1782 – BANK OF NORTH AMERICA OPENS
This was the nation’s first private commercial bank. At that time, the nation’s constitution was the Articles of Confederation. Article 9 of the Articles gave Congress the power to “emit bills of credit” — to create debt free money. By a single vote, Congress voted to transfer their authority to issue money to the The Bank of North America when it approved its charter on December 31, 1781. Thus, the Bank served as a quasi central bank (which created money as loans, called “debt money”). Why did Congress willingly give up their money power? The public argument was that the business of finance could not be competently conduced by a public body (Congress) — only by a small number of private financiers. The first head of the Bank was Robert Morris, the richest merchant in America.
1868 – SPEECH OF CONGRESSMAN SAMUEL FENTON (INDEPENDENT REPUBLICAN) OF OHIO ON FLOOR OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
“Our Constitution gives to Congress the exclusive power to coin money and regulate the value thereof… These are attributes of sovereignty and belong exclusively to the representatives of the whole people…The value of money has no relation to or dependence upon the material of which it is made. If it has the properties or powers of representing, measuring, and exchanging value, it is money; and these properties or powers are not inherent in any substance, but are conferred upon any chosen material by the sovereign power….The Greenback, as it has been denominated, was an invaluable expedient, backing our boys in blue and covering their backs at the same time. It served our purpose well and will serve us still if permitted. It helped us through one danger and will bear us triumphantly through another unless the cupidity of bankers, bondholders and shoddy contractors shall triumph over the industrial and tax-paying classes of our people…The first step in the right direction will be to pass a law to call in and cancel the entire bank circulation and simultaneously issue an equal quantity of Treasury certificates or legal tenders.”
1786 – BIRTH OF NICHOLAS BIDDLE, PRESIDENT OF SECOND NATIONAL BANK
Biddle threatened to cause a depression if President Andrew Jackson did not re-charter the bank, The privately owned Second Bank was chartered in 1816. President Jackson did not sign the bill to renew the charter. “This worthy President thinks that … he is to have his way with the Bank. He is mistaken…[opposition] can only be broken by the actual conviction of exiting distress in the community… Our only safety is in pursuing a steady course of firm restriction [of the money supply] – and I have no doubt that such a course will ultimately lead to restoration of the currency and the re-charter of the Bank.” The result of the contraction of the money supply was a financial panic followed by a deep depression in 1837. (Edward Kaplan, The Bank of the United States and the American Economy)
1835 – PRESIDENT JACKSON PAYS OFF THE LAST INSTALLMENT OF THE NATIONAL DEBT
He was the only President ever to do so. This after he decided not to renew the charter of the private Second Bank of the United States.
1843 – BIRTH OF LORD ACTON, ENGLISH HISTORIAN, POLITICIAN, AND WRITER
“The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later, is the people versus the banks.“
1757 – BIRTH OF ALEXANDER HAMILTON, FIRST SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES
Hamilton was a major proponent of First Bank of the United States. The bank’s name gave the impression that the bank was public when it was actually privately owned. The nation’s money was created by the private bank as government loans – at interest – and to private individuals. Eighty percent of the stock was privately held. Hamilton considered public debt “a public blessing” because it would tie the wealthy (who would own the government bonds) of the country to the government, and they would in turn provide political support for higher taxes to pay off the government bonds.
1893 – DEATH OF BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, US GENERAL, US REPRESENTATIVE (MASSACHUSETTS) AND GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS
“The government shall issue an amount equal to its taxes…which shall be lawful money and legal tender for all debts, public and private, which by law are not made payable in coin.”
1808 – BIRTH OF SALMON P. CHASE, US SENATOR (OHIO), GOVERNOR OF OHIO, US TREASURY SECRETARY UNDER ABRAHAM LINCOLN, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE US SUPREME COURT
”My agency in procuring the passage of the National Bank Act, was the greatest financial mistake of my life. It has built up a monopoly that affects every interest in the country. It should be repealed. But before this can be accomplished, the people will be arrayed on one side and the banks on the other in a contest such as we have never seen in this country.” The National Bank Act established a system of nationally chartered banks. Before the Act, most banks were chartered by states. The Act permitted these new nationally chartered banks to turn government bonds into the US Treasury in exchange for the right to print an equal amount of debt-based Bank Money. This undermined U.S. Greenbacks, which was debt-free public money.
2007 – ARTICLE PUBLISHED BY JAMES PETRAS, PROFESSOR (EMERITUS), BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK
“Within the financial ruling class,…political leaders come from the public and private equity banks, namely Wall Street – especially Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, the Carlyle Group and others. They organize and fund both major parties and their electoral campaigns. They pressure, negotiate and draw up the most comprehensive and favorable legislation on global strategies and sectoral policies…They pressure the government to “bailout” bankrupt and failed speculative firms and to balance the budget by lowering social expenditures instead of raising taxes on speculative “windfall” profits…These private equity banks are involved in every sector of the economy, in every region of the world economy and increasingly speculate in the conglomerates which are aquired. Much of the investment funds now in the hands of the US investment banks, hedge funds and other sectors of the financial ruling class originated in the profits extracted from workers in the manufacturing and service sector.” [Global Research – January 13, 2007]
Why this calendar? Many people have questions about the root causes of our economic problems. Some questions involve money, banks and debt. How is money created? Why do banks control its quantity? How has the money system been used to liberate (not often) and oppress (most often) us? And how can the money system be “democratized” to rebuild our economy and society, create jobs and reduce debt? Our goal is to inform, intrigue and inspire through bite size weekly postings listing important events and quotes from prominent individuals (both past and present) on money, banking and how the money system can help people and the planet. We hope the sharing of bits of buried history will illuminate monetary and banking issues and empower you with others to create real economic and political justice. This calendar is a project of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee. Adele Looney, Phyllis Titus, Donna Schall, Leah Davis, Alice Francini and Greg Coleridge helped in its development. Please forward this to others and encourage them to subscribe. To subscribe/unsubscribe or to comment on any entry, contact firstname.lastname@example.org