"The United States of America has never had a libertarian government, assuming there can be such a thing. The existence of legal slavery ought to rule out the antebellum republic, regardless of how limited its financial resources were compared to the nation as a whole. It seems to me that only the critics of libertarianism and vulgar corporate apologists who like the idea of monopolies running the economy attempt to argue that the Gilded Age was libertarian. And once you get up into the Progressive Era, no one, not even critics of libertarianism will make such a claim, although I do think we somehow always end up getting blamed for the Great Depression. Of course, other critics will also say that libertarianism is a utopian scheme because it's never been done before. I've never seen someone eat their cake and have it too, but it seems like people keep trying anyway. It is no fault of libertarianism and the strength of its ideas that it hasn't been tried before, if anything the constant failures provided by statism should encourage us to try something new." Trying to "roll back the clock" to 1859 or 1800, or some other supposed "golden age," is not libertarian; it is regressive and reactionary, not to mention logically impossible anyway.