the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

At the public level morriss chief task was to restore

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At the public level, Morris’s chief task was to restore the credit of the United States government.
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(Actually, restore is not right, since nothing had existed beforehand to be restored.) He faced some pressing problems that required immediate attention, chiefly the deplorable condition of the Continental Army. But his main task, as he saw it, was to establish the credit of the confederation as a whole, as if it were a unified fiscal entity. His initial impulse was to think about his goal in personal terms, bringing his own reputation to the rescue of the republic. “My personal Credit, which thank Heaven I have preserved through all the tempests of the War, has been substituted for that which the Country had lost,” he wrote to the governor of Virginia. “I am now striving to transfer that Credit to the Public.” 18 There was also an implicit but deeply nationalistic motive in his mission: namely, to persuade the marketplace, meaning the European bankers and governments, that the United States was fully capable of honoring its foreign and domestic debts and becoming a reliable presence in the global economy. For a man who was on record as doubting the wisdom of the war for independence, it was a bold transition from reluctant patriot to ardent nationalist. But he had made his living, and an enormous fortune, anticipating before anyone else where the market was headed. And he brought the same confidence in his judgment about the marketplace into the political arena, where nothing less than America’s destiny was the crucial question. He was accustomed to making all-or-nothing wagers in his business and almost always winning the bet. He carried that same confident mentality into his new role as custodian of the unforeseen implications of the American Revolution. 19 Morris’s first act as America’s Financier was to announce the creation of the Bank of the United States. Since most Americans did not know what a bank was, Morris published an explanation in the Pennsylvania Packet . He described the bank—modestly capitalized at $400,000, with shares selling at $400—as a first step in the direction of national solvency: “I mean to render this [bank] a principal Pillar of American Credit so as to obtain the money of individuals for the benefit of the Union and thereby bind those individuals more strongly to the general cause by ties of private interest.” Left unsaid was Morris’s assumption that he was overseeing a national economy and that the bank was an institutional embodiment of that fiscal reality. 20 He began sending a series of circular letters to the states in which he apprised the governors that the annual requisitions were mandatory obligations, not charitable requests. “As to the complaint made by the People of a want of money to pay their taxes,” he observed, “it is nothing new to me, nor indeed to anybody. The Complaint is I believe quite as old as Taxation itself, and will last as long.” All of a sudden
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