Jefferson on Money

When you look at the writings of the founding fathers, it’s amazing how wise and insightful they were.

Thomas Jefferson, a prolific writer, shared his views and knowledge on many topics.

In The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, his views on the establishment of the US Mint illustrate his wisdom on sovereignty as it relates to coinage. Plus, his other comments on establishing the units of money show his foresight in making our monetary system easy to use.

But, Jefferson also commented at great length about banks, and a few examples of his comments are:

Similar to our concerns of today, he also commented on the lack of value tied to paper money:

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their  currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks…will deprive the people of  all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” – Thomas Jefferson in the debate over the Re-charter of the Bank Bill (1809)

These Jeffersonian comments demonstrate interesting insights and fit our time just as appropriately as they fit his.

An interesting and wise man…

Thomas Jefferson Nickel obverse

The search for Jefferson’s comments on money and banking was instigated after seeing an interesting quote attributed to Norm Franz as written in his book, Money and Wealth in the New Millennium: “Gold is the money of kings; silver is the money of gentlemen; barter is the money of peasants; but debt is the money of slaves.”

With today’s economic turmoil, we could learn much from both Thomas Jefferson and Norm Franz.