1862 – US SENATOR THADDEUS STEVENS SPEAKS ON SENATE FLOOR AGAINST “EXCEPTION CLAUSE” OF GREENBACK ACT
“I have a melancholy foreboding that we are about to consummate a cunningly devised scheme, which will carry great injury to all classes of people throughout the Union.” (see below for explanation of Exception Clause).
1878 – FOUNDING OF GREENBACK-LABOR PARTY
The National (Greenback-Labor) Party was formed at a convention in Toledo, Ohio. Their platform declared that reform of the monetary system was necessary in order to "secure to the producers of wealth the results of their labor and skill, and muster out of service the vast army of idlers who, under the existing system, grow rich upon the earnings of others, that every man and woman may, by their own efforts, secure a competence, so that overgrown fortunes and extreme poverty will seldom be found within the limits of our Republic.”
1791 – CREATION OF THE FIRST BANK OF THE UNITED STATES
A 20-year charter was issued by the federal government (very unusual at the time since most corporate charters, or licenses, were issued by states) to create the first national private bank. This was the first private institution empowered to create paper money -- with all the power and profit that goes along with it. The bank’s paper money was accepted for taxes. Eighty percent of its shares were privately owned, among these 75% were foreign owned (mostly by the English and Dutch). The bank was modeled on the Bank of England. It’s main proponent, Alexander Hamilton, argued in support: "Suppose that the necessity existed...for obtaining a loan; that a number of individuals came forward and said, we are willing to accommodate the government with this money (which we have or can raise) but in order to do this it is indispensable, that we should be incorporated as a bank...and we are obliged on that account to make it a consideration or condition of the loan." In other words, Hamilton was saying the private/corporate bank will be more than happy to give the government loans if the government grants the private/corporate bank the power to create money! Jefferson, Madison and others opposed it. Jefferson said, "This institution (the Bank of England) is one of the most deadly hostility against the principles of our Constitution…suppose an emergency should occur…an institution like this…in a critical moment might overthrow the government." The bank had an enormous impact on the economy early on. Within 2 months of its creation, it flooded the market with loans and banknotes and then suddenly called in many of its loans. The result was the first US securities market crash -- what became known as the “Panic of 1792” – the first of many panics, recessions and depressions due to the private/corporate control of our money system.
1862 – LEGAL TENDER ACT PASSED
A bill authorizing the issuance of $150 million non interest-bearing United States notes (commonly referred to as “Greenbacks”). Congress would later grant $300 million more in US notes. This was interest free US money. The administration of Republican President Abraham Lincoln wanted to avoid the nation going into debt borrowing money from private/corporate bankers to pay for the Civil War. Greenbacks were not bonds or notes or any other promises to pay “money” at some future time. They were money. Since they were not borrowed, they didn’t add to the national debt. What later made them inflationary was they were used to pay for war – which didn’t produce or add anything productive to the economy to offset the added money supply. The bill contained an “Exception Clause”, which stated that Greenbacks could not be used to pay the interest on the national debt, nor to pay taxes, excises, or import duties. This maintained a demand and legitimacy for bank-issued debt money.
1863 – NATIONAL BANKING ACT PASSED
It provided for the national chartering of banks by the federal government. This replaced state charters – many of which contained much more rigid and democratic provisions. The Act in numerous ways standardized banking across the country. The act established National Banking Associations, the office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and a system of national chartered banks with control over all of them coming from Washington. The new banks were given virtaully tax free status. In doing so, it entrenched what some have called “structural fraud” of the banking system – creating money out of thin air and charting interest on it.
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 and Greg Coleridge helped in its development.
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For more information, visit http://www.afsc.net/economiccrisis.html