Thomas Jefferson on Government Debt and Banking

In a letter written on November 26, 1789 to John Taylor, Thomas Jefferson gives his opinion on federal debt. He writes:

“I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the general principle of the Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government their power of borrowing.”

In a letter to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson says the following about dishonest banking:

“I have ever been the enemy of banks; not of those discounting for cash [that is charging interest on loans of real money], but of those foisting their own paper into circulation, and thus banishing our cash. My zeal against those institutions was so warm and open at the establishment of the bank of the U.S. that I was derided as a maniac by the tribe of bank-mongers, who were seeking to filch from the public their swindling and barren gains…. Shall we build an altar to the old paper money of the revolution, which ruined individuals but saved the republic, and burn on that all the bank charters present and future, and their notes with the them? For these are to ruin both the republic and individuals. This cannot be done. The Mania is too strong. It has seized by its delusions and corruptions all the members of our governments, general, special, and individual.”

These quotations are cited from pages 332, 341 and 342 of The Creature from Jekyll Island, A Second Look at the Federal Reserve by G. Edward Griffin.


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