One of the challenges in writing about the history of American law and political economy is determining the proper amount of historical context necessary to make sense of past institutional and organizational change. Where to begin and end a historical narrative and how much to include about the broader social, cultural, political, and economic conditions of a particular place and time are, of course, questions that accompany any attempt to reconstruct the past. How one addresses these issues invariably shapes the motives and intentions that can be ascribed to historical figures. In their eloquent and thoughtful comments, Christopher Capozzola and Michael Bernstein have urged me to think more carefully about these issues, about where my story begins and ends, about the broader social, political, and material circumstances that animated World War I state-building, and about the seemingly apolitical ideas and actions of the Treasury lawyers who are the center of "Lawyers, Guns, and Public Moneys."
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