don’t know the earlier story, American Radicalism, 1865-1901, Essays and Documents (1946), by Chester McArthur Destler, has a nice treatment of it, along with a great essay on the influence of Edward Kellogg and other good stuff. Destler, who wrote an excellent book on Lloyd, Henry Demarest Lloyd and the Empire of Reform, is one of the great historians of our Progressives, the land taxers and Christian socialists who understood and attempted to put into practice basic libertarian principles.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.


  1. Keep up the good work. I posted a link to your blog and the material you have on Col. Greene on my CLASSical Liberalism blog and on the Liberty & Power blog. I was trying out some of your links and some of them are not connecting. In particular, I tried the “Sovereignty of the People” essay. I’ve read many of Greene’s essays you’ve mentioned as well as a few that you haven’t, and agree with you about his importance.

    Just Ken

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