George Washington and his federalists believed in a strong central government, with far-reaching abilities to tax, borrow, and keep the population in check through force. Jefferson warned of the dangers of central banking and campaigned extensively against it. Get the coin that tells the story today.
George Washington: Commander in Chief
George Washington was born on the 22nd of February, 1732 in Virginia and became a skilled soldier & military commander. His size, strength and confidence made him a natural leader on the battlefield: men followed him without question.
After leading colonial forces to victory in the revolutionary war, Washington retired back to his farm and largely disappeared from public life. He lived as an elite aristocrat at his estate, accepting only the noblest of visitors.
Meanwhile, the fledgling nation he fought to free struggled to govern itself under the Articles of Confederation, a document that failed to give the new government the authority to tax. As a delegation to address the Articles’ shortcomings convened, Washington presided over the congress and was unanimously elected first President of the United States of America.
Hundreds of years later, Washington is highly regarded and consistently ranks as one of the top three Presidents, sharing the title with Lincoln and FDR.
Behind the Mask of Divinity
Like many other heroes of the American Revolution, it is commonly regarded that Washington was infallible. Immortalized in the tale the cherry tree, Washington was quick to tell the truth, setting the country’s moral compass and becoming “first in war and first in peace”.
Selecting Washington as the first President of the United States was largely ceremonial; he served as an icon of unity for the young nation struggling to find its footing after years of in-fighting and disorganization. Possibly knowing what turmoil lay before him, Washington reluctantly accepted the appointment and took office in 1789.
Now, more than 200 years after leaving office, few know the man behind the mask.
Washington’s lack of political sophistication often lead him to manage his office in royal fashion, not as defender of the land and people he helped free. Granted, there was no precedent on how a President was to act, and so Washington often acted like a king.
First Bank of the United States
Washington’s presidential administration had four cabinet members, including secretary of state Thomas Jefferson and secretary of the treasury Alexander Hamilton. Known as his top two advisors, Jefferson and Hamilton could not have envisioned a more opposite path for the country.
Hamilton, head of the newly formed Federalist Party, was a believer in a strong central government. Hamilton founded the Bank of New York and long had ties to Britain’s banking elite, making him a strong supporter of commerce and international trade.
Jefferson, head of the Jeffersonian Republican party, was a believer in a servant government that honored state’s rights. Years later, proof of Jefferson’s humble attitude could be found as he rode to his own presidential inauguration in plain clothes on his own horse, opposed to Washington’s ornate stagecoach drawn by six cream-colored horses.
The greatest gap between the ideologically opposite factions came from the formation of the First Bank of the United States, a newly formed central bank modeled off the Bank of England. Hamilton served as architect for the financial system; the USA owned 20%, and 80% was owned by “private investors”. Hamilton ensured that foreigners were welcome to be owners.
Not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before the bank was deep in debt.
The Whiskey Rebellion
Farmers on the west side of the Appalachians found that converting excess grains to whiskey proved to be a cost effective way to transport value to markets back east. In fact, whiskey even served as a barter currency in the local economy.
So to cover the bank’s swiftly growing debt and interest payments, Hamilton developed a plan known as the Whiskey Tax. The common farmers, far removed from politics, were hit hardest by Washington’s taxing policy.
It was the first time in the country’s history that a tax was levied on non-imported goods. It is exactly the same kind of tax that drove Washington to fight for independence less than 20 years prior.
After ignoring western Pennsylvania grain farmers’ first amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances (resulting in the flat-out refusal to pay the tax), Washington raised an army to force compliance with the new tax.
Washington’s acts set an ominous precedent for the new country: central banking, direct taxing, and use of the military to quell domestic dissent.
The Ghost of Money
Washington and his federalists believed in a strong central government, with far-reaching abilities to tax, borrow, and keep the population in check through force.
Yet school children are merely told stories about chopping down cherry trees & leading the rag-tag militia to win independence from the British empire.
Washington, probably more as Hamilton’s puppet, laid the intellectual foundation for a country that would try and try again to erect a national bank that could enslave the citizenry with debt and taxes. Although the bank’s 20-year charter expired and was not renewed, it was established twice more, resulting in what the USA has now come to know and love as the Federal Reserve Bank.
Jefferson warned of the dangers of central banking and campaigned extensively against it. Eventually, utterly disgusted with Washington’s presidency, Jefferson resigned from Washington’s cabinet; the two never spoke again.
Paper is poverty, it is only the ghost of money and not money itself.” – Thomas Jefferson
The Ghost Money silver coin carries Jefferson’s warnings forward to modern day, timelessly emblazoned on a .999 fine silver medallion, featuring a ghostly skull of Washington and the symbol of what he left behind for future generations.