There has been a lot of talk lately about placing the face of a notable American woman on one denomination or other of U.S. Federal Reserve note. I strongly support that effort and a number of worthy candidates have been suggested.
The big question is “Which of the present male images will be displaced?” Several people have proposed that Andrew Jackson get the axe. I have a strong opinion to the contrary, and a recent op-ed in the New York Times prompted me to express it in writing. Unfortunately, the Times chose to not publish my letter, so I offer it here below.–t.h.g.
To the editor, New York Times:
Steven Rattner’s op-ed (NYT, June 20) proposed to “Leave Hamilton Alone” and “Evict Andrew Jackson.” There are compelling reasons to argue the opposite.
Hamilton may well have been a “visionary genius” but his talents were applied largely in the service of anti-democratic and elite interests. He was an avowed monarchist and was “distrustful of ordinary people to rightly judge matters,” siding with those who urged George Washington to declare himself king. According to Thomas Jefferson, “Hamilton was, indeed, a singular character. Of acute understanding, disinterested, honest, and honorable in all private transactions, amiable in society, and duly valuing virtue in private life, yet so bewitched and perverted by the British example, as to be under thorough conviction that corruption was essential to the government of a nation.”
Many of the measures that Hamilton proposed, like those employed to encourage loyalty to, and establish and the credit of the federal government, were clearly important in making the fledgling United States better able to stand up to the European imperial powers. But his insistence on establishing a central bank, modeled after the Bank of England, was intended to establish aristocratic rule indirectly by financial means.
Andrew Jackson, on the other hand, despite his many faults, was a champion of “government by the people.” He was devout in his commitment to safeguard the Republic from corrupters and usurpers. This is best exemplified in the so-called “bank war” which pitted him against Nicholas Biddle and the Second Bank of the United States. His 1832 veto of the bill to re-charter the Second Bank saved, for a time, the American republic from an insidious scheme to swindle the American people and to take power from the elected government and hand it over to a self-serving elite who were already entrenched in Europe.
In Jackson’s Veto Message he declared his objections to the Bank which included its monopoly privilege that was to be granted “for many millions less than it is worth,” its “gratuities to foreigners and to some of our own opulent citizens,” and most of all, its establishment of a power that could rival that of the elected government and create “a bond of union among the banking establishments…, erecting them into an interest separate from that of the people.”
While Jackson’s monetary policies may not have been the best, the financial turmoil that followed the closing of the central bank can be blamed on the nefarious work of Biddle in restricting credit, and the period of “free banking” that ensued was actually of great importance in building the American economy. Even former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan has acknowledged that “The perception of the free banking era as an era of “wildcat” banking marked by financial instability and, in particular, by widespread significant losses to noteholders also turns out to be exaggerated.”
Unfortunately, Jackson’s victory was short-lived. The elite forces have, step-by-step, tightened their grip on power, arrogating to themselves, in the name free trade and national security, ever more power until democracy has become a mere charade. The present global interest-based, debt-money, central banking regime has corrupted the political process, drowned all nations and their peoples in ever-increasing debt, and all but completed the creation of a neo-feudal “new world order.”
If for nothing else, Jackson should be honored for taking a stand for democratic government and warning the people of the deceptive schemes that have been, and continue to be employed to undermine and defeat it.
Thomas H. Greco, Jr., author, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization