As you might know, good old Abe was the first republican president. He is most known for keeping the union together in the civil war. And the reason why Lincoln wanted to do that is largely forgotten.
Lincoln was above all a pragmatic guy. He had practical reasons why the union needed to be kept together. He understood that the only way forward was to enlarge the pool of people who could build and share in the growing prosperity of the nation. Slavery — and the plantation style that nurtured it — held this back. Developing better infrastructure pushed it forward.
After Lincoln, the idea of public spending to secure public goods was largely accepted by both major parties. And that is why America is so rich in public goods.
But that is under threat. Marina Whitman makes the argument that we should get beyond the current privatization craze and think big again!