The Creature from Jekyll Island

About the cover

The use of the Great Seal of the United States is not without significance. At first we contemplated having an artist change the eagle into a vulture. That, we thought, would attract attention and also make a statement. Upon reflection, however, we realized that the vulture is really harmless. It may be ugly, but it is a scavenger, not a killer. The eagle, on the other hand, is a predator. It is a regal creature to behold, but it is deadly to its prey. Furthermore, as portrayed on the dollar, it is protected by the shield of the United States government even though it is independent of it. Finally, it holds within its grasp the choice between peace or war. The parallels were too great to ignore. We decided to keep the eagle.

G. Edward Griffin is a write and documentary film producer with many successful titles to his credit. Listed in Who's Who in America, he is well known because of his talent for researching difficult topics and presenting them in clear terms that all can understand. He has dealt with such diverse subjects as archaeology and ancient earth history, terrorism, international banking, internal subversion, the history of taxation, U.S. foreign policy, the science and politics of cancer therapy, the Supreme Court, and the United Nations. Some of his previous works include World without Cancer, The Discovery of Noah's Ark, Moles in High Places, The Open Gates of Troy, No Place to Hide, The Capitalist Conspiracy, More Deadly than War, The Grand Design, The Great Prison Break, and The Fearful Master.

Mr. Griffin is a graduate of the University of Michigan where he majored in speech and communications. In preparation for writing this book, he enrolled in the College of Financial Planning located in Denver. His goal was not to become a professional financial planner but to better understand the real world of investments and money markets. He obtained his CFP designation (Certified Financial Planner) in 1989.

Mr. Griffin is a recipient of the coveted Telly Award for excellence in television production, a Contributing Editor for The New American magazine, the creator of The Reality Zone Audio Archives, and is President of American Media, a publishing and video-production company in Southern California.

How to read this book

Thick books can be intimidating. We tend to put off reading them until we have a suitably large block of time — which is to say, often they are never read. That is the reason a preview has been placed at the beginning and a summary at the end of each chapter. All of these together can be read in about one hour. Although they will not contain details nor documentation, they will cover the major points and will provide an overview of the complete story. The best way to read this book, therefore, is to begin with the previews of each section, followed by the chapter previews and summaries. Even if the reader is not in a hurry, this is still an excellent approach. A look at the map before the journey makes it easier to grapple with a topic such as this which spans so much history.


Dedicated to the next generation — especially my own brood: James, Daniel, Ralph, and Kathleen. May this effort help to build for them a better world.

Publishing information

Seventh printing: May 1998 Sixth printing: September 1997

Fifth printing: August 1996 Fourth printing: September 1995

Third printing: April 1995

Second printing: November 1994

First printing: July 1994

Third edition: May 1998

Second edition: September 1995

First edition: July 1994

© Copyright 1998, 1995, and 1994 by G. Edward Griffin

Published by American Media

P.O. Box 4646

Westlake Village, California 91359-1646

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 98-71615

ISBN 0-912986-21-2

Manufactured in the United States

Table of Contents





What is the Federal Reserve System? The answer may surprise you. It is not federal and there are no reserves. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve Banks are not even banks. The key to this riddle is to be found, not at the beginning of the story, but in the middle. Since this is not a textbook, we are not confined to a chronological structure. The subject matter is not a curriculum to be mastered but a mystery to be solved. So let us start where the action is.

1. The Journey to Jekyll Island

2. The Name of the Game Is Bailout

3. Protectors of the Public

4. Home Sweet Loan

5. Nearer to the Heart's Desire

6. Building the New World Order


The eight chapters contained in this and the following section deal with material that is organized by topic, not chronology. Several of them will jump ahead of events that are not covered until later. Furthermore, the scope is such that the reader may wonder what, if any, is the connection with the Federal Reserve System. Please be patient. The importance will eventually become clear. It is the author's intent to cover concepts and principles before looking at events. Without this background, the history of the Federal Reserve is boring. With it, the story emerges as an exciting drama which profoundly affects our lives today. So let us begin this adventure with a few discoveries about the nature of money itself.

7. The Barbaric Metal 135

8. Fool's Gold … 155

9. The Secret Science 171

The ancient alchemists sought in vain to convert lead into gold. Modern alchemists have succeeded in that quest. The lead bullets of war have yielded an endless source of gold for those magicians who control the Mandrake Mechanism. The startling fact emerges that, without the ability to create fiat money, most modern wars simply would not have occurred. As long as the Mechanism is allowed to function, future wars are inevitable. This is the story of how that came to pass.

11. The Rothschild Formula 217

12. Sink the Lusitanial 235

13. Masquerade in Moscow 263

14. The Best Enemy Money Can Buy 285


It has been said that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. It may come as a surprise to learn that the Federal Reserve System is America's fourth central bank, not its first. We have been through all this before and, each time, the result has been the same. Interested in what happened? Then let's set the coordinates of our time machine to the colony of Massachusetts and the year 1690. To activate, turn to chapter fifteen.

15. The Lost Treasure Map 309

16. The Creature Comes to America 325

17. A Den of Vipers 341

18. Loaves and Fishes, and Civil War 361

19. Greenbacks and Other Crimes 377


Monetary and political scientists continue to expound the theoretical merits of the Federal Reserve System. It has become a modern act of faith that economic life simply could not go on without it. But the time for theory is past. The Creature moved into its final lair in 1913 and has snorted and thrashed about the landscape ever since. If we wish to know if it is a creature of service or a beast of prey, we merely have to look at what it has done. And, after the test of all those years, we can be sure that what it has done, it will continue to do. Or, to use the Biblical axiom, a tree shall be known by the fruit it bears. Let us now examine the harvest.

20. The London Connection 407

21. Competition Is A Sin 431

22. The Creature Swallows Congress 451

23. Hie Great Duck Dinner 471


In the previous sections of this book, we have travelled through time. We began our journey by stepping into the past. As we crisscrossed the centuries, we observed wars, treachery, profiteering, and political deception. That has brought us to the present. Now we are prepared to ride our time machine into the future. It will be a hair-raising trip, and much of what lies ahead will be unpleasant. But it has not yet come to pass. It is merely the projection of present forces. If we do not like what we see, we still have an opportunity to change those forces. The future will be what we choose to make it.

24. Doomsday Mechanisms 507

25. A Pessimistic Scenario 537

26. A Realistic Scenario 565


The seven men who met in secret at Jekyll Island 24

The Fabian Society stained-glass window 106

First photo section 208-214

Period cartoons about the Rothschilds

Items relating to the sinking of the Lusitania


A. Structure and Function of the Federal Reserve

B. Natural Laws of Human Behavior in Economics ….

C. Is M1 Subtractive or Accumulative?


Does the world really need another book on the Federal Reserve System?

I have struggled with that question for several years. My own library is mute testimony to the fact that there has been no shortage of writers willing to set off into the dark forest to do battle with the evil dragon. But, for the most part, their books have been ignored by the mainstream, and the giant snorter remains undaunted in his lair. There seemed to be little reason to think that I could succeed where so many others have failed.

Yet, the idea was haunting. There was no doubt in my mind that the Federal Reserve is one of the most dangerous creatures ever to stalk our land. Furthermore, as my probing brought me into contact with more and more hard data, I came to realize that I was investigating one of the greatest "who-dunits" of history. And, to make matters worse, I discovered who did it.

Someone has to get this story through to the public. The problem, however, is that the public doesn't want to hear it. After all, this is bad news, and we certainly get enough of that as it is.

Another obstacle to communication is that this tale truly is incredible, which means unbelievable. The magnitude by which reality deviates from the accepted myth is so great that, for most people, it simply is beyond credibility. Anyone carrying this message is immediately suspected of paranoia. Who will listen to a madman?

And, finally, there is the subject matter itself. It can become pretty complex. Well, at least that's how it seems at first. Treatises on this topic often read like curriCfllum textbooks for banking and finance. It is easy to become ensnared in a sticky web of terminology and abstractions. Only monetary professionals are motivated to master the new language, and even they often find themselves in serious disagreement. For example, in a recent letter circulated by a group of monetary experts who, for years, have conducted an ongoing exchange of ideas regarding monetary reform, the editor said: "It is frustrating that we cannot find more agreement among ourselves on this vital issue. We seem to differ so much on definitions and on, really, an unbiased, frank, honest, correct understanding of just how our current monetary system does function/ 7

So why am I now making my own charge into the dragon's teeth? It's because I believe there is a definite change in the wind of public attitude. As the gathering economic storm draws nearer, more and more people will tune into the weather report—even if it is bad news. Furthermore, the evidence of the truth of this story is now so overpowering that I trust my readers will have no choice but to accept it, all questions of sanity aside. If the village idiot says the bell has fallen from the steeple and comes dragging the bell behind him, well,…

Lastly, I have discovered that this subject is not as complicated as it first appeared to be, and I am resolved to avoid the pitfall of trodding the usual convoluted path. What follows, therefore, will be the story of a crime, not a course on criminology.

It was intended that this book would be half its present size and be completed in about one year. From the beginning, however, it took on a life force of its own, and I became but a servant to its will. It refused to stay within the confines prescribed and, like the genie released from its bottle, grew to enormous size. When the job was done and it was possible to assess the entire manuscript, I was surprised to realize that four books had been written instead of one.

First, there is a crash course on money, the basics of banking and currency. Without that, it would be impossible to understand the fraud that now passes for acceptable practice within the banking system.

Second, there is a book on how the world's central banks— the Federal Reserve being one of them—are catalysts for war. That is what puts real fire into the subject, because it shows that we are dealing, not with mere money, but with blood, human suffering, and freedom itself.

Third, there is a history of central banking in America. That is essential to a realization that the concept behind the Federal Reserve was tried three times before in America. We need to know that and especially need to know why those institutions were eventually junked.

Finally, there is an analysis of the Federal Reserve itself and its dismal record since 1913. This is probably the least important part of all, but it is the reason we are here. It is the least important, not because the subject lacks significance, but because it has been written before by writers far more qualified and more skilled than I. As mentioned previously, however, those volumes generally have remained unread except by technical historians, and the Creature has continued to dine upon its hapless victims.

There are seven discernible threads that are woven throughout the fabric of this study. They represent the reasons for abolition of the Federal Reserve System. When stated in their purest form, without embellishment or explanation, they sound absurd to the casual observer. It is the purpose of this book, however, to show that these statements are all-too-easy to substantiate.

The Federal Reserve System should be abolished for the following reasons:

• It is incapable of accomplishing its stated objectives. (Chapter 1.)

• It is a cartel operating against the public interest. (Chapter 3.)

• It is the supreme instrument of usury. (Chapter 10.)

• It generates our most unfair tax. (Chapter 10.)

• It encourages war. (Chapter 14.)

• It destabilizes the economy. (Chapter 23.)

• It is an instrument of totalitarianism. (Chapters 5 and 26.)

This is a story about limitless money and hidden global power. The good news is that it is as fascinating as any work of fiction could be, and this, I trust, will add both pleasure and excitement to the learning process.

The bad news is that every detail of what follows is true.

G. Edward Griffin


A writer who steals the work of another is called a plagiarist. One who takes from the works of many is called a researcher. That is a roundabout way of saying I am deeply indebted to the efforts of so many who have previously grappled this topic. It is impossible to acknowledge them except in footnote and bibliography. Without the cumulative product of their efforts, it would have taken a lifetime to pull together the material you are about to read.

In addition to the historical facts, however, there are numerous concepts which, to the best of my knowledge, are not to be found in prior literature. Primary among these are the formulation of certain "natural laws" which, it seemed to me, were too important to leave buried beneath the factual data. You will easily recognize these and other editorial expressions as the singular product of my own perceptions for which no one else can be held responsible.

I would like to give special thanks to Myril Creer and Jim Toft for having first invited me to give a lecture on this subject and, thus, forcing me to delve into it at some depth; and to Herb Joiner for encouraging me, after the speech, to "take it on the road." This book is the end result of a seven-year journey that began with those first steps. Wayne C. Rickert deserves a special medal for his financial support to get the project started and for his incredible patience while it crawled toward completion. Thanks to Bill Jasper for providing copies of numerous hard-to-locate documents. Thanks, also, to Linda Perlstein and Melinda Wiman for keeping my business enterprises functioning during my preoccupation with this project And a very personal thanks to my wife, Patricia, for putting up with my periods of long absence while completing the manuscript, for meticulous proofreading, and for a most perceptive critique of its development along the way.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge those readers of the first three printings who have assisted in the refinement of this work Because of their efforts most of the inevitable errata have been corrected for the second edition. Even so, it would be foolhardy to think that there are no more errors within the following pages. I have tried to be meticulous with even the smallest detail, but one cannot harvest such a huge crop without dropping a few seeds. Therefore, corrections and suggestions from new readers are sincerely invited. In my supreme optimism, I would like to think that they will be incorporated into future editions of this book.


The following exchange was published in the British humor magazine, Punch, on April 3, 1957. It is reprinted here as an appropriate introduction and as a mental exercise to limber the mind for the material contained in this book.

Q. What are banks for?

A. To make money.

Q. For the customers?

A. For the banks.

Q. Why doesn't bank advertising mention this?

A. It would not be in good taste. But it is mentioned by implication in references to reserves of $249,000,000 or thereabouts. That is the money that they have made.

Q. Out of the customers?

A. I suppose so.

Q. They also mention Assets of $500,000,000 or thereabouts. Have they made that too?

A. Not exactly. That is the money they use to make money.

Q. I see. And they keep it in a safe somewhere?

A. Not at all. They lend it to customers.

Q. Then they haven't got it?

A. No.

Q. Then how is it Assets?

A. They maintain that it would be if they got it back.

Q. But they must have some money in a safe somewhere?

A. Yes, usually $500,000,000 or thereabouts. This is called Liabilities.

Q. But if they've got it, how can they be liable for it?

A. Because it isn't theirs.

Q. Then why do they have it?

A. It has been lent to them by customers.

Q. You mean customers lend banks money?

A. In effect. They put money into their accounts, so it is really lent to the banks.

Q. And what do the banks do with it?

A. Lend it to other customers.

Q. But you said that money they lent to other people was Assets?

A. Yes.

Q. Then Assets and Liabilities must be the same thing?

A. You can't really say that.

Q. But you've just said it. If I put $100 into my account the bank is liable to have to pay it back, so it's Liabilities. But they go and lend it to someone else, and he is liable to have to pay it back, so it's Assets. It's the same $100, isn't it?

A. Yes. But…

Q. Then it cancels out. It means, doesn't it, that banks haven't really any money at all?

A. Theoretically….

Q. Never mind theoretically. And if they haven't any money, where do they get their Reserves of $249,000,000 or thereabouts?

A. I told you. That is the money they have made.

Q. How?

A. Well, when they lend your $100 to someone they charge him interest.

Q. How much?

A. It depends on the Bank Rate. Say five and a-half per cent. That's their profit.

Q. Why isn't it my profit? Isn't it my money?

A. It's the theory of banking practice that…

Q. When I lend them my $100 why don't I charge them interest?

A. You do.

Q. You don't say. How much?

A. It depends on the Bank Rate. Say half a per cent.

Q. Grasping of me, rather?

A. But that's only if you're not going to draw the money out again.

Q. But of course, I'm going to draw it out again. If I hadn't wanted to draw it out again I could have buried it in the garden, couldn't I?

A. They wouldn't like you to draw it out again.

Q. Why not? If I keep it there you say if s a Liability. Wouldn't they be glad if I reduced their Liabilities by removing it?

A. No. Because if you remove it they can't lend it to anyone else.

Q. But if I wanted to remove it they'd have to let me?

A. Certainly.

Q. But suppose they've already lent it to another customer?

A. Then they'll let you have someone else's money.

Q. But suppose he wants his too … and they've let me have it?

A. You're being purposely obtuse.

Q. I think I'm being acute. What if everyone wanted their money at once?

A. It's the theory of banking practice that they never would.

Q. So what banks bank on is not having to meet their commitments?

A. I wouldn't say that.

Q. Naturally. Well, if there's nothing else you think you can tell me…?

A. Quite so. Now you can go off and open a banking account.

Q. Just one last question.

A. Of course.

Q. Wouldn't I do better to go off and open up a bank?

Section I


What is the Federal Reserve System? The answer may surprise you. It is not federal and there are no reserves. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve Banks are not even banks. The key to this riddle is to be found, not at the beginning of the story, but in the middle. Since this is not a textbook, we are not confined to a chronological structure. The subject matter is not a curriculum to be mastered but a mystery to be solved. So let us start where the action is.

Chapter One


The secret meeting on Jekyll Island in Georgia at which the Federal Reserve was conceived; the birth of a banking cartel to -protect its members from competition; the strategy of haw to convince Congress and the public that this cartel was an agency of the United States government.

The New Jersey railway station was bitterly cold that night. Flurries of the year's first snow swirled around street lights. November wind rattled roof panels above the track shed and gave a long, mournful sound among the rafters.

It was approaching ten P.M., and the station was nearly empty except for a few passengers scurrying to board the last Southbound of the day. The rail equipment was typical for that year of 1910, mostly chair cars that converted into sleepers with cramped upper and lower berths. For those with limited funds, coach cars were coupled to the front. They would take the brunt of the engine's noise and smoke that, somehow, always managed to seep through unseen cracks. A dining car was placed between the sections as a subtle barrier between the two classes of travelers. By today's standards, the environment was drab. Chairs and mattresses were hard. Surfaces were metal or scarred wood. Colors were dark green and gray.

In their hurry to board the train and escape the chill of the wind, few passengers noticed the activity at the far end of the platform. At a gate seldom used at this hour of the night was a Spectacular sight. Nudged against the end-rail bumper was a long car that caused those few who saw it to stop and stare. Its gleaming black paint was accented with polished brass hand rails, knobs, frames, and filigrees. The shades were drawn, but through the open door, one could see mahogany paneling, velvet drapes, plush armchairs, and a well stocked bar. Porters with white serving coats were busying themselves with routine chores. And there was the distinct aroma of expensive cigars. Other cars in the station bore numbers on each end to distinguish them from their dull brothers. But numbers were not needed for this beauty. On the center of each side was a small plaque bearing but a single word: ALDRICH.

The name of Nelson Aldrich, senator from Rhode Island, was well known even in New Jersey. By 1910, he was one of the most powerful men in Washington, D.C., and his private railway car often was seen at the New York and New Jersey rail terminals during frequent trips to Wall Street. Aldrich was far more than a senator. He was considered to be the political spokesman for big business. As an investment associate of J.F. Morgan, he had extensive holdings in banking, manufacturing, and public utilities. His son-in-law was John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Sixty years later, his grandson, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, would become Vice-President of the United States.

When Aldrich arrived at the station, there was no doubt he was the commander of the private car. Wearing a long, fur-collared coat, a silk top hat, and carrying a silver-tipped walking stick, he strode briskly down the platform with his private secretary, Shelton, and a cluster of porters behind them hauling assorted trunks and cases.

No sooner had the Senator boarded his car when several more passengers arrived with similar collections of luggage. The last man appeared just moments before the final "aaall aboarrrd." He was carrying a shotgun case.

While Aldrich was easily recognized by most of the travelers who saw him stride through the station, the other faces were not familiar. These strangers had been instructed to arrive separately, to avoid reporters, and, should they meet inside the station, to pretend they did not know each other. After boarding the train, they had been told to use first names only so as not to reveal each other's identity. As a result of these precautions, not even the private-car porters and servants knew the names of these guests.

Back at the main gate, there was a double blast from the engine's whistle. Suddenly, the gentle sensation of motion; the excitement of a journey begun. But, no sooner had the train cleared the platform when it shuttered to a stop. Then, to everyone's surprise, it reversed direction and began moving toward the station again. Had they forgotten something? Was there a problem with the engine?

A sudden lurch and the slam of couplers gave the answer. They had picked up another car at the end of the train. Possibly the mail car? In an instant the forward motion was resumed, and all thoughts returned to the hip ahead and to the minimal comforts of the accommodations.

And so, as the passengers drifted off to sleep that night to the rhythmic clicking of steel wheels against rail, little did they dream that, riding in the car at the end of their train, were seven men who represented an estimated one-fourth of the total wealth of the entire world.

This was the roster of the Aldrich car that night:

1. Nelson W. Aldrich, Republican "whip" in the Senate, Chairman

of the National Monetary Commission, business associate of J.P, Morgan, father-in-law to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.;

2. Abraham Piatt Andrew, Assistant Secretary of the United States


3. Frank A. Vanderlip, president of the National City Bank of New

York, the most powerful of the banks at that time, representing William Rockefeller and the international investment banking house of Kuhn, Loeb & Company;

4. Henry P. Davison, senior partner of the J.P. Morgan Company;

5. Charles D. Norton, president of J.P. Morgan's First National Bank

of New York;

6. Benjamin Strong, head of J.P. Morgan's Bankers Trust Company;


7. Paul M. Warburg, a partner in Kuhn, Loeb & Company, a

representative of the Rothschild banking dynasty in England and France, and brother to Max Warburg who was head of the Warburg banking consortium in Germany and the Netherlands.

1. In private correspondence between the author and Andrew L. Gray, the Grand Nephew of Abraham P. Andrew, Mr. Gray claims that Strong was not in attendance. On the other hand, Frank Vanderlip—who was there—says in his memoirs that he was. How could Vanderlip be wrong? Gray's response: "He was in his late seventies when he wrote the book and the essay in question… Perhaps the wish was father to the thought." If Vanderlip truly was in error, it was perhaps not so significant after all because, as Gray admits: "Strong would have been among those few to be let in on the secret." In the absence of further confirmation to the contrary, we are compelled to accept Vanderlip's account.


Centralization of control over financial resources was far advanced by 1910. In the United States, there were two main focal points of this control: the Morgan group and the Rockefeller group. Within each orbit was a maze of commercial banks, acceptance banks, and investment firms. In Europe, the same process had proceeded even further and had coalesced into the Rothschild group and the Warburg group. An article appeared in the New York Times on May 3, 1931, commenting on the death of George Baker, one of Morgan's closest associates. It said: "One-sixth of the total wealth of the world was represented by members of the Jekyll Island Club." The reference was only to those in the Morgan group, (members of the Jekyll Island Club), It did not include the Rockefeller group or the European financiers. When all of these are combined, the previous estimate that one-fourth of the world's wealth was represented by these groups is probably conservative.

In 1913, the year that the Federal Reserve Act became law, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Currency and Banking, under the chairmanship of Arsene Pujo of Louisiana, completed its investigation into the concentration of financial power in the United States. Pujo was considered to be a spokesman for the oil interests, part of the very group under investigation, and did everything possible to sabotage the hearings. In spite of his efforts, however, the final report of the committee at large was devastating:

Your committee is satisfied from the proofs submitted … that there is an established and well defined identity and community of interest between a few leaders of finance … which has resulted in great and rapidly growing concentration of the control of money and credit in the hands of these few men….

Under our system of issuing and distributing corporate securities the investing public does not buy directly from the corporation. The securities travel from the issuing house through middlemen to the investor. It is only the great banks or bankers with access to the mainsprings of the concentrated resources made up of other people's money, in the banks, trust companies, and life insurance companies, and with control of the machinery for creating markets and distributing securities, who have had the power to underwrite or guarantee the sale of large-scale security issues. The men who through their control over the funds of our railroad and industrial companies are able to direct where such funds shall be kept, and thus to create these great reservoirs of the people's money are the ones who are in a


position to tap those reservoirs for the ventures in which they are interested and to prevent their being tapped for purposes which they do not approve….

When we consider, also, in this connection that into these reservoirs of money and credit there flow a large part of the reserves of the banks of the country, that they are also the agents and correspondents of the out-of-town banks in the loaning of their surplus funds in the only public money market of the country, and that a small group of men and their partners and associates have now further strengthened their hold upon the resources of these institutions by acquiring large stock holdings therein, by representation on their boards and through valuable patronage, we begin to realize something of the extent to which this practical and effective domination and control over our greatest financial, railroad and industrial corporations has developed, largely within the past five years, and that it is fraught with peril to the welfare of the country.

Such was the nature of the wealth and power represented by those seven men who gathered in secret that night and travelled in the luxury of Senator Aldrich's private car.


As the train neared its destination of Raleigh, North Carolina, the next afternoon, it slowed and then stopped in the switching yard just outside the station terminal. Quickly, the crew threw a switch, and the engine nudged the last car onto a siding where, just as quickly, it was uncoupled and left behind. When passengers stepped onto the platform at the terminal a few moments later, their train appeared exactly as it had been when they boarded. They could not know that their travelling companions for the night, at that very instant, were joining still another train which, within the hour, would depart Southbound once again.

The elite group of financiers was embarked on a thousand-mile journey that led them to Atlanta, then to Savannah and, finally, to the small town of Brunswick, Georgia. At first, it would seem that Brunswick was an unlikely destination. Located on the Atlantic seaboard, it was primarily a fishing village with a small but lively port for cotton and lumber. It had a population of only a few thousand people. But, by that time, the Sea Islands that sheltered

I- Herman E. Krooss, ed., Documentary History of Currency and Banking in tJie United States (New York: Chelsea House, 1983), Vol. Ill, "Final Report from the Pujo Committee, February 28,1913," pp. 222-24.


the coast from South Carolina to Florida already had become popular as winter resorts for the very wealthy. One such island, just off the coast of Brunswick, had recently been purchased by J.P. Morgan and several of his business associates, and it was here that they came in the fall and winter to hunt ducks or deer and to escape the rigors of cold weather in the North. It was called Jekyll Island.

When the Aldrich car was uncoupled onto a siding at the small Brunswick station, it was, indeed, conspicuous. Word travelled quickly to the office of the town's weekly newspaper. While the group was waiting to be transferred to the dock, several people from the paper approached and began asking questions. Who were Mr. Aldrich's guests? Why were they here? Was there anything special happening? Mr. Davison, who was one of the owners of Jekyll Island and who was well known to the local paper, told them that these were merely personal friends and that they had come for the simple amusement of duck hunting. Satisfied that there was no real news in the event, the reporters returned to their office.

Even after arrival at the remote island lodge, the secrecy continued. For nine days the rule for first-names-only remained in effect. Full-time caretakers and servants had been given vacation, and an entirely new, carefully screened staff was brought in for the occasion. This was done to make absolutely sure that none of the servants might recognize by sight the identities of these guests. It is difficult to imagine any event in history—including preparation for war—that was shielded from public view with greater mystery and secrecy.

The purpose of this meeting on lekyll Island was not to hunt ducks. Simply stated, it was to come to an agreement on the structure and operation of a banking cartel. The goal of the cartel, as is true with all of them, was to maximize profits by minimizing competition between members, to make it difficult for new competitors to enter the field, and to utilize the police power of government to enforce the cartel agreement. In more specific terms, the purpose and, indeed, the actual outcome of this meeting was to create the blueprint for the Federal Reserve System.


For many years after the event, educators, commentators, and historians denied that the Jekyll Island meeting ever took place. Even now, the accepted view is that the meeting was relatively

unimportant, and only paranoid unsophisticates would try to make anything out of it. Ron Chemow writes: "The Jekyll Island meeting would be the fountain of a thousand conspiracy theories." Little by little, however, the story has been pieced together in amazing detail, and it has come directly or indirectly from those who actually were there. Furthermore, if what they say about their own purposes and actions does not constitute a classic conspiracy, then there is little meaning to that word.

The first leak regarding this meeting found its way into print in 1916. It appeared in Leslie's Weekly and was written by a young financial reporter by the name of B.C. Forbes, who later founded Forbes Magazine. The article was primarily in praise of Paul Warburg, and it is likely that Warburg let the story out during conversations with the writer. At any rate, the opening paragraph contained a dramatic but highly accurate summary of both the nature and purpose of the meeting:

Picture a party of the nation's greatest bankers stealing out of New York on a private railroad car under cover of darkness, stealthily hieing hundreds of miles South, embarking on a mysterious launch, sneaking on to an island deserted by all but a few servants, living there a full week under such rigid secrecy that the names of not one of them was once mentioned lest the servants learn the identity and disclose to the world this strangest, most secret expedition in the history of American finance.

I am not romancing. I am giving to the world, for the first time, the real story of how the famous Aldrich currency report, the foundation of our new currency system, was written.

In 1930, Paul Warburg wrote a massive book—1750 pages in all—entitled The Federal Reserve System, Its Origin and Growth. In this tome, he described the meeting and its purpose but did not mention either*its location or the names of those who attended. But he did say: "The results of the conference were entirely confidential. Even the fact there had been a meeting was not permitted to I become public." Then, in a footnote he added: "Though eighteen years have since gone by, I do not feel free to give a description of 1. Ron Chernow, The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990), p. 129. I "Men Who Are Making America/' by B.C. Forbes, Leslies Weekly, October 19, 1916, p. 423.

this most interesting conference concerning which Senator Aldrich pledged all participants to secrecy." 1

An interesting insight to Paul Warburg's attendance at the Jekyl] Island meeting came thirty-four years later, in a book written by his son, James. James had been appointed by F.D.R. as Director of the Budget and, during World War II, as head of the Office of War Information. In his book he described how his father, who didn't know one end of a gun from the other, borrowed a shotgun from a friend and carried it with him to the train to disguise himself as a duck hunter.

This part of the story was corroborated in the official biography of Senator Aldrich, written by Nathaniel Wright Stephenson:

In the autumn of 1910, six men [in addition to Aldrich] went out to shoot ducks. That is to say, they told the world that was their purpose. Mr. Warburg, who was of the number, gives an amusing account of his feelings when he boarded a private car in Jersey City, bringing with him all the accoutrements of a duck shooter. The joke was in the fact that he had never shot a duck in his life and had no intention of shooting any…. The duck shoot was a blind. 3

Stephenson continues with a description of the encounter at Brunswick station. He tells us that, shortly after they arrived, the station master walked into the private car and shocked them by his apparent knowledge of the identities of everyone on board. To make matters even worse, he said that a group of reporters were waiting outside. Davison took charge. "Come outside, old man," he said, "and I will tell you a story.' 7 No one claims to know what story was told standing on the railroad ties that morning, but a few moments later Davison returned with a broad smile on his face. "It's all right," he said reassuringly. "They won't give us away."

Stephenson continues: "The rest is silence. The reporters dispersed, and the secret of the strange journey was not divulged. No one asked him how he managed it and he did not volunteer the information.'

1. Paul Warburg, The Federal Reserve System Its Origin and Growth (New York-Macmil an, 1930), Vol. I, p. 58. It is apparent that Warburg wrote this line two years before the book was published.

2. James Warburg, The Long Road Home (New York: Doubleday, 1964) p 29

3. Nathaniel Wright Stephenson, Nelson W. Aldrich in American Politics '(New York-Scnbners, 1930; rpt. New York: Kennikat Press, 1971), p. 373.

4. Stephenson, p. 376.


In the February 9, 1935, issue of the Saturday Evening Post, an article appeared written by Frank Vanderlip. In it he said:

Despite my views about the value to society of greater publicity for the affairs of corporations, there was an occasion, near the close of 1910, when I was as secretive—indeed, as furtive—as any conspirator…. I do not feel it is any exaggeration to speak of our secret expedition to Jekyll Island as the occasion of the actual conception of what eventually became the Federal Reserve System….

We were told to leave our last names behind us. We were told, further, that we should avoid dining together on the night of our departure. We were instructed to come one at a time and as unobtrusively as possible to the railroad tenninal on the New Jersey littoral of the Hudson, where Senator Aldrich's private car would be in readiness, attached to the rear end of a train for the South….

Once aboard the private car we began to observe the taboo that had been fixed on last names. We addressed one another as "Ben,” "Paul,” "Nelson,” "Abe" — it is Abraham Piatt Andrew. Davison and I adopted even deeper disguises, abandoning our first names. On the theory that we were always right, he became Wilber and I became Orville, after those two aviation pioneers, the Wright brothers….

The servants and train crew may have known the identities of one or two of us, but they did not know all, and it was the names of all printed together that would have made our mysterious journey significant in Washington, in Wall Street, even in London. Discovery, we knew, simply must not happen, or else all our time and effort would be wasted. If it were to be exposed publicly that our particular group had got together and written a banking bill, that bill would have no chance whatever of passage by Congress.


The composition of the Jekyll Island meeting was a classic example of cartel structure. A cartel is a group of independent businesses which join together to coordinate the production, pricing, or marketing of their members. The purpose of a cartel is to reduce competition and thereby increase profitability. This is accomplished through a shared monopoly over their industry which forces the public to pay higher prices for their goods or services than would be otherwise required under free-enterprise competition.

1. "From Farm Boy to Financier," by Frank A. Vanderlip, The Saturday Evening Post, Feb. 9, 1933, pp. 25, 70. The identical story was told two years later in Vanderlip's book bearing the same title as the article (New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, 1935), pp. 210-219.


Here were representatives of the world's leading banking consortia: Morgan, Rockefeller, Rothschild, Warburg, and Kuhn-Loeb. They were often competitors, and there is little doubt that there was considerable distrust between them and skillful maneuvering for favored position in any agreement. But they were driven together by one overriding desire to fight their common enemy. The enemy was competition.

In 1910, the number of banks in the United States was growing at a phenomenal rate. In fact it had more than doubled to over twenty thousand in just the previous ten years. Furthermore, most of them were springing up in the South and West, causing the New York banks to suffer a steady decline of market share. Almost all banks in the 1880s were national banks, which means they were chartered by the federal government. Generally, they were located in the big cities, and were allowed by law to issue their own currency in the form of bank notes. Even as early as 1896, however, the number of non-national banks had grown to sixty-one per cent, and they already held fifty-four per cent of the country's total banking deposits. By 1913, when the Federal Reserve Act was passed, those numbers were seventy-one per cent non-national banks holding fifty-seven per cent of the deposits. 1 In the eyes of those duck hunters from New York, this was a trend that simply had to be reversed.

Competition also was coming from a new trend in industry to finance future growth out of profits rather than from borrowed capital. This was the outgrowth of free-market interest rates which set a realistic balance between debt and thrift. Rates were low enough to attract serious borrowers who were confident of the success of their business ventures and of their ability to repay, but they were high enough to discourage loans for frivolous ventures or those for which there were alternative sources of funding—for example, one's own capital. That balance between debt and thrift was the result of a limited money supply. Banks could create loans in excess of their actual deposits, as we shall see, but there was a limit to that process. And that limit was ultimately determined by the supply of gold they held. Consequently, between 1900 and 1910, seventy per cent of the funding for American corporate

growth was generated internally, making industry increasingly independent of the banks. Even the federal government was becoming thrifty. It had a growing stockpile of gold, was systematically redeeming the Greenbacks—which had been issued during the Civil War—and was rapidly reducing the national debt.

Here was another trend that had to be halted. What the bankers wanted—and what many businessmen wanted also—was to intervene in the free market and tip the balance of interest rates downward, to favor debt over thrift. To accomplish this, the money supply simply had to be disconnected from gold and made more plentiful or, as they described it, more elastic.


The greatest threat, however, came, not from rivals or private capital formation, but from the public at large in the form of what bankers call a run on the bank. This is because, when banks accept a customer's deposit, they give in return a "balance" in his account. This is the equivalent of a promise to pay back the deposit anytime he wants. Likewise, when another customer borrows money from the bank, he also is given an account balance which usually is withdrawn immediately to satisfy the purpose of the loan. This creates a ticking time bomb because, at that point, the bank has issued more promises to "pay-on-demand" than it has money in the vault. Even though the depositing customer thinks he can get his money any time he wants, in reality it has been given to the borrowing customer and no longer is available at the bank.

The problem is compounded further by the fact that banks are allowed to loan even more money than they have received in deposit. The mechanism for accomplishing this seemingly impossible feat will be described in a later chapter, but it is a fact of modern banking that promises-to-pay often exceed savings deposits by a factor of ten-to-one. And, because only about three per cent of these accounts are actually retained in the vault in the form of cash—the rest having been put into even more loans and investments—the bank's promises exceed its ability to keep those promises by a factor of over three hundred-to-one. As long as only a small percentage

1. See Gabriel Kolko, Vie Triumph of Conservatism (New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, a division of the MacmUIan Co., 1963), p. 140.

1. William Greider, Secrets of the Temple (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987), p. 274,275. Also Kolko, p. 145,

2. Another way of putting it is that their reserves are underfunded by over 33,333% (10-to-1 divided by .03 = 333.333-to-l. That divided by .01 = 33333%.)


of depositors request their money at one time, no one is the wiser. But if public confidence is shaken, and if more than a few per cent attempt to withdraw their funds, the scheme is finally exposed. The bank cannot keep all its promises and is forced to close its doors. Bankruptcy usually follows in due course.


The same result could happen—and, prior to the Federal Reserve System, often did happen-^even without depositors making a run on the bank. Instead of withdrawing their funds at the teller's window, they simply wrote checks to purchase goods or services. People receiving those checks took them to a bank for deposit. If that bank happened to be the same one from which the check was drawn, then all was well, because it was not necessary to remove any real money from the vault. But if the holder of the check took it to another bank, it was quickly passed back to the issuing bank and settlement was demanded between banks.

This is not a one-way street, however. While the Downtown Bank is demanding payment from the Uptown Bank, the Uptown Bank is also clearing checks and demanding payment from the Downtown bank. As long as the money flow in both directions is equal, then everything can be handled with simple bookkeeping. But if the flow is not equal, then one of the banks will have to actually send money to the other to make up the difference. If the amount of money required exceeds a few percentage points of the bank's total deposits, the result is the same as a run on the bank by depositors. This demand of money by other banks rather than by depositors is called a currency drain.

In 1910, the most common cause of a bank having to declare bankruptcy due to a currency drain was that it followed a loan policy that was more reckless than that of its competitors. More money was demanded from it because more money was loaned by it. It was dangerous enough to loan ninety per cent of their customers' savings (keeping only one dollar in reserve out of every ten), but that had proven to be adequate most of the time. Some banks, however, were tempted to walk even closer to the precipice. They pushed the ratio to ninety-too per cent, ninety-^ per cent, ninety-mwe per cent. After all, the way a bank makes money is to collect interest, and the only way to do that is to make loans. The more loans, the better. And, so, there was a practice among some of

the more reckless banks to "loan up," as they call it. Which was another way of saying to push dawn their reserve ratios.


If all banks could be forced to issue loans in the same ratio to their reserves as other banks did, then, regardless of how small that ratio was, the amount of checks to be cleared between them would balance in the long run. No major currency drains would ever occur. The entire banking industry might collapse under such a system, but not individual banks—at least not those that were part of the cartel. All would walk the same distance from the edge, regardless of how close it was. Under such uniformity, no individual bank could be blamed for failure to meet its obligations. The blame could be shifted, instead, to the "economy" or "government policy" or "interest rates" or "trade deficits" or the "exchange-value of the dollar" or even to the "capitalist system" itself.

But, in 1910, such a bankers' utopia had not yet been created. If the Downtown bank began to loan at a greater ratio to its reserves than its competitors, the amount of checks which would come back to it for payment also would be greater. Thus, the bank which pursued a more reckless lending policy had to draw against its reserves in order to make payments to the more conservative banks and, when those funds were exhausted, it usually was forced into bankruptcy-Historian John Klein tells us that "The financial panics of 1873, 1884, 1893, and 1907 were in large part an outgrowth of … reserve pyramiding and excessive deposit creation by reserve city … banks. These panics were triggered by the currency drains that took place in periods of relative prosperity when banks were loaned up." In other words, the "panics" and resulting bank failures were caused, not by negative factors in the economy, but by currency drains on the banks which were loaned up to the point where they had practically no reserves at all. The banks did not fail because the system was weak. The system failed because the banks were weak. This was another common problem that brought these seven men over a thousand miles to a tiny island off the shore of Georgia. Each was a potentially fierce competitor, but uppermost in their minds were the so-called panics and the very real 1,748 bank

I See Vera C. Smith, The Rationale of Central Banking (London: P.S. King & Son, 1936), p. 36.


failures of the preceding two decades. Somehow, they had to join forces. A method had to be devised to enable them to continue to make more promises to pay-on-demand than they could keep. To do this, they had to find a way to force all banks to walk the same distance from the edge, and, when the inevitable disasters happened, to shift public blame away from themselves. By making it appear to be a problem of the national economy rather than of private banking practice, the door then could be opened for the use of tax money rather than their own funds for paying off the losses.

Here, then, were the main challenges that faced that tiny but powerful group assembled on Jekyll Island:

1. How to stop the growing influence of small, rival banks and to

insure that control over the nation's financial resources would remain in the hands of those present;

2. How to make the money supply more elastic in order to reverse

the trend of private capital formation and to recapture the industrial loan market;

3. How to pool the meager reserves of the nation's banks into one

large reserve so that all banks will be motivated to follow the same loan-to-deposit ratios. This would protect at least some of them from currency drains and bank runs;

4. Should this lead eventually to the collapse of the whole banking

system, then how to shift the losses from the owners of the banks to the taxpayers.


Everyone knew that the solution to all these problems was a cartel mechanism that had been devised and already put into similar operation in Europe. As with all cartels, it had to be created by legislation and sustained by the power of government under the deception of protecting the consumer. The most important task before them, therefore, can be stated as objective number five:

5. How to convince Congress that the scheme was a measure to

protect the public.

The task was a delicate one. The American people did not like the concept of a cartel. The idea of business enterprises joining together to fix prices and prevent competition was alien to the free-enterprise system, It could never be sold to the voters. But, if the word cartel was not used, if the venture could be described

with words which are emotionally neutral-perhaps even allur-ine—then half the battle would be won.

The first decision, therefore, was to follow the practice adopted in Europe. Henceforth, the cartel would operate as a central bank. And even that was to be but a generic expression. For purposes of public relations and legislation, they would devise a name that would avoid the word bank altogether and which would conjure the image of the federal government itself. Furthermore, to create the impression that there would be no concentration of power, they would establish regional branches of the cartel and make that a main selling point. Stephenson tells us: "Aldrich entered this discussion at Jekyll Island an ardent convert to the idea of a central bank His desire was to transplant the system of one of the great European banks, say the Bank of England, bodily to America." But political expediency required that such plans be concealed from the public. As John Kenneth Galbraith explained it "It was his [Aldrich's] thought to outflank the opposition by having not one central bank but many. And the word bank would itself be


With the exception of Aldrich, all of those present were bankers, but only one was an expert on the European model of a central bank. Because of this knowledge, Paul Warburg became the dominant and guiding mind throughout all of the discussions. Even a casual perusal of the literature on the creation of the Federal Reserve System is sufficient to find that he was, indeed, the cartel's mastermind. Galbraith says .".. Warburg has, with some justice, been called the father of the system." 3 Professor Edwin Seligman, a member of the international banking family of J. & W. Seligman, and head of the Department of Economics at Columbia University, writes that .".. in its fundamental features, the Federal Reserve Act is the work of Mr. Warburg more than any other man in the country


I J S oh P n h Ke^;th 3 2lbraith, Money: Whence It Came, Where If Went (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1975), p. 122.

3. Galbraith, p. 123. . -„,

4. The Academy of Political Science, Proceedings, 1914, Vol. 4, No. 4, p. 387.



Paul Moritz Warburg was a leading member of the investment banking firm of MM. Warburg & Company of Hamburg, Germany, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He had come to the United States only nine years previously. Soon after arrival, however, and with funding provided mostly by the Rothschild group, he and his brother, Felix, had been able to buy partnerships in the New York investment banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Company, while continuing as partners in Warburg of Hamburg. Within twenty years, Paul would become one of the wealthiest men in America with an unchallenged domination over the country's railroad system.

At this distance in history, it is difficult to appreciate the importance of this man. But some understanding may be had from the fact that the legendary character, Daddy Warbucks, in the comic strip Little Orphan Annie, was a contemporary commentary on the presumed benevolence of Paul Warburg, and the almost magic ability to accomplish good through the power of his unlimited wealth.

A third brother, Max Warburg, was the financial adviser of the Kaiser and became Director of the Reichsbank in Germany. This was, of course, a central bank, and it was one of the cartel models used in the construction of the Federal Reserve System. The Reichsbank, incidentally, a few years later would create the massive hyperinflation that occurred in Germany, wiping out the middle class and the entire German economy as well.

Paul Warburg soon became well known on Wall Street as a persuasive advocate for a central bank in America. Three years before the Jekyll Island meeting, he had published several pamphlets. One was entitled Defects and Needs of Our Banking System, and the other was A Plan for A Modified Central Bank, These attracted wide attention in both financial and academic circles and set the intellectual climate for all future discussions regarding banking legislation. In these treatises, Warburg complained that the American monetary system was crippled by its dependency on gold and government bonds, both of which were in limited supply. What America needed, he argued, was an elastic money supply that

1. Anthony Sutton, Wall Street and FDR (New Rochelle, New Ycrk: Arlington House, 1975), p. 92.

could be expanded and contracted to accommodate the fluctuating needs of commerce. The solution, he said, was to follow the German example whereby banks could create currency solely on the basis of "commercial paper," which is banker language for I O.U.s from corporations.

Warburg was tireless in his efforts. He was a featured speaker before scores of influential audiences and wrote a steady stream of published articles on the subject. In March of that year, for example, The Neiv York Times published an eleven-part series written by Warburg explaining and expounding what he called the Reserve Bank of the United States. 1


Most of Warburg's writing and lecturing on this topic was eyewash for the public. To cover the fact that a central bank is merely a cartel which has been legalized, its proponents had to lay down a thick smoke screen of technical jargon focusing always on how it would supposedly benefit commerce, the public, and the nation; how it would lower interest rates, provide funding for needed industrial projects, and prevent panics in the economy. There was not the slightest glimmer that, underneath it all, was a master plan which was designed from top to bottom to serve private interests at the expense of the public.

This was, nevertheless, the cold reality, and the more perceptive bankers were well aware of it. In an address before the American Bankers Association the following year, Aldrich laid it out for anyone who was really listening to the meaning of his words. He said: "The organization proposed is not a bank, but a cooperative union of all the banks of the country for definite purposes." 2 Precisely. A union of banks.

Two years later, in a speech before that same group of bankers, A. Barton Hepburn of Chase National Bank was even more candid. He said: "The measure recognizes and adopts the principles of a central bank. Indeed, if it works out as the sponsors of the law hope, it will make all incorporated banks together joint owners of a

1. See J. Lawrence Laughlin, The Federal Reserve Act: Us Origin and Problems (New York: Macmillan, 1933), p. 9.

2. The full text of the speech is reprinted by Herman E. Krooss and Paul A. Samuel son, Vol. 3, p. 1202.

central dominating power." And that is about as good a definition of a cartel as one is likely to find.

In 1914, one year after the Federal Reserve Act was passed into law, Senator Aldrich could afford to be less guarded in his remarks. In an article published in luly of that year in a magazine called The Independent, he boasted: "Before the passage of this Act, the New York bankers could only dominate the reserves of New York. Now we are able to dominate the bank reserves of the entire country."


The accepted version of history is that the Federal Reserve was created to stabilize our economy. One of the most widely-used textbooks on this subject says: "It sprang from the panic of 1907, with its alarming epidemic of bank failures: the country was fed up once and for all with the anarchy of unstable private banking." Even the most naive student must sense a grave contradiction between this cherished view and the System's actual performance. Since its inception, it has presided over the crashes of 1921 and 1929; the Great Depression of '29 to '39; recessions in '53, '57, '69, '75, and '81; a stock market "Black Monday" in '87; and a 1000% inflation which has destroyed 90% of the dollar's purchasing power.

Let us be more specific on that last point. By 1990, an annual income of $10,000 was required to buy what took only $1,000 in 1914. That incredible loss in value was quietly transferred to the federal government in the form of hidden taxation, and the Federal Reserve System was the mechanism by which it was accomplished.

Actions have consequences. The consequences of wealth confiscation by the Federal-Reserve mechanism are now upon us. In the current decade/ corporate debt is soaring; personal debt is greater than ever; both business and personal bankruptcies are at an all-time high; banks and savings and loan associations are failing in

1. Quoted by KoLko, Triumph, p. 235.

Z Paul A. SamueLson, Economics, 8th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970), p. 272.

3. See "Money, Banking, and Biblical Ethics/' by Ronald H. Nash, Durell Journal of Money and Banking, February, 1990.

4. When one considers that the income tax had just been introduced in 1913 and that such low figures were completely exempt, an income at that time of $1,000 actually was the equivalent of earning $15,400 now, before paying 35% taxes. When the amount now taken by state and local governments is added to the total bite, the figure is close to $20,000.


larger numbers than ever before; interest on the national debt is consuming half of our tax dollars; heavy industry has been largely replaced by overseas competitors; we are facing an international trade deficit for the first time in our history; 75% of downtown Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas is now owned by foreigners; and over half of our nation is in a state of economic recession.


That is the scorecard eighty years after the Federal Reserve was created supposedly to stabilize our economy! There can be no argument that the System has failed in its stated objectives. Furthermore, after all this time, after repeated changes in personnel, after operating under both political parties, after numerous experiments in monetary philosophy, after almost a hundred revisions to its charter, and after the development of countless new formulas and techniques, there has been more than ample opportunity to work out mere procedural flaws. It is not unreasonable to conclude, therefore, that the System has failed, not because it needs a new set of rules or more intelligent directors, but because it is incapable of achieving its stated objectives.

If an institution is incapable of achieving its objectives, there is no reason to preserve it—unless it can be altered in some way to change its capability. That leads to the question: why is the System incapable of achieving its stated objectives? The painful answer is: those were never its true objectives. When one realizes the circumstances under which it was created, when one contemplates the identities of those who authored it, and when one studies its actual performance over the years, it becomes obvious that the System is merely a cartel with a government facade. There is no doubt that those who run it are motivated to maintain full employment, high productivity, low inflation, and a generally sound economy. They are not interested in killing the goose that lays such beautiful golden eggs. But, when there is a conflict between the public interest and the private needs of the cartel—a conflict that arises almost daily—the public will be sacrificed. That is the nature of the beast. It is foolish to expect a cartel to act in any other way.

This view is not encouraged by Establishment institutions and publishers. It has become their apparent mission to convince the American people that the system is not intrinsically flawed. It merely has been in the hands of bumbling oafs. For example,

William Greider was a former Assistant Managing Editor for The Washington Post. His book, Secrets of The Temple, was published in 1987 by Simon and Schuster. It was critical of the Federal Reserve because of its failures, but, according to Greider, these were not caused by any defect in the System itself, but merely because the economic factors are "sooo complicated" that the good men who have struggled to make the System work have just not yet been able to figure it all out. But, don't worry, folks, they're working on it! That is exactly the kind of powder-puff criticism which is acceptable in our mainstream media. Yet, Greider's own research points to an entirely different interpretation. Speaking of the System's origin, he says:

As new companies prospered without Wall Street, so did the hew regional banks that handled their funds, New York's concentrated share of bank deposits was still huge, about half the nation's total, but it was declining steadily. Wall Street was still "the biggest kid on the block," but less and less able to bully the others.

This trend was a crucial fact of history, a misunderstood reality that completely alters the political meaning of the reform legislation that created the Federal Reserve. At the time, the conventional wisdom in Congress, widely shared and sincerely espoused by Progressive reformers, was that a government institution would finally harness the "money trust," disarm its powers, and establish broad democratic control over money and credit…. The results were nearly the opposite. The money reforms enacted in 1913, in fact, helped to preserve the status quo, to stabilize the old order. Money-center bankers would not only gain dominance over the new central bank, but would also enjoy new insulation against instability and their own decline. Once the Fed was in operation, the steady diffusion of financial power halted. Wall Street maintained its dominant position—and even enhanced it.

Anthony Sutton, former Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution for War, Revolution and Peace, and also Professor of Economics at California State University, Los Angeles, provides a somewhat deeper analysis. He writes:

Warburg's revolutionary plan to get American Society to go to work for Wall Street was astonishingly simple. Even today,… academic theoreticians cover their blackboards with meaningless equations, and the general public struggles in bewildered confusion with inflation and the coming credit collapse, while the quite simple explanation of

1. Greider, p. 275.


the problem goes undiscussed and almost entirely uncomprehended. The Federal Reserve System is a legal private monopoly of the money supply operated for the benefit of the few under the guise of protecting and promoting the public interest.

The real significance of the journey to Jekyll Island and the creature that was hatched there was inadvertently summarized by the words of Paul Warburg's admiring biographer, Harold Kellock:

Paul M. Warburg is probably the mildest-mannered man that ever personally conducted a revolution. It was a bloodless revolution: he did not attempt to rouse the populace to arms. He stepped forth armed simply with an idea. And he conquered. That's the amazing thing. A shy, sensitive man, he imposed his idea on a nation of a hundred million people.


The basic plan for the Federal Reserve System was drafted at a secret meeting held in November of 1910 at the private resort of J.P. Morgan on Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia. Those who attended represented the great financial institutions of Wall Street and, indirectly, Europe as well. The reason for secrecy was simple. Had it been known that rival factions of the banking community had joined together, the public would have been alerted to the possibility that the bankers were plotting an agreement in restraint of trade—which, of course, is exactly what they were doing. What emerged was a cartel agreement with five objectives: stop the growing competition from the nation's newer banks; obtain a franchise to create money out of nothing for the purpose of lending; get control of the reserves of all banks so that the more reckless ones would not be exposed to currency drains and bank runs; get the taxpayer to pick up the cartel's inevitable losses; and convince Congress that the purpose was to protect the public. It was realized that the bankers would have to become partners with the politicians and that the structure of the cartel would have to be a central bank. The record shows that the Fed has failed to achieve its stated objectives- That is because those were never its true goals. As a banking cartel, and in terms of the five objectives stated above, it has been an Unqualified success.

1. Sutton, Wall Street and F.D.R., p, 94.

2. Harold Kellock, "Warburg, the Revolutionist/' The Century Magazine, May 1915, p. 79.

JekyU Island Museum

, Nelson W. Aldrich


Henry P. Davison (L) and Charles D. Norton (R)

The seven men who attended the secret meetining on Jekyii Island, where the Federal Reserve System was conceived, represented an estimated one-fourth of the total wealth of ttt entire world. They were:

Jekyll Island Museum

Abraham Piatt Andrew

Nelson W. Aldrich, Republican "whip" in the Senate, Chairman of the National Monetary Commission, father-in-law to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.; Henry P. Davison, Sr. Partner of J.P. Morgan Company; Charles D. Norton, Pres. of 1st National Bank of New Yof. A. Piatt Andrew, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; Frank A. Vanderlip, President of the National City Bank ci New York, representing William Rockefeller. Benjamin Strong, head of J.P. Morgan's Bankers Trust Company, later to become head of the System; Paul M. Warburg, a partner in Kuhn, Loeb & Company, representing the Rothschilds and Warburgs in Europe.

Frank A. Vanderlip

Island Museum

Benjamin Strong


Jekyll Island Museum

Paul M. Warburg

Chapter Two


The analogy of a spectator sporting event as a means of explaining the rules by which taxpayers are required to pick up the cost of bailing out the banks when their loans go sour.

It was stated in the previous chapter that the Jekyll Island group which conceived the Federal Reserve System actually created a national cartel which was dominated by the larger banks. It was also stated that a primary objective of that cartel was to involve the federal government as an agent for shifting the inevitable losses from the owners of those banks to the taxpayers. That, of course, is one of the more controversial assertions made in this book. Yet, there is little room for any other interpretation when one confronts the massive evidence of history since the System was created. Let us, therefore, take another leap through time. Having jumped to the year 1910 to begin this story, let us now return to the present era.

To understand how banking losses are shifted to the taxpayers, it is first necessary to know a little bit about how the scheme was designed to work There are certain procedures and formulas which must be understood or else the entire process seems like chaos. It is as though we had been isolated all our lives on a South Sea island with no knowledge of the outside world. Imagine what it would then be like the first time we travelled to the mainland and witnessed a game of professional football. We would stare with incredulity at men dressed like aliens from another planet; throwing their bodies against each other; tossing a funny shaped object back and forth; fighting over it as though it were of great value, yet, occasionally kicking it out of the area as though it were worthless and despised; chasing each other, knocking each other to the ground and then walking away to regroup for another surge; all

this with tens of thousand of spectators riotously shouting in unison for no apparent reason at all. Without a basic understanding that this was a game and without knowledge of the rules of that game, the event would appear as total chaos and universal madness.

The operation of our monetary system through the Federal Reserve has much in common with professional football. First, there are certain plays that are repeated over and over again with only minor variations to suit the special circumstances. Second, there are definite rules which the players follow with great precision. Third, there is a clear objective to the game which is uppermost in the minds of the players. And fourth, if the spectators are not familiar with that objective and if they do not understand the rules, they will never comprehend what is going on. Which, as far as monetary matters is concerned, is the common state of the vast majority of Americans today.

Let us, therefore, attempt to spell out in plain language what that objective is and how the players expect to achieve it. To demystify the process, we shall present an overview first. After the concepts are clarified, we then shall follow up with actual examples taken from the recent past.

The name of the game is Bailout. As stated previously, the objective of this game is to shift the inevitable losses from the owners of the larger banks to the taxpayers. The procedure by which this is accomplished is as follows:


The game begins when the Federal Reserve System allows commercial banks to create checkbook money out of nothing. (Details regarding how this incredible feat is accomplished are given in chapter ten entitled The Mandrake Mechanism.) The banks derive profit from this easy money, not by spending it, but by lending it to others and collecting interest.

When such a loan is placed on the bank's books it is shown as an asset because it is earning interest and, presumably, someday will be paid back. At the same time an equal entry is mad,? on the liability side of the ledger. That is because the newly created checkbook money now is in circulation, and most of it will end up in other banks which will return the canceled checks to the issuing bank for payment. Individuals may also bring some of this check-


book money back to the bank and request cash. The issuing bank, therefore, has a potential money pay-out liability equal to the amount of the loan asset.

When a borrower cannot repay and there are no assets which can be taken to compensate, the bank must write off that loan as a loss- However, since most of the money originally was created out of nothing and cost the bank nothing except bookkeeping overhead, there is little of tangible value that is actual lost. It is primarily a bookkeeping entry.

A bookkeeping loss can still be undesirable to a bank because it causes the loan to be removed from the ledger as an asset without a reduction in liabilities. The difference must come from the equity of those who own the bank. In other words, the loan asset is removed, but the money liability remains. The original checkbook money is still circulating out there even though the borrower cannot repay, and the issuing bank still has the obligation to redeem those checks. The only way to do this and balance the books once again is to draw upon the capital which was invested by the bank's stockholders or to deduct the loss from the bank's current profits. In either case, the owners of the bank lose an amount equal to the value of the defaulted loan. So, to them, the loss becomes very real. If the bank is forced to write off a large amount of bad loans, the amount could exceed the entire value of the owners' equity. When that happens, the game is over, and the bank is insolvent.

This concern would be sufficient to motivate most bankers to be very conservative in their loan policy, and in fact most of them do act with great caution when dealing with individuals and small businesses. But the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Federal Deposit Loan Corporation now guarantee that massive loans made to large corporations and to other governments will not be allowed to fall entirely upon the bank's owners should those loans go into default. This is done under the argument that, if these corporations or banks are allowed to fail, the nation would suffer from vast unemployment and economic disruption. More on that in a moment.


The end result of this policy is that the banks have little motive to be cautious and are protected against the effect of their own folly. The larger the loan, the better it is, because it will produce the


greatest amount of profit with the least amount of effort. A single loan to a third-world country netting hundreds of millions of dollars in annual interest is just as easy to process—if not easier— than a loan for $50,000 to a local merchant on the shopping mall. If the interest is paid, it's gravy time. If the loan defaults, the federal government will "protect the public" and, through various mechanisms described shortly, will make sure that the banks continue to receive their interest.

The individual and the small businessman find it increasingly difficult to borrow money at reasonable rates, because the banks can make more money on loans to the corporate giants and to foreign governments. Also, the bigger loans are safer for the banks, because the government will make them good even if they default. There are no such guarantees for the small loans. The public will not swallow the line that bailing out the little guy is necessary to save the system. The dollar amounts are too small. Only when the figures become mind-boggling does the ploy become plausible.

It is important to remember that banks do not really want to have their loans repaid, except as evidence of the dependability of the borrower. They make a profit from interest on the loan, not repayment of the loan. If a loan is paid off, the bank merely has to find another borrower, and that can be an expensive nuisance. It is much better to have the existing borrower pay only the interest and never make payments on the loan itself. That process is called rolling over the debt. One of the reasons banks prefer to lend to governments is that they do not expect those loans ever to be repaid. When Walter Wriston was chairman of the Citicorp Bank in 1982, he extolled the virtue of the action this way:

If we had a truth-in-Government act comparable to the truth-in-advertising law, every note issued by the Treasury would be obliged to include a sentence stating: "This note will be redeemed with the proceeds from an identical note which will be sold to the public when this one comes due."

When this activity is carried out in the United States, as it is weekly, it is described as a Treasury bill auction. But when basically the same process is conducted abroad in a foreign language, our news media usually speak of a country's "rolling over its debts." The perception remains that some form of disaster is inevitable. It is not.

To see why, it is only necessary to understand the basic facts of government borrowing. The first is that there are few recorded instances in history of government—any government—actually getting out of debt. Certainly in an era of $100-billion deficits, no one lending money to our Government by buying a Treasury bill expects that it will be paid at maturity in any way except by our Government's selling a new bill of like amount.


Since the system makes it profitable for banks to make large, unsound loans, that is the kind of loans which banks will make. Furthermore, it is predictable that most unsound loans eventually will go into default. When the borrower finally declares that he cannot pay, the bank responds by rolling over the loan. This often is stage managed to appear as a concession on the part of the bank but, in reality, it is a significant forward move toward the objective of perpetual interest.

Eventually the borrower comes to the point where he can no longer pay even the interest. Now the play becomes more complex. The bank does not want to lose the interest, because that is its stream of income. But it cannot afford to allow the borrower to go into default either, because that would require a write-off which, in turn, could wipe out the owners' equity and put the bank out of business. So the bank's next move is to create additional money out of nothing and lend that to the borrower so he will have enough to continue paying the interest, which by now must be paid on the original loan plus the additional loan as well. What looked like certain disaster suddenly is converted by a brilliant play into a major score. This not only maintains the old loan on the books as an asset, it actually increases the apparent size of that asset and also results in higher interest payments, thus, greater profit to the bank.


Sooner or later, the borrower becomes restless. He is not interested in making interest payments with nothing left for himself. He comes to realize that he is merely working for the bank and, once again, interest payments stop. The opposing teams go into a huddle to plan the next move, then rush to the scrimmage

1. "Banking Against Disaster/' by Walter B. Wriston, The New York Times, Septem ber 14,1982.

line where they hurl threatening innuendoes at each other. The borrower simply cannot, will not pay. Collect if you can. The lender threatens to blackball the borrower, to see to it that he will never again be able to obtain a loan. Finally, a "compromise" is worked out. As before, the bank agrees to create still more money out of nothing and lend that to the borrower to cover the interest on both of the previous loans but, this time, they up the ante to provide still additional money for the borrower to spend on something other than interest. That is a perfect score. The borrower suddenly has a fresh supply of money for his purposes plus enough to keep making those bothersome interest payments. The bank, on the other hand, now has still larger assets, higher interest income, and greater profits. What an exciting game!


The previous plays can be repeated several times until the reality finally dawns on the borrower that he is sinking deeper and deeper into the debt pit with no prospects of climbing out. This realization usually comes when the interest payments become so large they represent almost as much as the entire corporate earnings or the country's total tax base. This time around, roll-overs with larger loans are rejected, and default seems inevitable.

But wait. What's this? The players are back at the scrimmage line. There is a great confrontation. Referees are called in. Two shrill blasts from the horn tell us a score has been made for both sides. A voice over the public address system announces: "This loan has been rescheduled/'

Rescheduling usually means a combination of a lower interest rate and a longer period for repayment. The effect is primarily cosmetic. It reduces the monthly payment but extends the period further into the future. This makes the current burden to the borrower a little easier to carry, but it also makes repayment of the capital even more unlikely. It postpones the day of reckoning but, in the meantime, you guessed it: The loan remains as an asset, and the interest payments continue.


Eventually the day of reckoning arrives. The borrower realizes he can never repay the capital and flatly refuses to pay interest on it. It is time for the Final Maneuver.


According to the Banking Safety Digest, which specializes in rating the safety of America's banks and S&Ls, most of the banks involved with "problem loans" are quite profitable businesses:

Note that, except for third-world loans, most of the large banks in the country are operating quite profitably. In contrast with the continually-worsening S&L crisis, the banks' profitability has been the engine with which they have been working off (albeit slowly) their overseas debt… At last year's profitability levels, the banking industry could, in theory, "buy out" the entirety of their own Latin American loans within two years.

The banks can absorb the losses of their bad loans to multinational corporations and foreign governments, but that is not according to the rules. It would be a major loss to the stockholders who would receive little or no dividends during the adjustment period, and any chief executive officer who embarked upon such a course would soon be looking for a new job. That this is not part of the game plan is evident by the fact that, while a small portion of the Latin American debt has been absorbed, the banks are continuing to make gigantic loans to governments in other parts of the world, particularly Africa, Red China, and Eastern European nations. For reasons which will be analyzed in chapter four, there is little hope that the performance of these loans will be different than those in Latin America. But the most important reason for not absorbing the losses is that there is a standard play that can still breathe life back into those dead loans and reactivate the bountiful income stream that flows from them.

Here's how it works. The captains of both teams approach the referee and the Game Commissioner to request that the game be extended. The reason given is that this is in the interest of the public, the spectators who are having such a wonderful time and who will be sad to see the game ended. They request also that, while the spectators are in the stadium enjoying themselves, the parking-lot attendants be ordered to quietly remove the hub caps from every car. These can be sold to provide money for additional salaries for all the players, including the referee and, of course, the Commissioner himself. That is only fair since they are now

1- "Overseas Lending … Trigger for A Severe Depression?" The Banking Safety Digest (U.S. Business Publishing/Veribanc, Wakefield, Massachusetts), August, 1989, p. 3.

working overtime for the benefit of the spectators. When the deal is finally struck, the horn will blow three times, and a roar of joyous relief will sweep across the stadium.

In a somewhat less recognizable form, the same play may look like this: The president of the lending bank and the finance officer of the defaulting corporation or government will join together and approach Congress. They will explain that the borrower has exhausted his ability to service the loan and, without assistance from the federal government, there will be dire consequences for the American people. Not only will there be unemployment and hardship at home, there will be massive disruptions in world markets. And, since we are now so dependent on those markets, our exports will drop, foreign capital will dry up, and we will suffer greatly. What is needed, they will say, is for Congress to provide money to the borrower, either directly or indirectly, to allow him to continue to pay interest on the loan and to initiate new spending programs which will be so profitable he will soon be able to pay everyone back.

As part of the proposal, the borrower will agree to accept the direction of a third-party referee in adopting an austerity program to make sure that none of the new money is wasted. The bank also will agree to write off a small part of the loan as a gesture of its willingness to share the burden. This move, of course, will have been foreseen from the very beginning of the game, and is a small step backward to achieve a giant stride forward. After all, the amount to be lost through the write-off was created out of nothing in the first place and, without this Final Maneuver, the entirety would be written off. Furthermore, this modest write down is dwarfed by the amount to be gained through restoration of the income stream.


One of the standard variations of the Final Maneuver is for the government, not always to directly provide the funds, but to provide the credit for the funds. That means to guarantee future payments should the borrower again default. Once Congress agrees to this, the government becomes a co-signer to the loan, and the inevitable losses are finally lifted from the ledger of the bank and placed onto the backs of the American taxpayer.


Money now begins to move into the banks through a complex system of federal agencies, international agencies, foreign aid, and direct subsidies. All of these mechanisms extract payments from the American people and channel them to the deadbeat borrowers who then send them to the banks to service their loans. Very little of this money actually comes from taxes. Almost all of it is generated by the Federal Reserve System. When this newly created money returns to the banks, it quickly moves out again into the economy where it mingles with and dilutes the value of the money already there. The result is the appearance of rising prices but which, in reality, is a lowering of the value of the dollar.

The American people have no idea they are paying the bill. They know that someone is stealing their hub caps, but they think it is the greedy businessman who raises prices or the selfish laborer who demands higher wages or the unworthy farmer who demands too much for his crop or the wealthy foreigner who bids up our prices. They do not realize that these groups also are victimized by a monetary system which is constantly being eroded in value by and through the Federal Reserve System.

Public ignorance of how the game is really played was dramatically displayed during a recent Phil Donahue TV show. The topic was the Savings and Loan crisis and the billions of dollars that it would cost the taxpayer. A man from the audience rose and asked angrily: "Why can't the government pay for these debts instead of the taxpayer?" And the audience of several hundred people actually cheered in enthusiastic approval!


Since large, corporate loans are often guaranteed by the federal government, one would think that the banks which make those loans would never have a problem. Yet, many of them still manage to bungle themselves into insolvency. As we shall see in a later section of this study, insolvency actually is inherent in the system itself, a system called fractional-reserve banking.

Nevertheless, a bank can operate quite nicely in a state of insolvency so long as its customers don't know it. Money is brought into being and transmuted from one imaginary form to another by mere entries on a ledger, and creative bookkeeping can always make the bottom line appear to balance. The problem arises when depositors decide, for whatever reason, to withdraw their money. Lo and behold, there isn't enough to go around and, when that happens, the cat is finally out of the bag. The bank must close its doors, and the depositors still waiting in line outside are … well, just that: still waiting.

The proper solution to this problem is to require the banks, like all other businesses, to honor their contracts. If they tell their customers that deposits are "payable upon demand," then they should hold enough cash to make good on that promise, regardless of when the customers want it or how many of them want it. In other words, they should keep cash in the vault equal to 100% of their depositors' accounts. When we give our hat to the hat-check girl and obtain a receipt for it, we don't expect her to rent it out while we eat dinner hoping she'll get it back—or one just like it—in time for our departure. We expect all the hats to remain there all the time so there will be no question of getting ours back precisely when we want it.

On the other hand, if the bank tells us it is going to lend our deposit to others so we can earn a little interest on it, then it should also tell us forthrightly that we cannot have our money back on demand. Why not? Because it is loaned out and not in the vault any longer. Customers who earn interest on their accounts should be told that they have time deposits, not demand deposits, because the bank will need a stated amount of time before it will be able to recover the money which was loaned out.

None of this is difficult to understand, yet bank customers are seldom informed of it. They are told they can have their money any time they want it and they are paid interest as well. Even if they do not receive interest, the bank does, and this is how so many customer services can be offered at little or no direct cost. Occasionally, a thirty-day or sixty-day delay will be mentioned as a possibility, but that is greatly inadequate for deposits which have been transformed into ten, twenty, or thirty-year loans. The banks are simply playing the odds that everything will work out most of the time.

We shall examine this issue in greater detail in a later section but, for now, it is sufficient to know that total disclosure is not how the banking game is played. The Federal Reserve System has legalized and institutionalized the dishonesty of issuing more hat checks than there are hats and it has devised complex methods of disguising this practice as a perfectly proper and normal feature of banking. Students of finance are told that there simply is no other way for the system to function. Once that premise is accepted, then all attention can be focused, not on the inherent fraud, but on ways and means to live with it and make it as painless as possible.

Based on the assumption that only a small percentage of the depositors will ever want to withdraw their money at the same time, the Federal Reserve allows the nation's commercial banks to operate with an incredibly thin layer of cash to cover their promises to pay "on demand." When a bank runs out of money and is unable to keep that promise, the System then acts as a lender of last resort. That is banker language meaning it stands ready to create money out of nothing and immediately lend it to any bank in trouble. (Details on how that is accomplished are in chapter eight.) But there are practical limits to just how far that process can work. Even the Fed will not support a bank that has gotten itself so deeply in the hole it has no realistic chance of digging out. When a bank's bookkeeping assets finally become less than its liabilities, the rules of the game call for transferring the losses to the depositors themselves. This means they pay twice: once as taxpayers and again as depositors. The mechanism by which this is accomplished is called the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. THE FDIC PLAY

The FDIC guarantees that every insured deposit will be paid back regardless of the financial condition of the bank. The money to do this comes out of a special fund which is derived from assessments against participating banks. The banks, of course, do not pay this assessment. As with all other expenses, the bulk of the cost ultimately is passed on to their customers in the form of higher service fees and lower interest rates on deposits.

The FDIC is usually described as an insurance fund, but that is deceptive advertising at its worst. One of the primary conditions of insurance is that it must avoid what underwriters call "moral hazard/' That is a situation in which the policyholder has little incentive to avoid or prevent that which is being insured against When moral hazard is present, it is normal for people to become careless, and the likelihood increases that what is being insured against will actually happen. An example would be a government Program forcing everyone to pay an equal amount into a fund to Protect them from the expense of parking fines. One hesitates even

to mention this absurd proposition lest some enterprising politician should decide to put it on the ballot. Therefore, let us hasten to point out that, if such a numb-skull plan were adopted, two things would happen: (1) just about everyone soon would be getting parking tickets and (2), since there now would be so many of them, the taxes to pay for those tickets would greatly exceed the previous cost of paying them uritfwut the so-called protection.

The FDIC operates exactly in this fashion. Depositors are told their insured accounts are protected in the event their bank should become insolvent. To pay for this protection, each bank is assessed a specified percentage of its total deposits. That percentage is the same for all banks regardless of their previous record or how risky their loans. Under such conditions, it does not pay to be cautious. The banks making reckless loans earn a higher rate of interest than those making conservative loans. They also are far more likely to collect from the fund, yet they pay not one cent more. Conservative banks are penalized and gradually become motivated to make more risky loans to keep up with their competitors and to get their "fair share" of the fund's protection. Moral hazard, therefore, is built right into the system. As with protection against parking tickets, the FDIC increases the likelihood that what is being insured against will actually happen. It is not a solution to the problem, it is part of the problem.


A true deposit-insurance program which was totally voluntary and which geared its rates to the actual risks would be a blessing. Banks with solid loans on their books would be able to obtain protection for their depositors at reasonable rates, because the chances of the insurance company having to pay would be small. Banks with unsound loans, however, would have to pay much higher rates or possibly would not be able to obtain coverage at any price. Depositors, therefore, would know instantly, without need to investigate further, that a bank without insurance is not a place where they want to put their money. In order to attract deposits, banks would have to have insurance. In order to have insurance at rates they could afford, they would have to demonstrate to the insurance company that their financial affairs are in good order. Consequently, banks which failed to meet the minimum standards of sound business practice would soon have no customers and


would be forced out of business. A voluntary, private insurance program would act as a powerful regulator of the entire banking industry far more effectively and honestly than any political scheme ever could. Unfortunately, such is not the banking world of today.

The FDIC "protection" is not insurance in any sense of the word. It is merely part of a political scheme to bail out the most influential members of the banking cartel when they get into financial difficulty. As we have already seen, the first line of defense in this scheme is to have large, defaulted loans restored to life by a Congressional pledge of tax dollars. If that should fail and the bank can no longer conceal its insolvency through creative bookkeeping, it is almost certain that anxious depositors will soon line up to withdraw their money—which the bank does not have. The second line of defense, therefore, is to have the FDIC step in and make those payments for them.

Bankers, of course, do not want this to happen. It is a last resort. If the bank is rescued in this fashion, management is fired and what is left of the business usually is absorbed by another bank. Furthermore, the value of the stock will plummet, but this will affect the small stockholders only. Those with controlling interest and those in management know long in advance of the pending catastrophe and are able to sell the bulk of their shares while the price is still high. The people who create the problem seldom suffer the economic consequences of their actions.


The FDIC never will have enough money to cover its potential liability for the entire banking system. If that amount were in existence, it could be held by the banks themselves, and an insurance fund would not even be necessary. Instead, the FDIC operates on the same assumption as the banks: that only a small percentage will ever need money at the same time. So the amount held in reserve is never more than a few percentage points of the total liability. Typically, the FDIC holds about $1.20 for every $100 of covered deposits. At the time of this writing, however, that figure had slipped to only 70 cents and was still dropping. That means that the financial exposure is about 99.3% larger than the safety net which is supposed to catch it. The failure of just one or two large banks in the system could completely wipe out the entire fund.

And it gets even worse. Although the ledger may show that so many millions or billions are in the fund, that also is but creative bookkeeping. By law, the money collected from bank assessments must be invested in Treasury bonds, which means it is loaned to the government and spent immediately by Congress. In the final stage of this process, therefore, the FDIC itself runs out of money and turns, first to the Treasury, then to Congress for help. This step, of course, is an act of final desperation, but it is usually presented in the media as though it were a sign of the system's great strength. U.S. News & World Report blandly describes it this way: "Should the agencies need more money yet, Congress has pledged the full faith and credit of the federal government/' 1 Gosh, gee whiz. Isn't that wonderful? It sort of makes one feel rosy all over to know that the fund is so well secured.

Let's see what "full faith and credit of the federal government" actually means. Congress, already deeply in debt, has no money either. It doesn't dare openly raise taxes for the shortfall, so it applies for an additional loan by offering still more Treasury bonds for sale. The public picks up a portion of these I.O.U.s, and the Federal Reserve buys the rest. If there is a monetary crisis at hand and the size of the loan is great, the Fed will pick up the entire issue.

But the Fed has no money either. So it responds by creating out of nothing an amount of brand new money equal to the I.O.U.s and, through the magic of central banking, the FDIC is finally funded. This new money gushes into the banks where it is used to pay off the depositors. From there it floods through the economy diluting the value of all money and causing prices to rise. The old paycheck doesn't buy as much any more, so we learn to get along with a little bit less. But, see? The bank's doors are open again, and all the depositors are happy—until they return to their cars and discover the missing hub caps!

That is what is meant by "the full faith and credit of the federal government."

1. "How Safe Are Deposits in Ailing Banks, S&L's?" U.S. News & World Report, March 25,1985, p. 73.


Although national monetary events may appear mysterious and chaotic, they are governed by well-established rules which bankers and politicians rigidly follow. The central fact to understanding these events is that all the money in the banking system has been created out of nothing through the process of making loans. A defaulted loan, therefore, costs the bank little of tangible value, but it shows up on the ledger as a reduction in assets without a corresponding reduction in liabilities. If the bad loans exceed the size of the assets, the bank becomes technically insolvent and must close its doors. The first rule of survival, therefore, is to avoid writing off large, bad loans and, if possible, to at least continue receiving interest payments on them. To accomplish that, the endangered loans are rolled over and increased in size. This provides the borrower with money to continue paying interest plus fresh funds for new spending. The basic problem is not solved, but it is postponed for a little while and made worse.

The final solution on behalf of the banking cartel is to have the federal government guarantee payment of the loan should the borrower default in the future. This is accomplished by convincing Congress that not to do so would result in great damage to the economy and hardship for the people. From that point forward, the burden of the loan is removed from the bank's ledger and transferred to the taxpayer. Should this effort fail and the bank be forced into insolvency, the last resort is to use the FDIC to pay off the depositors. The FDIC is not insurance, because the presence of "moral hazard" makes the thing it supposedly protects against more likely to happen. A portion of the FDIC funds are derived from assessments against the banks. Ultimately, however, they are paid by the depositors themselves. When these funds run out, the balance is provided by the Federal Reserve System in the form of freshly created new money. This floods through the economy causing the appearance of rising prices but which, in reality, is the lowering of the value of the dollar. The final cost of the bailout, therefore, is passed to the public in the form of a hidden tax called inflation.

So much for the rules of the game. In the next chapter we shall look at the scorecard of the actual play itself.

Chapter Three


The Game-Called-Bailout as it actually has been applied to specific cases including Venn Central, Lockheed, New York City, Chrysler, Commonwealth Bank of Detroit, First Pennsylvania Bank, Continental Illinois, and others.

In the previous chapter, we offered the whimsical analogy of a sporting event to clarify the maneuvers of monetary and political scientists to bail out those commercial banks which comprise the Federal-Reserve cartel. The danger in such an approach is that it could leave the impression the topic is frivolous. So, let us abandon the analogy and turn to reality. Now that we have studied the hypothetical rules of the game, it is time to check the scorecard of the actual play itself, and it will become obvious that this is no trivial matter. A good place to start is with the rescue of a consortium of banks which were holding the endangered loans of Penn Central Railroad.


Penn Central was the nation's largest railroad with 96,000 employees and a payroll of $20 million a week. In 1970, it also became the nation's biggest bankruptcy. It was deeply in debt to just about every bank that was willing to lend it money, and that list included Chase Manhattan, Morgan Guaranty, Manufacturers Hanover, First National City, Chemical Bank, and Continental Illinois. Officers of the largest of those banks had been appointed to Penn Central's board of directors as a condition for obtaining funds, and they gradually had acquired control over the railroad's management The banks also held large blocks of Penn Central stock in their trust departments.

The arrangement was convenient in many ways, not the least of which was that the bankers sitting on the board of directors were privy to information, long before the public received it, which would affect the market price of Perm Central's stock. Chris Welles, in The Last Days of the Club, describes what happened:

On May 21, a month before the railroad went under, David Bevan, Penn Central's chief financial officer, privately informed representatives of the company's banking creditors that its financial condition was so weak it would have to postpone an attempt to raise $100 million in desperately needed operating funds through a bond issue. Instead, said Bevan, the railroad would seek some kind of government loan guarantee. In other words, unless the railroad could manage a federal bailout, it would have to close down. The following day, Chase Manhattan's trust department sold 134,300 shares of its Penn Central holdings. Before May 28, when the public was informed of the postponement of the bond issue, Chase sold another 128,000 shares. David Rockefeller, the bank's chairman, vigorously denied Chase had acted on the basis of inside information.

More to the point of this study is the fact that virtually all of the major management decisions which led to Penn Central's demise were made by or with the concurrence of its board of directors, which is to say, by the banks that provided the loans. In other words, the bankers were not in trouble because of Penn Central's poor management, they were Penn Central's poor management. An investigation conducted in 1972 by Congressman Wright Patman, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, revealed the following: The banks provided large loans for disastrous expansion and diversification projects. They loaned additional millions to the railroad so it could pay dividends to its stockholders. This created the false appearance of prosperity and artificially inflated the market price of its stock long enough to dump it on the unsuspecting public. Thus, the banker-managers were able to engineer a three-way bonanza for themselves. They (1) received dividends on essentially worthless stock, (2) earned interest on the loans which provided the money to pay those dividends, and (3) were able to unload 1.8 million shares of stock— after the dividends, of course—at unrealistically high prices. Reports from the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that the company's top executives had disposed of their stock in this fashion at a personal savings of more than $1 million.

Had the railroad been allowed to go into bankruptcy at that point and been forced to sell off its assets, the bankers still would have been protected. In any liquidation, debtors are paid off first, stockholders last; so the manipulators had dumped most of their stock while prices were relatively high. That is a common practice among corporate raiders who use borrowed funds to seize control of a company, bleed off its assets to other enterprises which they abo control, and then toss the debt-ridden, dying carcass upon the remaining stockholders or, in this case, the taxpayers.


In his letter of transmittal accompanying the staff report, Congressman Patman provided this summary:

It was as though everyone was a part of a close knit club in which Penn Central and its officers could obtain, with very few questions asked, loans for almost everything they desired both for the company and for their own personal interests, where the bankers sitting on the Board asked practically no questions as to what was going on, simply allowing management to destroy the company, to invest in questionable activities, and to engage in some cases in illegal activities. These banks in return obtained most of the company's lucrative banking business. The attitude of everyone seemed to be, while the game was going on, that all these dealings were of benefit to every member of the club, and the railroad and the public be damned.

The banking cartel, commonly called the Federal Reserve System, was created for exactly this kind of bailout. Arthur Burns, who was the Fed's chairman, would have preferred to provide a direct infusion of newly created money, but that was contrary to the rules at that time. In his own words: "Everything fell through. We couldn't lend it to them ourselves under the law…. I worked on this thing in other ways."^

The company's cash crisis came to a head over a weekend and, in order to avoid having the corporation forced to file for bankruptcy on Monday morning, Burns called the homes of the heads of the Federal Reserve banks around the country and told them to get

1. Chris Welles, The Last Days of the Club (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1975), pp. 398-99. 2 "Penn Central/' 1971 Congressional Quarterly Almanac (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1971), p. 838.

1 "Penn Central: Bankruptcy Filed After Loan Bill Fails/' 1970 Congressional Quarterly Almanac (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1970), p. 811.

2 Quoted by Welles, pp. 404-05.

3 Quoted by Welles, p. 407.

the word out immediately that the System was anxious to help. On Sunday, William Treiber, who was the first vice-president of the New York branch of the Fed, contacted the chief executives of the ten largest banks in New York and told them that the Fed's Discount Window would be wide open the next morning. Translated, that means the Federal Reserve System was prepared to create money out of nothing and then immediately loan it to the commercial banks so they, in turn, could multiply and re-lend it to Perm Central and other corporations, such as Chrysler, which were in similar straits. Furthermore, the rates at which the Fed would make these funds available would be low enough to compensate for the risk, ^peaking of what transpired on the following Monday, Burns boasted: "I kept the Board in session practically all day to change regulation Q so that money could flow into CDs at the banks." Looking back at the event, Chris Welles approvingly describes it as "what is by common consent the Fed's finest hour."

Finest hour or not, the banks were not that interested in the proposition unless they could be assured the taxpayer would co-sign the loans and guarantee payment. So the action inevitably shifted back to Congress. Perm Central's executives, bankers, and union representatives came in droves to explain how the railroad's continued existence was in the best interest of the public, of the working man, of the economic system itself. The Navy Department spoke of protecting the nation's "defense resources." Congress, of course, could not callously ignore these pressing needs of the nation. It responded by ordering a retroactive, 13 Vi per cent pay raise for all union employees. After having added that burden to the railroad's cash drain and putting it even deeper into the hole, it then passed the Emergency Rail Services Act of 1970 authorizing $125 million in federal loan guarantees.

None of this, of course, solved the basic problem, nor was it really intended to. Almost everyone knew that, eventually, the railroad would be "nationalized," which is a euphemism for becoming a black hole into which tax dollars disappear. This came

1. For an explanation of the multiplier effect, see chapter eight, The Mandrake Mechanism.

2. Welles, pp. 407-08.

3. "Congress Clears Railroad Aid Bill, Acts on Strike," 1970 Congressional Almanac (Washington, DC: 1970), pp. 810-16.


to pass with the creation of AMTRAK in 1971 and CONRAIL in 1973- AMTRAK took over the passenger services of Perm Central, an d CONRAIL assumed operation of its freight services, along with five other Eastern railroads. CONRAIL technically is a private corporation. When it was created, however, 85% of its stock was held by the government. The remainder was held by employees. Fortunately, the government's stock was sold in a public offering in 1987. AMTRAK continues under political control and operates at a loss. It is sustained by government subsidies—which is to say by taxpayers. In 1997, Congress dutifully gave it another $5.7 billion and by 1998, liabilities exceeded assets by an estimated $14 billion. CONRAIL, on the other hand, since it was returned to the private sector, has experienced an impressive turnaround and has been running at a profit—paying taxes instead of consuming them.


In that same year, 1970, the Lockheed Corporation, which was the nation's largest defense contractor, was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. The Bank of America and several smaller banks had loaned $400 million to the Goliath and they were not anxious to lose the bountiful interest-income stream that flowed from that; nor did they wish to see such a large bookkeeping asset disappear from their ledgers. In due course, the banks joined forces with Lockheed's management, stockholders, and labor unions, and the group descended on Washington. Sympathetic politicians were told that, if Lockheed were allowed to fail, 31,000 jobs would be lost, hundreds of sub contractors would go down, thousands of suppliers would be forced into bankruptcy, and national security would be seriously jeopardized. What the company needed was to borrow more money and lots of it. But, because of its current financial predicament, no one was willing to lend. The answer? In the interest of protecting the economy and defending the nation, the government simply had to provide either the money or the credit.

A bailout plan was quickly engineered by Treasury Secretary John B. Connally which provided the credit. The government agreed to guarantee payment on an additional $250 million in loans—an amount which would put Lockheed 60% deeper into the debt hole than it had been before. But that made no difference now. Unce the taxpayer had been made a co-signer to the account, the banks had no qualms about advancing the funds.


The not-so-obvious part of this story is that the government now had a powerful motivation to make sure Lockheed would be awarded as many defense contracts as possible and that those contracts would be as profitable as possible. This would be an indirect method of paying off the banks with tax dollars, but doing so in such a way as not to arouse public indignation. Other defense contractors which had operated more efficiently would lose business, but that could not be proven. Furthermore, a slight increase in defenses expenditures would hardly be noticed.

By 1977, Lockheed had, indeed, paid back this loan, and that fact was widely advertised as proof of the wisdom and skill of all the players, including the referee and the game commissioner. A deeper analysis, however, must include two facts. First, there is no evidence that Lockheed's operation became more cost efficient during these years. Second, every bit of the money used to pay back the loans came from defense contracts which were awarded by the same government which was guaranteeing those loans. Under such an arrangement, it makes little difference if the loans were paid back or not. Taxpayers were doomed to pay the bill either way.


Although the government of New York City is not a corpora-tion in the usual sense, it functions as one in many respects, particularly regarding debt

In 1975, New York had reached the end of its credit rope and was unable even to make payroll. The cause was not mysterious. New York had long been a welfare state within itself, and success in city politics was traditionally achieved by lavish promises of benefits and subsidies for "the poor." Not surprisingly, the city also was notorious for political corruption and bureaucratic fraud. Whereas the average large city employed thirty-one people per one-thousand residents, New York had forty nine. That's an excess of fifty-eight per cent. The salaries of these employees far outstripped those in private industry. While an X-ray technician in a private hospital earned $187 per week, a porter working for the city earned $203. The average bank teller earned $154 per week, but a change maker on the city subway received $212. And municipal fringe benefits were fully twice as generous as those in private industry within the state. On top of this mountainous overhead

were heaped additional costs for free college educations, subsidized housing, free medical care, and endless varieties of welfare programs.

City taxes were greatly inadequate to cover the cost of this utopia- Even after transfer payments from Albany and Washington added state and federal taxes to the take, the outflow continued to exceed the inflow. There were now only three options: increase city taxes, reduce expenses, or go into debt. The choice was never in serious doubt. By 1975, New York had floated so many bonds it had saturated the market and could find no more lenders. Two billion dollars of this debt was held by a small group of banks, dominated by Chase Manhattan and Citicorp.

When the payment of interest on these loans finally came to a halt, it was time for serious action. The bankers and the city fathers traveled down the coast to Washington and put their case before Congress. The largest city in the world could not be allowed to go bankrupt, they said. Essential services would be halted and millions of people would be without garbage removal, without transportation, even without police protection. Starvation, disease, and crime would run rampant through the city. It would be a disgrace to America. David Rockefeller at Chase Manhattan persuaded his friend Helmut Schmidt, Chancellor of West Germany, to make a statement to the media that the disastrous situation in New York could trigger an international financial crisis.

Congress, understandably, did not want to turn New York into a zone of anarchy, nor to disgrace America, nor to trigger a world-wide financial panic. So, in December of 1975, it passed a bill authorizing the Treasury to make direct loans to the city up to $2.3 billion, an amount which would more than double the size of its current debt to the banks. Interest payments on the old debt resumed immediately. All of this money, of course, would first have to be borrowed by Congress which was, itself, deeply in debt. And most of it would be created, directly or indirectly, by the Federal Reserve System. That money would be taken from the taxpayer through the loss of purchasing power called inflation, but at least the banks could be repaid, which is the object of the game.

There were several restrictions attached to this loan, including ^ austerity program and a systematic repayment schedule. None °f these conditions was honored. New York City has continued to be a welfare utopia, and it is unlikely that it will ever get out of debt.



By 1978, the Chrysler Corporation was on the verge of bankruptcy. It had rolled over its debt to the banks many times, and the game was nearing an end. In spite of an OPEC oil embargo which had pushed up the cost of gasoline and in spite of the increasing popularity of small-automobile imports, the company had continued to build the traditional gas hog. It was now saddled with a mammoth inventory of unsaleable cars and with a staggering debt which it had acquired to build those cars.

The timing was doubly bad. America was also experiencing high interest rates which, coupled with fears of U.S. military involvement in Cambodia, had led to a slump in the stock market. Banks felt the credit crunch keenly and, in one of those rare instances in modern history, the money makers themselves were scouring for money.

Chrysler needed additional cash to stay in business. It was not interested in borrowing just enough to pay the interest on its existing loans. To make the game worth playing, it wanted over a billion dollars in new capital. But, in the prevailing economic environment, the banks were hard pressed to create anything close to that kind of money.

Managers, bankers, and union leaders found common cause in Washington. If one of the largest corporations in America was allowed to fold, think of the hardship to thousands of employees and their families; consider the damage to the economy as shock waves of unemployment move across the country; tremble at the thought of lost competition in the automobile market, of only two major brands from which to choose instead of three.

Well, could anyone blame Congress for not wanting to plunge innocent families into poverty nor to upend the national economy nor to deny anyone their Constitutional right to freedom-of-choice? So a bill was passed directing the Treasury to guarantee up to $1.5 billion in new loans to Chrysler. The banks agreed to write down $600 million of their old loans and to exchange an additional $700 million for preferred stock. Both of these moves were advertised as evidence the banks were taking a terrible loss but were willing to yield in order to save the nation. It should be noted, however, that the value of the stock which was exchanged for previously uncol-lectable debt rose drastically after the settlement was announced to

the public. Furthermore, not only did interest payments resume on the balance of the old loans, but the banks now replaced the written down portion with fresh loans, and these were far superior in quality because they were fully guaranteed by the taxpayers. So valuable was this guarantee that Chrysler, in spite of its previously poor debt performance, was able to obtain loans at 10.35% interest while its more solvent competitor, Ford, had to pay 13.5%. Applying; the difference of 3.15% to one and-a-half billion dollars, with a declining balance continuing for only six years, produces a savings in excess of $165 million. That is a modest estimate of the size of the federal subsidy. The real value was far greater because, without it, ihe corporation would have ceased to exist, and the banks would have taken a loss of almost their entire loan exposure.


It will be recalled from the previous chapter that the FDIC is not a true insurance program and, because it has been politicized, it embodies the principle of moral hazard and it actually increases the likelihood that bank failures will occur.

The FDIC has three options when bailing out an insolvent bank. The first is called a payoff. It involves simply paying off the insured depositors and then letting the bank fall to the mercy of the liquidators. This is the option usually chosen for small banks with no political clout The second possibility is called a sell off, and it involves making arrangements for a larger bank to assume all the real assets and liabilities of the failing bank. Banking services are uninterrupted and, aside from a change in name, most customers are unaware of the transaction. This option is generally selected for small and medium banks. In both a payoff and a sell off, the FDIC takes over the bad loans of the failed bank and supplies the money to pay back the insured depositors.

The third option is called bailout, and this is the one which deserves our special attention. Irvine Sprague, a former director of the FDIC, explains: "In a bailout, the bank does not close, and everyone—insured or not—is fully protected…. Such privileged treatment is accorded by FDIC only rarely to an elect few/' 1

That's right, he said everyone—insured or not —is fully protected. The banks which comprise the elect few generally are the

1- Irvine H. Sprague, Bailout: An Insider's Account of Bank Failures and Rescues (New York: Basic Books, 1986), p, 23.


large ones. It is only when the number of dollars at risk becomes mind numbing that a bailout can be camouflaged as protection of the public. Sprague says:

The FDI Act gives the FDIC board sole discretion to prevent a bank from failing, at whatever cost. The board need only make the finding that the insured bank is in danger of failing and "is essential to provide adequate banking service in its community..".. FDIC boards have been reluctant to make an essentiality finding unless they perceive a clear and present danger to the nation's financial system.

Favoritism toward the large banks is obvious at many levels. One of them is the fact that, in a bailout, the FDIC covers all deposits, whether insured or not. That is significant, because the banks pay an assessment based only on their insured deposits. So, if un insured deposits are covered also, that coverage is free—more precisely, paid by someone else. What deposits are tminsured? Those in excess of $100,000 and those held outside the United States. Which banks hold the vast majority of such deposits? The large ones, of course, particularly those with extensive overseas operations. The bottom line is that the large banks get a whopping free ride when they are bailed out. Their uninsured accounts are paid by FDIC, and the cost of that benefit is passed to the smaller banks and to the taxpayer. This is not an oversight. Part of the plan at Jekyll Island was to give a competitive edge to the large banks.


The first application of the FDIC essentiality rule was, in fact, an exception. In 1971, Unity Bank and Trust Company in the Roxbury section of Boston found itself hopelessly insolvent, and the federal agency moved in. This is what was found: Unity's capital was depleted; most of its loans were bad; its loan collection practices were weak; and its personnel represented the worst of two worlds: overstaffing and inexperience. The examiners reported that there were two persons for every job, and neither one had been taught the job.

With only $11.4 million on its books, the bank was small by current standards. Normally, the depositors would have been paid back, and the stockholders—like the owners of any other failed

business venture—would have lost their investment. As Sprague, himself, admitted: "If market discipline means anything, stockholders should be wiped out when a bank fails. Our assistance would nave the side effect … of keeping the stockholders alive at government expense." But Unity Bank was different. It was located in a black neighborhood and was minority owned. As is often the case when government agencies are given discretionary powers, decisions are determined more by political pressures than by logic or merit, and Unity was a perfect example. In 1971, the specter of rioting in black communities still haunted the halls of Congress. Would the FDIC allow this bank to fail and assume the awesome responsibility for new riots and bloodshed? Sprague answers:

Neither Wille [another director] nor I had any trouble viewing the problem in its broader social context. We were willing to look for a creative solution…. My vote to make the "essentiality" finding and thus save the little bank was probably foreordained, an inevitable legacy of Watts…. The Watts riots ultimately triggered the essentiality doctrine.

On July 22, 1971, the FDIC declared that the continued operation of Unity Bank was, indeed, essential and authorized a direct infusion of $1.5 million. Although appearing on the agency's ledger as a loan, no one really expected repayment. In 1976, in spite of the FDIC's own staff report that the bank's operations continued "as slipshod and haphazard as ever/' the agency rolled over the "loan" for another five years. Operations did not improve and, on June 30, 1982, the Massachusetts Banking Commissioner finally revoked Unity's charter. There were no riots in the streets, and the FDIC quietly wrote off the sum of $4,463,000 as the final cost of the bailout.


The bailout of the Unity Bank of Boston was the exception to the rule that small banks are dispensable while the giants must be saved at all costs. From that point forward, however, the FDIC game plan was strictly according to Hoyle. The next bailout occurred in 1972 involving the $1.5 billion Bank of the Common-Wealth of Detroit. Commonwealth had funded most of its

1. Sprague, pp. 27-29.

2. The Bank of America is the exception. Despite its size, it has not acquired foreign deposits to the same degree as its competitors.

I' Sprague, pp. 41^2. 2 — #"*., p. 48.


phenomenal growth through loans from another bank, Chase Manhattan in New York. When Commonwealth went belly up, largely due to securities speculation and self dealing on the part of its management, Chase seized 39% of its common stock and actually took control of the bank in an attempt to find a way to get its money back. FDIC director Sprague describes the inevitable sequel:

Chase officers … suggested that Commonwealth was a public interest problem that the government agencies should resolve. That unsubtle hint was the way Chase phrased its request for a bailout by the government…. Their proposal would come down to bailing out the shareholders, the Largest of which was Chase.

The bankers argued that Commonwealth must not be allowed to fold because it provided "essential" banking services to the community. That was justified on two counts: (1) it served many minority neighborhoods and, (2) there were not enough other banks in the city to absorb its operation without creating an unhealthy concentration of banking power in the hands of a few. It was unclear what the minority issue had to do with it inasmuch as every neighborhood in which Commonwealth had a branch was served by other banks as well. Furthermore, if Commonwealth were to be liquidated, many of those branches undoubtedly would have been purchased by competitors, and service to the communities would have continued. Judging by the absence of attention given to this issue during discussions, it is apparent that it was merely thrown in for good measure, and no one took it very seriously.

In any event, the FDIC did not want to be accused of being indifferent to the needs of Detroit's minorities and it certainly did not want to be a destroyer of free-enterprise competition. So, on January 17,1972, Commonwealth was bailed out with a $60 million loan plus numerous federal guarantees. Chase absorbed some losses, primarily as a result of Commonwealth's weak bond portfolio, but those were minor compared to what would have been lost without FDIC intervention.

Since continuation of the bank was necessary to prevent concentration of financial power, FDIC engineered its sale to the First Arabian Corporation, a Luxembourg firm funded by Saudi

1. Sprague, p. 68.

princes. Better to have financial power concentrated in Saudi Arabia than in Detroit. The bank continued to flounder and, in 1983, what was left of it was resold to the former Detroit Bank & Trust Company, now called Comerica. Thus the dreaded concentration of local power was realized after all, but not until Chase Manhattan was able to walk away from the deal with most of its losses covered.


The 1980 bailout of the First Pennsylvania Bank of Philadelphia was next. First Perm was the nation's twenty-third largest bank with assets in excess of $9 billion. It was six times the size of Commonwealth; nine hundred times larger than Unity. It was also the nation's oldest bank, dating back to the Bank of North America which was created by the Continental Congress in 1781.

The bank had experienced rapid growth and handsome profits largely due to the aggressive leadership of its chief executive officer, John Bunting, who had previously been an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Bunting was the epitome of the era's go-go bankers. He vastly increased earnings ratios by reducing safety margins, taking on risky loans, and speculating in the bond market. As long as the economy expanded, these gambles were profitable, and the stockholders loved him dearly. When his gamble in the bond market turned sour, however, the bank plunged into a negative cash flow. By 1979, First Perm was forced to sell off several of its profitable subsidiaries in order to obtain operating funds, and it was carrying $328 million in questionable loans. That was $16 million more than the entire stockholder investment. The bank was insolvent, and the time had arrived to hit up the taxpayer for the loss.

The bankers went to Washington and presented their case. Fhey were joined by spokesmen from the nation's top three: Bank of America, Citibank, and of course the ever-present Chase Manhattan. They argued that, not only was the bailout of First Penn

essential" for the continuation of banking services in Philadelphia,

rt was also critical to the preservation of world economic stability.

£ bank was so large, they said, if it were allowed to fall, it would

^ct as the first domino leading to an international financial crisis. At

r sfr, the directors of the FDIC resisted that theory and earned the ^gry impatience of the Federal Reserve. Sprague recalls:


We were far from a decision on how to proceed. There was strong pressure from the beginning not to let the bank fail. Besides hearing from the bank itself, the other large banks, and the comptroller, we heard frequently from the Fed. I recall at one session, Fred Schultz, the Fed deputy chairman, argued in an ever rising voice, that there were no alternatives—we had to save the bank. He said, "Quit wasting time talking about anything else!''…

The Fed's role as lender of last resort first generated contention between the Fed and FDIC during this period. The Fed was lending heavily to First Pennsylvania, fully secured, and Fed Chairman Paul Volcker said he planned to continue funding indefinitely until we could work out a merger or a bailout to save the bank.

The directors of the FDIC did not want to cross swords with the Federal Reserve System, and they most assuredly did not want to be blamed for tumbling the entire world economic system by allowing the first domino to fall. "The theory had never been tested/ 7 said Sprague. "I was not sure I wanted it to be just then." So, in due course, a bailout package was put together which featured a $325 million loan from FDIC, interest free for the first year and at a subsidized rate thereafter; about half the market rate. Several other banks which were financially tied to First Penn, and which would have suffered great losses if it had folded, loaned an additional $175 million and offered a $1 billion line of credit FDIC insisted on this move to demonstrate that the banking industry itself was helping and that it had faith in the venture. To bolster that faith, the Federal Reserve opened its Discount Window offering low-interest funds for that purpose.

The outcome of this particular bailout was somewhat happier than with the others, at least as far as the bank is concerned. At the end of the five-year taxpayer subsidy, the FDIC loan was fully repaid. The bank has remained on shaky ground, however, and the final page of this episode has not yet been written.


Everything up to this point was but mere practice for the big event which was yet to come. In the early 1980s, Chicago's Continental Illinois was the nation's seventh largest bank. With assets of $42 billion and with 12,000 employees working in offices

1. Sprague, pp. 88-89.

2. Ibid., p. 89.

in almost every major country in the world, its loan portfolio had undergone spectacular growth. Its net income on loans had literally doubled in just five years and by 1981 had rocketed to an annual figure of $254 million. It had become the darling of the market analysts and even had been named by Dun's Review as one of the five best managed companies in the country. These opinion leaders failed to perceive that the spectacular performance was due, not to an expertise in banking or investment, but to the financing of shaky business enterprises and foreign governments which could not obtain loans anywhere else. But the public didn't know that and wanted in on the action. For awhile, the bank's common stock actually sold at a premium over others which were more prudently managed.

The gaudy fabric began to unravel during the Fourth of July weekend of 1982 with the failure of the Perm Square Bank in Oklahoma. That was the notorious shopping-center bank that had booked a billion dollars in oil and gas loans and resold them to Continental just before the collapse of the energy market Other loans also began to sour at the same time. The Mexican and Argentine debt crisis was coming to a head, and a series of major corporate bankruptcies were receiving almost daily headlines. Continental had placed large chunks of its easy money with all of them. When these events caused the bank's credit rating to drop, cautious depositors began to withdraw their funds, and new funding dwindled to a trickle. The bank became desperate for cash to meet its daily expenses. In an effort to attract new money, it began to offer unrealistically high rates of interest on its CDs. Loan officers were sent to scour the European and Japanese markets and to conduct a public relations campaign aimed at convincing market managers that the bank was calm and steady. David Taylor, the bank's chairman at that time, said: "We had the Continental Illinois Reassurance Brigade and we fanned out all over the world." 1

In the fantasy land of modern finance, glitter is often more important than substance, image more valuable than reality. The bank paid the usual quarterly dividend in August, in spite of the feet that this intensified its cash crunch. As with the Perm Central Railroad twelve years earlier, that move was calculated to project a ^ image of business-as-usual prosperity. And the ploy worked—

?' Quoted by Chernow, p. 657.

for a while, at least. By November, the public's confidence had been restored, and the bank's stock recovered to its pre-Penn Square level. By March of 1983, it had risen even higher. But the worst was yet to come.

By the end of 1983, the bank's burden of non-performing loans had reached unbearable proportions and was growing at an alarming rate. By 1984, it was $2.7 billion. That same year, the bank sold off its profitable credit-card operation to make up for the loss of income and to obtain money for paying stockholders their expected quarterly dividend. The internal structure was near collapse, but the external facade continued to look like business as usual.

The first crack in that facade appeared at 11:39 A.M. On Tuesday, May 8, Reuters, the British news agency, moved a story on its wire service stating that banks in the Netherlands, West Germany, Switzerland, and Japan had increased their interest rate on loans to Continental and that some of them had begun to withdraw their funds. The story also quoted the bank's official statement that rumors of pending bankruptcy were "totally preposterous." Within hours, another wire, the Commodity News Service, reported a second rumor: that a Japanese bank was interested in buying Continental.


As the sun rose the following morning, foreign investors began to withdraw their deposits. A billion dollars in Asian money moved out that first day* The next day—a little more than twenty-four hours following Continental's assurance that bankruptcy was totally preposterous, its long-standing customer, the Board of Trade Clearing Corporation, located just down the street—withdrew $50 million. Word of the defection spread through the financial wire services, and the panic was on. It became the world's first global electronic bank run.

By Friday, the bank had been forced to borrow $3.6 billion from the Federal Reserve in order to cover its escaping deposits. A consortium of sixteen banks, lead by Morgan Guaranty, offered a generous thirty-day line of credit, but all of this was far short of the need. Within seven more days, the outflow surged to over $6 billion.


In the beginning, almost all of this action was at the institutional level: other banks and professionally managed funds which closely monitor every minuscule detail of the financial markets. The general public had no inkling of the catastrophe, even as it unfolded. Chernow says: "The Continental run was like some rnodernistic fantasy: there were no throngs of hysterical depositors, just cool nightmare flashes on computer screens." Sprague writes: "Inside the bank, all was calm, the teller lines moved as always, and bank officials recall no visible sign of trouble—except in the wire room- Here the employees knew what was happening as withdrawal order after order moved on the wire, bleeding Continental to death. Some cried."

This was the golden moment for which the Federal Reserve and the FDIC were created. Without government intervention, Continental would have collapsed, its stockholders would have been wiped out, depositors would have been badly damaged, and the financial world would have learned that banks, not only have to talk about prudent management, they actually have to adopt it. Future banking practices would have been severely altered, and the long-term economic benefit to the nation would have been enormous. But with government intervention, the discipline of a free market is suspended, and the cost of failure or fraud is politically passed to the taxpayers. Depositors continue to live in a dream world of false security, and banks can operate recklessly and fraudulently with the knowledge that their political partners in government will come to their rescue when they get into trouble.


One of the challenges at Continental was that, while only four per cent of its liability was covered by FDIC "insurance," the regulators felt compelled to cover the entire exposure. Which means that the bank paid insurance premiums into the fund based on only four per cent of its total coverage, and the taxpayers now would pick up the other ninety-six per cent. FDIC director Sprague explains:

Although Continental Illinois had over $30 billion in deposits, 90 percent were uninsured foreign deposits or large certificates substantially exceeding the $100,000 insurance limit. Off-book

1 Chernow, p. 658,

2 Sprague, p. 153.


liabilities swelled Continental's real size to $69 billion. In this massive liability structure only some $3 billion within the insured limit was scattered among 850,000 deposit accounts. So it was in our power and entirely legal simply to pay off the insured depositors, let everything else collapse, and stand back to watch the carnage.

That course was never seriously considered by any of the players. From the beginning, there were only two questions: how to come to Continental's rescue by covering its total liabilities and, equally important, how to politically justify such a fleecing of the taxpayer. As pointed out in the previous chapter, the rules of the game require that the scam must always be described as a heroic effort to protect the public. In the case of Continental, the sheer size of the numbers made the ploy relatively easy. There were so many depositors involved, so many billions at risk, so many other banks interlocked, it could be claimed that the economic fabric of the entire nation—of the world itself—was at stake. And who could say that it was not so. Sprague argues the case in familiar terms:

An early morning meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, May 15, at the Fed…. We talked over the alternatives. They were few—none really…. [Treasury Secretary] Regan and [Fed Chairman] Volcker raised the familiar concern about a national banking collapse, that is, a chain reaction if Continental should fail. Volcker was worried about an international crisis. We all were acutely aware that never before had a bank even remotely approaching Continentars size closed. No one knew what might happen in the nation and in the world. It was no time to find out just for the purpose of intellectual curiosity.


The bailout was predictable from the start. There would be some preliminary lip service given to the necessity of allowing the banks themselves to work out their own problem. That would be followed by a plan to have the banks and the government share the burden. And that finally would collapse into a mere public-relations illusion. In the end, almost the entire cost of the bailout would be assumed by the government and passed on to the taxpayer.

At the May 15 meeting, Treasury Secretary Regan spoke eloquently about the value of a free market and the necessity of having the banks mount their own rescue plan, at least for a part of

the money. To work out that plan, a summit meeting was arranged the next morning among the chairmen of the seven largest banks: Morgan Guaranty, Chase Manhattan, Citibank, Bank of America, Chemical Bank, Bankers Trust, and Manufacturers Hanover. The meeting was perfunctory at best. The bankers knew full well that the Reagan Administration would not risk the political embarrassment of a major bank failure. That would make the President and the Congress look bad at re-election time. But, still, some kind of tokenism was called for to preserve the Administration's conservative image. So, with urging from the Fed and the Treasury, the consortium agreed to put up the sum of $500 million—an average of only $71 million for each, far short of the actual need. Chernow describes the plan as "make-believe" and says "they pretended to mount a rescue." Sprague supplies the details:

The bankers said they wanted to be in on any deal, but they did not want to lose any money. They kept asking for guarantees. They wanted it to look as though they were putting money in but, at the same time, wanted to be absolutely sure they were not risking anything…. By 7:30 A.M. we had made little progress. We were certain the situation would be totally out of control in a few hours. Continental would soon be exposing itself to a new business day, and the stock market would open at ten o'clock. Isaac [another FDIC director] and I held a hallway conversation. We agreed to go ahead without the banks. We told Conover [the third FDIC director] the plan and he concurred….

[Later], we got word from Bernie McKeon, our regional director in New York, that the bankers had agreed to be at risk. Actually, the risk was remote since our announcement had promised 100 percent insurance.

The final bailout package was a whopper. Basically, the government took over Continental Illinois and assumed all of its losses. Specifically, the FDIC took $4.5 billion in bad loans and paid Continental $3-5 billion for them. The difference was then made up b y the infusion of $1 billion in fresh capital in the form of stock Purchase. The bank, therefore, now had the federal government as a stockholder controlling 80 per cent of its shares, and its bad loans had been dumped onto the taxpayer. In effect, even though

1. Sprague, p. 184.

2. Ibid., pp. 154-55,183.

*■ Chernow, p. 659. 2 — Sprague, pp. 159-60.


Continental retained the appearance of a private institution, it had been nationalized.


Perhaps the most important part of the bailout, however, was that the money to make it possible was created—directly or indirectly—by the Federal Reserve System. If the bank had been allowed to fail, and the FDIC had been required to cover the losses, the drain would have emptied the entire fund with nothing left to cover the liabilities of thousands of other banks. In other words, this one failure alone, if it were allowed to happen, would have wiped out the entire FDIC! That's one reason the bank had to be kept operating, losses or no losses, and that's why the Fed had to be involved in the bail out In fact, that was precisely the reason the System was created at Jekyll Island: to manufacture whatever amount of money might be necessary to cover the losses of the cartel. The scam could never work unless the Fed was able to create money out of nothing and pump it into the banks along with "credit" and "liquidity" guarantees. Which means, if the loans go sour, the money is eventually extracted from the American people through the hidden tax called inflation. That's the meaning of the phrase "lender of last resort."

FDIC director Irvine Sprague, while discussing the press release which announced the Continental bail-out package, describes the Fed's role this way:

The third paragraph … granted 100 percent insurance to all depositors, including the uninsured, and all general creditors…. The next paragraph … set forth the conditions under which the Fed, as lender of last resort, would make its loans….. The Fed would lend to Continental to meet "any extraordinary liquidity requirements." That would include another run. All agreed that Continental could not be saved without 100 percent insurance by FDIC and unlimited liquidity support by the Federal Reserve. No plan would work without these two elements.

By 1984, "unlimited liquidity support" had translated into the staggering sum of $8 billion. By early 1986, the figure had climbed to $9.24 billion and was still rising. While explaining this fleecing of the taxpayer to the Senate Banking Committee, Fed Chairman Paul Volcker said: "The operation is the most basic function of the

Federal Reserve. It was why it was founded." With those words,

he has confirmed one of the more controversial assertions of this



It has been mentioned previously that the large banks receive a free ride on their FDIC coverage at the expense of the small banks. There could be no better example of this than the bail out of Continental Illinois. In 1983, the bank paid a premium into the fund of only $6.5 million to protect its insured deposits of $3 billion. The actual liability, however—including its institutional and overseas deposits—was ten times that figure, and the FDIC guaranteed payment on the whole amount As Sprague admitted, "Small banks pay proportionately far more for their insurance and have far less chance of a Continental-style bailout."

How true. Within the same week that the FDIC and the Fed were providing billions in payments, stock purchases, loans, and guarantees for Continental Illinois, it closed down the tiny Bledsoe County Bank of Pikeville, Tennessee, and the Planters Trust and Savings Bank of Opelousas, Louisiana. During the first half of that year, forty-three smaller banks failed without an FDIC bailout. In most cases, a merger was arranged with a larger bank, and only the uninsured deposits were at risk. The impact of this inequity upon the banking system is enormous. It sends a message to bankers and depositors alike that small banks, if they get into trouble, will be allowed to fold, whereas large banks are safe regardless of how poorly or fraudulently they are managed. As a New York investment analyst stated to news reporters, Continental Illinois, even though it had just failed, was "obviously the safest bank in the country to have your money in." Nothing could be better calculated to drive the small independent banks out of business or to force them to sell out to the giants. And that, in fact, is exactly what has been happening. Since 1984, while hundreds of small banks have been forced out of business, the average size of the banks which remain—with government protection—has more than doubled. It will be recalled that this advantage of the big banks

1. Sprague, pp. 162-63.

*■ Quoted by Greider, p. 628. 3 ^ a gue /P .250.

New Continental Illinois Facing Uncertain Future/' by Keith E. Leighty, Associated Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., News Chronicle, May 13,1985, p. 18.


over their smaller competitors was also one of the objectives of the Jekyll Island plan.

Perhaps the most interesting—and depressing—aspect of the Continental Illinois bailout was the lack of public indignation over the principle of using taxes and inflation to protect the banking industry. Smaller banks have complained of the unfair advantage given to the larger banks, but not on the basis that the government should have let the giant fall. Their lament was that it should now protect them in the same paternalistic fashion. Voters and politicians were silent on the issue, apparently awed by the sheer size of the numbers and the specter of economic chaos. Decades of public education had left their mark. After all, wasn't this exactly what government schools have taught is the proper function of government? Wasn't this the American way? Even Ronald Reagan, viewed as the national champion of economic conservatism, praised the action. From aboard Air Force One on the way to California, the President said: "It was a thing that we should do and we did it. It was in the best interest of all concerned."

The Reagan endorsement brought into focus one of the most amazing phenomena of the 20th century: the process by which America has moved to the Left toward statism while marching behind the political banner of those who speak the language of opposing statism. William Greider, a former writer for the liberal Washington Post and The Rolling Stone, complains:

The nationalization of Continental was, in fact, a quintessential act of modern liberalism—the state intervening in behalf of private interests and a broad public purpose. In this supposedly conservative era, federal authorities were setting aside the harsh verdict of market competition (and grossly expanding their own involvement in the private economy)…,

In the past, conservative scholars and pundits had objected loudly at any federal intervention in the private economy, particularly emergency assistance for failing companies. Now, they hardly seemed to notice. Perhaps they would have been more vocal if the deed had been done by someone other than the conservative champion, Ronald Reagan.

Four years after the bailout of Continental Illinois, the same play was used in the rescue of BankOklahoma, which was a bank

1. "Reagan Calls Rescue of Bank No Bailout/' New York Times, July 29,1984.

2. Greider, p. 631.


holding company. The FDIC pumped $130 million into its main banking unit and took warrants for 55% ownership. The pattern j^d been set. By accepting stock in a failing bank in return for bailing it out, the government had devised an ingenious way to nationalize banks without calling it that. Issuing stock sounds like a business transaction in the private sector. And the public didn't seem to notice the reality that Uncle Sam was going into banking.


A sober evaluation of this long and continuing record leads to the second reason for abolishing the Federal Reserve System: Far from being a protector of the public, it is a cartel operating against the public interest.


ITie game called bailout is not a whimsical figment of the imagination, it is for real. Here are some of the big games of the season and their final scores.

In 1970, Perm Central railroad became bankrupt. The banks which loaned the money had taken over its board of directors and had driven it further into the hole, all the while extending bigger and bigger loans to cover the losses. Directors concealed reality from the stockholders and made additional loans so the company could pay dividends to keep up the false front. During this time, the directors and their banks unloaded their stock at unrealistically high prices. When the truth became public, the stockholders were left holding the empty bag. The bailout, which was engineered by the Federal Reserve, involved government subsidies to other banks to grant additional loans. Then Congress was told that the collapse of Perm Central would be devastating to the public interest. Congress responded by granting $125 million in loan guarantees so that banks would not be at risk. The railroad eventually failed anyway, but the bank loans were covered. Perm Central was nationalized into AMTRAK and continues to operate at a loss.

In 1970, as Lockheed faced bankruptcy, Congress heard essentially the same story. Thousands would be unemployed, subcontractors would go out of business, and the public would suffer greatly. So Congress agreed to guarantee $250 million in new loans, which put Lockheed 60% deeper into debt than before. Now that government was guaranteeing the loans, it had to make sure Lockheed became profitable. This was accomplished by granting lucrative defense contracts at non-competitive bids. The banks were paid back.

In 1975, New York City had reached the end of its credit rope. It had borrowed heavily to maintain an extravagant bureaucracy and a miniature welfare state. Congress was told that the public would be jeopardized if city services were curtailed, and that America would be disgraced in the eyes of the world. So Congress authorized additional direct loans up to $2.3 billion, which more than doubled the size of the current debt. The banks continued to receive their interest.

In 1978, Chrysler was on the verge of bankruptcy. Congress was informed that the public would suffer greatly if the company folded, and that it would be a blow to the American way if freedom-of-choice were reduced from three to two makes of automobiles. So Congress guaranteed up to $1.5 billion in new loans. The banks reduced part of their loans and exchanged another portion for preferred stock. News of the deal pushed up the market value of that stock and largely offset the loan write-off. The banks' previously uncollectable debt was converted into a government-backed, interest-bearing asset.

In 1972, the Commonwealth Bank of Detroit—with $1.5 billion in assets, became insolvent. It had borrowed heavily from the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York to invest in high-risk and potentially high-profit ventures. Now that it was in trouble, so was Chase. The bankers went to Washington and told the FDIC the public must be protected from the great financial hardship that would follow if Commonwealth were allowed to close. So the FDIC pumped in a $60 million loan plus federal guarantees of repayment. Commonwealth was sold to an Arab consortium. Chase took a minor write down but converted most of its potential loss into government-backed assets.

In 1979, the First Pennsylvania Bank of Philadelphia became insolvent. With assets in excess of $9 billion, it was nine-times the size of Commonwealth. It, too, had been an aggressive player in the '80s. Now the bankers and the Federal Reserve told the FDIC that the public must be protected from the calamity of a bank failure of this size, that the national economy was at stake, perhaps even the entire world. So the FDIC gave a $325 million loan—interest-free for the first year, and at half the market rate thereafter. The Federal Reserve offered money to other banks at a subsidized rate for the

specific purpose of relending to First Perm. With that enticement, they advanced $175 million in immediate loans plus a $1 billion line of credit.

In 1982, Chicago's Continental Illinois became insolvent. It was the nation's seventh largest bank with $42 billion in assets. The previous year, its profits had soared as a result of loans to high-risk business ventures and foreign governments. Although it had been the darling of market analysts, it quickly unraveled when its cash flow turned negative, and overseas banks began to withdraw deposits. It was the world's first electronic bank run. Federal Reserve Chairman Volcker told the FDIC that it would be unthinkable to allow the world economy to be ruined by a bank failure of this magnitude. So, the FDIC assumed $4.5 billion in bad loans and, in return for the bailout, took 80% ownership of the bank in the form of stock. In effect, the bank was nationalized, but no one called it that. The United States government was now in the banking business.

All of the money to accomplish these bailouts was made possible by the Federal Reserve System acting as the "lender of last resort." That was one of the purposes for which it had been created. We must not forget that the phrase "lender of last resort" means that the money is created out of nothing, resulting in the confiscation of our nation's wealth through the hidden tax called inflation.

Chapter Four


The history of increasing government intervention in the housing industry; the stifling of free-market forces in residential real estate; the resulting crisis in the S&L industry; the bailout of that industry with money taken from the taxpayer.

As we have seen in previous chapters, the damage done by the banking cartel is made possible by the fact that money can be created out of nothing. It also destroys our purchasing power through the hidden tax called inflation. The mechanism by which it works is hidden and subtle.

Let us turn, now, from the arcane world of central banking to the giddy world of savings-and-loan institutions. By comparison, the problem in the savings-and-loan industry is easy to comprehend. It is simply that vast amounts of money are disappearing into the black hole of government mismanagement, and the losses must eventually be paid by us. The end result is the same in both cases.


It all began with a concept. The concept took root in America largely as a result of the Great Depression of the 1930s. American politicians were impressed at how radical Marxists were able to attract popular support by blaming the capitalist system for the country's woes and by promising a socialist Utopia. They admired and feared these radicals; admired them for their skill at mass psychology; feared them lest they become so popular as to win a plurality at the ballot box. It was not long before many political hgures began to mimic the soap-box orators, and the voters enthusiastically put them into office.

While the extreme and violent aspects of Communism generally were rejected, the more genteel theories of socialism became Popular among the educated elite. It was they who would naturally become the leaders in an American socialist system. Someone had to look after the masses and tell them what to do for their own good, and many with college degrees and those with great wealth became enamored by the thought of playing that role. And so, the concept became widely accepted at all levels of American life—the "downtrodden masses" as well as the educated elite—that it was desirable for the government to take care of its citizens and to protect them in their economic affairs.

And so, when more than 1900 S&Ls went belly-up in the Great Depression, Herbert Hoover—and a most willing Congress— created the Federal Home Loan Bank Board to protect depositors in the future. It began to issue charters to institutions that would submit to its regulations, and the public was led to believe that government regulators would be more wise, prudent, and honest than private managers. A federal charter became a kind of government seal of approval. The public, at last, was being protected.

Hoover was succeeded by FDR in the White House who became the epitome of the new breed. Earlier in his political career, he had been the paragon of free enterprise and individualism. He spoke out against big government and for the free market, but in mid life he reset his sail to catch the shifting political wind. He went down in history as a pioneer of socialism in America.

It was FDR who took the next step toward government paternalism in the S&L industry—as well as the banking industry—by establishing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Saving and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC). From that point forward, neither the public nor the managers of the thrifts needed to worry about losses. Everything would be reimbursed by the government.


At about the same time, loans on private homes became subsidized through the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) which allowed S&Ls to make loans at rates lower than would have been possible without the subsidy. This was to make it easier for everyone to realize the dream of having their own home. While the Marxists were promising a chicken in every pot, the New Dealers were winning elections by pushing for a house on every lot.

In the beginning, many people were able to purchase a home who, otherwise, might not have been able to do so or who would have had to wait longer to accumulate a higher down payment. On

the other hand, the FHA-induced easy credit began to push up the price of houses for the middle class, and that quickly offset any real advantage of the subsidy. The voters, however, were not perceptive enough to understand this canceling effect and continued to vote for politicians who promised to expand the system.

The next step was for the Federal Reserve Board to require banks to offer interest rates lower than those offered by S&Ls. The result was that funds moved from the banks into the S&Ls and became abundantly available for home loans. This was a deliberate national policy to favor the home industry at the expense of other industries that were competing for the same investment dollars. It may not have been good for the economy as a whole but it was good politics.


These measures effectively removed real estate loans from the free market and placed them into the political arena, where they have remained ever since. The damage to the public as a result of this intervention would be delayed a long time in coming, but when it came, it would be cataclysmic.

The reality of government disruption of the free market cannot be overemphasized, for it is at the heart of our present and future crisis. We have savings institutions that are controlled by government at every step of the way. Federal agencies provide protection against losses and lay down rigid guidelines for capitalization levels, number of branches, territories covered, management policies, services rendered, and interest rates charged. The additional cost to S&Ls of compliance with this regulation has been estimated by the American Bankers Association at about $11 billion per year, which represents a whopping 60% of all their profits.

On top of that, the healthy component of the industry must spend over a billion dollars each year for extra premiums into the so-called insurance fund to make up for the failures of the unhealthy component, a form of penalty for success. When some of the healthy institutions attempted to convert to banks to escape this Penalty, the regulators said no. Their cash flow was needed to support the bailout fund.


The average private savings deposit is about $6,000. Yet, under the Carter administration, the level of FDIC insurance was raised


from $40,000 to $100,000 for each account. Those with more than that merely had to open several accounts, so, in reality, the sky was the limit. Clearly this had nothing to do with protecting the common man. The purpose was to prepare the way for brokerage houses to reinvest huge blocks of capital at high rates of interest virtually without risk. It was, after all, insured by the federal government.

In 1979, Federal Reserve policy had pushed up interest rates, and the S&Ls had to keep pace to attract deposits. By December of 1980, they were paying 15.8% interest on their money-market certificates. Yet, the average rate they were charging for new mortgages was only 12.9%. Many of their older loans were still crunching away at 7 or 8% and, to compound the problem, some of those were in default, which means they were really paying 0%. The thrifts were operating deep in the red and had to make up the difference somewhere.

The weakest S&Ls paid the highest interest rates to attract depositors and they are the ones which obtained the large blocks of brokered funds. Brokers no longer cared how weak the operation was, because the funds were fully insured. They just cared about the interest rate.

On the other hand, the S&L managers reasoned that they had to make those funds work miracles for the short period they had them. It was their only chance to dig out, and they were willing to take big risks. For them also, the government's insurance program had removed any chance of loss to their depositors, so many of them plunged into high-profit, high-risk real-estate developments.

Deals began to go sour, and 1979 was the first year since the Great Depression of the 1930s that the total net worth of federally insured S&Ls became negative. And that was despite expansion almost everywhere else in the economy. The public began to worry.


The protectors in Washington responded in 1982 with a joint resolution of Congress declaring that the full faith & credit of the United States government stood behind the FSLIC. That was a reassuring phrase, but many people had the gnawing feeling that somehow, we were going to pay for it ourselves. And they were right. Consumer Reports explained:

Behind the troubled banks and the increasingly troubled insurance agencies stands "the full faith and credit" of the Government—in effect, a promise, sure to be honored by Congress, that all citizens will chip in through taxes or through inflation to make all depositors whole.

The plight of the S&Ls was dramatically brought to light in Ohio in 1985 when the Home State Savings Bank of Cincinnati collapsed as a result of a potential $150 million loss in a Florida securities firm. This triggered a run, not only on the thirty-three branches of Home State, but on many of the other S&Ls as well. The news impacted international markets where overseas speculators dumped paper dollars for other currencies, and some rushed to buy gold.

Within a few days, depositors demanding their money caused $60 million to flow out of the state's $130 million "insurance" fund which, true to form for all government protection schemes, was terribly inadequate. If the run had been allowed to continue, the fund likely would have been obliterated the next day. It was time for a political fix.

Chi March 15, Ohio Governor Richard Celeste declared one of the few "bank holidays" since the Great Depression and closed all seventy-one of the state-insured thrifts. He assured the public there was nothing to worry about. He said this was merely a "cooling-off period … until we can convincingly demonstrate the soundness of our system." Then he flew to Washington and met with Paul Volcker, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, and with Edwin Gray, chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, to request federal assistance. They assured him it was available.

A few days later, depositors were authorized to withdraw up to $750 from their accounts. On March 21, President Reagan calmed the world money markets with assurances that the crisis was over. Furthermore, he said, the problem was "limited to Ohio." 2

This was not the first time there had been a failure of state-sponsored insurance funds. The one in Nebraska was pulled down ^ 1983 when the Commonwealth Savings Company of Lincoln failed. It had over $60 million in deposits, but the insurance fund

1. "

2. —


How Safe Are Your Deposits?," Consumer Reports, August, 1988, p. 503. Ohio Bank Crisis That Ruffled World/' US. News & World Report, April 1,1985,

had less than $2 million to cover, not just Commonwealth, but the whole system. Depositors were lucky to get 65 cents on the dollar, and even that was expected to take up to 10 yeaTs.


In the early days of the Reagan administration, government regulations were changed so that the S&Ls were no longer restricted to the issuance of home mortgages, the sole reason for their creation in the first place. In fact, they no longer even were required to obtain a down payment on their loans. They could now finance 100% of a deal—or even more. Office buildings and shopping centers sprang up everywhere regardless of the need. Developers, builders, managers, and appraisers made millions. The field soon became overbuilt and riddled with fraud. Billions of dollars disappeared into defunct projects. In at least twenty-two of the failed S&Ls, there is evidence that the Mafia and CIA were involved.

Fraud is not necessarily against the law. In fact, most of the fraud in the S&L saga was, not only legal, it was encouraged by the government. The Garn-St Germain Act allowed the thrifts to lend an amount of money equal to the appraised value of real estate rather than the market value. It wasn't long before appraisers were receiving handsome fees for appraisals that were, to say the least, unrealistic. But that was not fraud, it was the intent of the regulators. The amount by which the appraisal exceeded the market value was defined as "appraised equity" and was counted the same as capital. Since the S&Ls were required to have $1 in capital for every $33 held in deposits, an appraisal that exceeded market value by $1 million could be used to pyramid $33 million in deposits from Wall Street brokerage houses. And the anticipated profits from those funds was one of the ways in which the S&Ls were supposed to recoup their losses without the government having to cough up the money—which it didn't have. In effect the government was saying: "We can't make good on our protection scheme, so go get the money yourself by putting the investors at risk. Not only will we back you up if you fail, we'll show you exactly how to do it."

1. "How Safe Are Deposits in Ailing Banks, S&Ls?/' U.S. 'News & World Report, March 25,1985, p. 74.



In spite of the accounting gimmicks which were created to make the walking-dead S&Ls look healthy, by 1984 the fallout began- The FSLIC closed one institution that year and arranged for the merger of twenty-six others which were insolvent. In order to persuade healthy firms to absorb insolvent ones, the government provides cash settlements to compensate for the liabilities. By 1984, these subsidized mergers were costing the FDIC over $1 billion per year. Yet, that was just the small beginning.

Between 1980 and 1986, a total of 664 insured S&Ls failed. Government regulators had promised to protect the public in the event of losses, but the losses were already far beyond what they could handle. They could not afford to close down all the insolvent thrifts because they simply didn't have enough money to cover the pay out. In March of 1986, the FSLIC had only 3 cents for every dollar of deposits. By the end of that year, the figure had dropped to two-tenths of a penny for each dollar "insured." Obviously, they had to keep those thrifts in business, which meant they had to invent even more accounting gimmicks to conceal the reality.

Postponement of the inevitable made matters even worse. Keeping the S&Ls in business was costing the FSLIC $6 million per day. By 1988, two years later, the thrift industry as a whole was losing $9.8 million per day, and the unprofitable ones—the corpses which were propped up by the FSLIC—were losing $35.6 million per day. And, still, the game continued.

By 1989, the FSLIC no longer had even two-tenths of a penny for each dollar insured. Its reserves had vanished altogether. Like the thrifts it supposedly protected, it was, itself, insolvent and looking for loans. It had tried offering bond issues, but these fell far short of its needs. Congress had discussed the problem but had tailed to provide new funding. The collapse of Lincoln Savings brought the crisis to a head. There was no money, period.


In February, an agreement was reached between Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, and M. Danny Wall, Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, to have $70 million of bailout funding for Lincoln Savings come directly from the Federal Reserve.

This was a major break in precedent. Historically, the Fed has served to create money only for the government or for banks. If it were the will of the people to bail out a savings institution, then it is up to Congress to approve the funding. If Congress does not have the money or cannot borrow it from the public, then the Fed can create it (out of nothing, of course) and give it to the government. But, in this instance, the Fed was usurping the role of Congress and making political decisions entirely on its own. There is no basis in the Federal Reserve Act for this action. Yet, Congress remained silent, apparently out of collective guilt for its own paralysis.

Finally, in August of that year, Congress was visited by the ghost of FDR and sprang into action. It passed the Financial Institutions Reform and Recovery Act (FIRREA) and allocated a minimum of $66 billion for the following ten years, $300 billion over thirty years. Of this amount, $225 billion was to come from taxes or inflation, and $75 billion was to come from the healthy S&Ls. It was the biggest bailout ever, bigger than the combined cost for Lockheed, Chrysler, Penn Central, and New York City.

In the process, the FSLIC was eliminated because it was hopelessly insolvent and replaced by the Savings Association Insurance Fund. Also created was the Banking Insurance Fund for the protection of commercial banks, and both are now administered by the FDIC.

As is often the case when previous government control fails to produce the desired result, the response of Congress is to increase the controls. Four entirely new layers of bureaucracy were added to the existing tangled mess: the Resolution Trust Oversight Board, to establish strategies for the RTC; the Resolution Funding Corporation, to raise money to operate the RTC; The Office of Thrift Supervision, to supervise thrift institutions even more than they had been; and the Oversight Board for the Home Loan Banks, the purpose of which remains vague but probably is to make sure that the S&Ls continue to serve the political directive of subsidizing the home industry. When President Bush signed the bill, he said:

This legislation will safeguard and stabilize America's financial system and put in place permanent reforms so these problems wiU never happen again. Moreover, it says to tens of millions of savings-and-loan depositors, "You will not be the victim of others' mistakes. We will see—guarantee—that your insured deposits are secure."


By the middle of the following year, it was clear that the $66 billion funding would be greatly inadequate. Treasury spokesmen were now quoting $130 billion, about twice the original estimate. How much is $130 billion? In 1990, it was 30% more than the salaries of all the schoolteachers in America. It was more than the combined profits of all the Fortune-500 industrial companies. It would send 1.6 million students through the best four-year colleges, including room and board. And the figure did not even include the cost of liquidating the huge backlog of thrifts already seized nor the interest that had to be paid on borrowed funds. Within only a few days of the announced increase, the Treasury again revised the figure upward from $130 billion to $150 billion. As Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady told the press, "No one should assume that the estimates won't change. They will."

Indeed, the estimates continued to change with each passing week. The government had sold or merged 223 insolvent thrifts during 1988 and had given grossly inadequate estimates of the cost. Financiers such as Ronald Perelman and the Texas investment partnership called Temple-Inland, Inc., picked up many of these at fantastic bargains, especially considering that they were given cash subsidies and tax advantages to sweeten the deal. At the time, Danny Wall, who was then Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, announced that these deals "took care" of the worst thrift problems. He said the cost of the bailout was $39 billion. The Wall Street Journal replied:

Wrong again. The new study, a compilation of audits prepared by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, indicates that the total cost of the so-called Class of '88 will be $90 billion to $95 billion, including tax benefits granted the buyers and a huge amount of interest on government debt to help finance this assistance….

But the 1988 thrift rescues' most expensive flaw doesn't appear to be the enrichment of tycoons. Rather it's that none of the deals ended or even limited the government's exposure to mismanagement by the new owners, hidden losses on real estate in the past, or the vicissitudes of the real-estate markets in the future…. And some of the deals


'Review of the News," The New American, Sept. ll y 1989, p. 15.

appear to be sham transactions, in which failing thrifts were sold to failing thrifts, which are failing all over again….

Although the thrifts proved to be in far worse shape than the Bank Board estimated, Mr. Wall defends his strategy for rescuing them with open-ended assistance. "We didn't have the money to liquidate/' he says.

When Congress passed FIRREA the previous year to "safeguard and stabilize America's financial system/ 7 the staggering sum of $300 billion dollars was authorized to be taken from taxes and inflation over the following thirty years to do the job. Now, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was saying that the true long-term cost would stand at $500 billion, an amount even greater than the default of loans to all the Third-World countries combined. The figure was still too low. A non-biased private study released by Veribank, Inc. showed that, when all the hidden costs are included, the bill presented to the American people will be about $532 billion. The problems that President Bush promised would ''never happen again" were happening again.


Long before this point, the real estate market had begun to contract, and many mortgages exceeded the actual price for which the property could be sold. Furthermore, market interest rates had risen far above the rates that were locked into most of the S&L loans, and that decreased the value of those mortgages. The true value of a $50,000 mortgage that is paying 7% interest is only half of a $50,000 mortgage that is earning 14%. So the protectors of the public devised a scheme whereby the S&Ls were allowed to value their assets according to the original loan value rather than their true market value. That helped, but much more was still needed.

The next step was to create bookkeeping assets out of thin air. This was accomplished by authorizing the S&Ls to place a monetary value on community "good will"! With the mere stroke of a pen, the referees created $2.5 billion in such assets, and the players continued the game.


1. "Audit Report by FDIC Shows Wall's Estimates for Thrift Bailouts in 1988 Were Wildly Low/' by Charles McCoy and Todd Mason, The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 14, 1990, p. A-l 2.

2. "S&L Industry Rebuilds As Bailout Reaches Pinal Phase," Veribank News Release, Veribank, Inc. (Wakefield, Massachusetts), January 12,1994, p. 2.

Then the FSLIC began to issue "certificates of net worth," which were basically promises to bail out the ailing S&Ls should they need it- The government had already promised to do that but, by printing it on pieces of paper and calling them "certificates of net worth/' the S&Ls were allowed to count them as assets on their books. Such promises are assets but, since the thrifts would be obligated to pay back any money it received in a bailout, those pay-back obligations should also have been put on the books as liabilities. The net position would not change. The only way they could count the certificates as assets without adding the offsetting liabilities would be for the bailout promises to be outright gifts with no obligation to ever repay. That may be the eventual result, but it is not the way the plan was set up. In any event, the thrifts were told they could count these pieces of paper as capital, the same as if the owners had put up their own cash. And the game continued.

The moment of truth arrives when the S&Ls have to liquidate some of their holdings, such as in the sale of their mortgages or foreclosed homes to other S&Ls, commercial banks, or private parries. That is when the inflated bookkeeping value is converted into the true market value, and the difference has to be entered into the ledger as a loss. But not in the never-never land of socialism where government is the great protector. Dennis Turner explains:

The FSUC permits the S&L which sold the mortgage to take the loss over a 40-year period. Most companies selling an asset at a loss must take the loss immediately: only S&Ls can engage in this patent fraud. Two failing S&Ls could conceivably sell their lowest-yielding mortgages to one another, and both wouJd raise their net worth! This dishonest accounting in the banking system is approved by the higfiest regulatory authorities. 1

U.S. News & World Report continues the commentary:

Today, scores of savings-and-loan associations, kept alive mainly by accounting gimrrucks, continue to post big losses…. Only a fraction of the industry's aggregate net worth comprises hard assets such as mortgage notes. Intangible assets, which include bookkeeping entries such as good will, make up nearly all of the industry's estimated net Worth of 37.6 billion dollars. 2

P J? e . nnis Turner ' When Your Bank Fails (Princeton, New Jersey: Amwell f ub « s hing,Inc. / 1983) /P .141.

■ Tt's Touch And Go for Troubled S&Ls/' by Patricia M. Scherschel, U.S. News & world Report, March 4,1985, p. 92.


We must keep in mind that a well managed institution would never assume these kinds of risks or resort to fraudulent accounting if it wanted to stay in business for the long haul. But with Washington setting guidelines and standing by to make up losses, a manager would be fired if he didn't take advantage of the opportunity. After all, Congress specifically said it was OK when it passed the laws. These were loopholes deliberately put there to be used. Dr. Edward Kane explains:

Deception itself doesn't constitute illegal fraud when it's authorized by an accounting system such as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) system which allows institutions to forego recording assets at their true worth, maintaining them instead at their inflated value. The regulatory accounting principles system in 1982 added even new options to overstate capital…. Intense speculation, such as we observed in these firms, is not necessarily bad management at all. In most of these cases, it was clever management. There were clever gambles that exploited, not depositors or savers, but taxpayers.

The press has greatly exaggerated the role of illegal fraud in these matters with much time spent excoriating the likes of Donald Dixon at Vernon S&L and Charles Keating at Lincoln Savings. True, these flops cost the taxpayer well over $3 billion dollars, but all the illegal fraud put together amounts to only about one-half of one per cent of the total losses so far. Focusing on that minuscule component serves only to distract from the fact that the real problem is government regulation itself.


Another part of the distraction has been to make it appear that the thrifts got into trouble because they were heavily invested in "junk bonds/'

Wait a minute! What are junk bonds, anyway? This may come as a surprise, but those held by the S&Ls were anything but junk. In fact, in terms of risk-return ratios, most of them were superior-grade investments to bonds from the Fortune-500 companies-

1. "FIRREA: Financial Malpractice/' by Edward J. Kane, Durell Journal of Money and Banking, May, 1990, p. 5.

2. "Banking on Government/' by Jane H. Ingraham, The New American, August 24, 1992, p. 24.


So-called junk bonds are merely those that are offered by smaller orn panies which are not large enough to be counted among the ation's giants. The large reinvestors, such as managers of mutual funds and retirement funds, prefer to stay with well-known names like General Motors and IBM. They need to invest truly huge blocks of money every day, and the smaller companies just don't have enough to offer to satisfy their needs. Consequently, many stocks and bonds from smaller companies are not traded in the New York Stock Exchange. They are traded in smaller exchanges or directly between brokers in what is called "over the counter." Because they do not have the advantage of being traded in the larger markets, they have to pay a higher interest rate to attract investors, and for that reason, they are commonly called high-yield bonds.

Bonds offered by these companies are derided by some brokers as not being "investment grade," yet, many of them are excellent performers. In fact, they have become an important part of the American economy because they are the backbone of new industry. The most successful companies of the future will be found among their ranks. During the last decade, while the Fortune-500 companies were shrinking and eliminating 3.6 million jobs, this segment of new industry has been growing and has created 18 million new jobs.

Not all new companies are good investments—the same is true of older companies—but the small-company sector generally pro-

rvides more jobs, has greater profit margins, and pays more dividends than the so-called "investment-grade" companies. From 1981 to 1991, the average return on ten-year Treasury bills was 10.4 per cent; the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 12.9 per cent; and the average return on so-called junk bonds was 14.1 per cent. Because of this higher yield, they attracted more than $180 billion from savvy investors, some of whom were S&Ls- It was basically a n ew market which was orchestrated by an upstart, Michael Milken,

■ a t the California-based Drexel Burnham Lambert brokerage house. CAPITAL GROWTH WITHOUT BANK LOANS OR JNFLATION

One of the major concerns at Jekyll Island in 1910 was the trend to obtain business-growth capital from sources other than bank loans. Here, seventy years later, the same trend was developing



again in a slightly different form. Capital, especially for small companies, was now corning from bonds which Drexel had found a way to mass market. In fact, Drexel was even able to use those bonds to engineer corporate takeovers, an activity that previously had been reserved for the mega-investment houses. By 1986, Drexel had become the most profitable investment bank in the country.

Here was $180 billion that no longer was being channeled through Wall Street. Here was $180 billion that was coming from people's savings instead of being created out of nothing by the banks. In other words, here was growth built upon real investment, not inflation. Certain people were not happy about it.

Glenn Yago, Director of the Economic Research Bureau and Associate Professor of Management at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, explains the problem:

It was not until high yield securities were applied to restructuring through deconglomeration and takeovers that hostilities against the junk bond market broke out…. The high yield market grew at the expense of bank debt, and high yield companies grew at the expense of the hegemony of many established firms. As Peter Passell noted in The New York Times, the impact was first felt on Wall Street, "where sharp elbows and a working knowledge of computer spreadsheets suddenly counted more than a nose for dry sherry or membership in Skull and Bones." 1

The first line of attack on this new market of high-yield bonds was to call them "junk." The word itself was powerful. The financial media picked it up and many investors were frightened away.

The next step was for compliant politicians to pass a law requiring S&Ls to get rid of their "junk/' supposedly to protect the public. That this was a hoax is evident by the fact that only 5% ever held any of these bonds, and their holdings represented only 1.2% of the total S&Ls assets. Furthermore, the bonds were performing satisfactorily and were a source of much needed revenue. Nevertheless, The Financial Institutions Reform and Recovery Act, which was discussed previously, was passed in 1989. It forced S&Ls to liquidate at once their "junk" bond holdings. That caused their

rices to plummet, and the thrifts were even further weakened as jL>y took a loss on the sale. Jane Ingraham comments:

Overnight, profitable S&Ls were turned into government-owned basket cases in the hands of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC). t 0 add to the disaster, the RTC itself, which became the country's largest owner of junk bonds … flooded the market again with $1.6 billion of its holdings at the market's bottom in 1990….

So it was government itself that crashed the junk bond market, not Michael Milken, although the jailed Milken and other former officials of Drexel Burnham Lambert have just agreed to a $1.3 billion settlement of the hundreds of lawsuits brought against them by government regulators, aggrieved investors, and others demanding "justice." 1

Incidentally, these bonds have since recovered and, had the S&Ls been allowed to keep them, they would be in better financial condition today. And so would be the RTC.

With the California upstarts out of the way, it was a simple matter to buy up the detested bonds at bargain prices and to bring control of the new market back to Wall Street. The New York firm of Salomon Brothers, for example, one of Drexel's most severe critics during the 1980s, is now a leading trader in the market Drexel created.


So the real problem within the savings-and-loan industry is government regulation which has insulated it from the free market and encouraged it to embark upon unsound business practices. As the Wall Street Journal stated on March 10,1992:

If you're going to wreck a business the size of the U.S. Thrift industry, you need a lot more power than Michael Milken ever had. You need the power of national political authority, the kind of power possessed only by regulators and Congress. Whatever "hold" Milken or junk bonds may have had on the S&Ls, it was nothing compared with the interventions of Congress.

At the time this book went to press, the number of S&Ls that operated during the 1980s had dropped to less than half. As failures, mergers, and conversion into banks continue, the number w iU decline further. Those that remain fall into two groups: those that have been taken over by the RTC and those that have not Most of those that remain under private control—and that is a relative term in view of the regulations they endure—are slowly returning to a healthy state as a result of improved profitability, asset quality, and capitalization. The RTC-run organizations, on the other hand, continue to hemorrhage due to failure by Congress to provide funding to close them down and pay them off. Losses from this group are adding $6 billion per year to the ultimate cost of bailout. President Clinton was asking Congress for an additional $45 billion and hinting that this should be the last bailout—but no promises. The game continues.


Congress seems disinterested and paralyzed with inaction. One would normally expect dozens of politicians to be calling for a large-scale investigation of the ongoing disaster, but there is hardly a peep. The reason becomes obvious when one realizes that savings-and-loan associations, banks, and other federally regulated institutions are heavy contributors to the election campaigns of those who write the regulatory laws. A thorough, public investigation would undoubtedly turn up some cozy relationships that the legislators would just as soon keep confidential.

The second reason is that any honest inquiry would soon reveal the shocking truth that Congress itself is the primary cause of the problem. By following the socialist path and presuming to protect or benefit their constituency, they have suspended and violated the natural laws that drive a free-market economy. In so doing, they created a Frankenstein monster they could not control The more they tried to tame the thing, the more destructive it became. As economist Hans Sennholz has observed:

The real cause of the disaster is the very financial structure that was fashioned by legislators and guided by regulators; they together created a cartel that, like all other monopolistic concoctions, is playing mischief with its victims.


Sennholz has chosen exactly the right word: cartel. The savings-and-loan industry, is really a cartel within a cartel. It could not function without Congress standing by to push unlimited amounts of money into it. And Congress could not do that without the banking cartel called the Federal Reserve System standing by as the "lender of last resort" to create money out of nothing for Congress to borrow. This comfortable arrangement between political scientists and monetary scientists permits Congress to vote for any scheme it wants, regardless of the cost. If politicians tried to raise that money through taxes, they would be thrown out of office. But being able to "borrow" it from the Federal Reserve System upon demand, allows them to collect it through the hidden mechanism of inflation, and not one voter in a hundred will complain.

The thrifts have become the illegitimate half-breed children of the Creature. And that is why the savings-and-loan story is included in this study.

If America is to survive as a free nation, her citizens must become far more politically educated than they are at present. As a people, we must learn not to reach for every political carrot dangled in front of us. As desirable as it may be for everyone to afford a home, we must understand that government programs pretending to make that possible actually wreak havoc with our system and bring about just the opposite of what they promise. After 60 years of subsidizing and regulating the housing industry, how many young people today can afford a home? Tinkering with the laws of supply and demand, plus the hidden tax called inflation to pay for the tinkering, has driven prices beyond the reach of many and has wiped out the down payments of others. Without such costs, common people would have much more money and purchasing power than they do today, and homes would be well within their reach.


Our present-day problems within the savings-and-loan industry can be traced back to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Americans were becoming impressed by the theories of socialism a nd soon embraced the concept that it was proper for government D provide benefits for its citizens and to protect them against economic hardship.

Under the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations, new government agencies were established which purported to protect deposits in the S&Ls and to subsidize home mortgages for the middle class. These measures distorted the laws of supply and demand and, from that point forward, the housing industry was moved out of the free market and into the political arena.

Once the pattern of government intervention had been established, there began a long, unbroken series of federal rules and regulations that were the source of windfall profits for managers, appraiser, brokers, developers, and builders. They also weakened the industry by encouraging unsound business practices and high-risk investments.

When these ventures failed, and when the value of real estate began to drop, many S&Ls became insolvent. The federal insurance fund was soon depleted, and the government was confronted with its own promise to bail out these companies but not having any money to do so.

The response of the regulators was to create accounting gimmicks whereby insolvent thrifts could be made to appear solvent and, thus, continue in business. This postponed the inevitable and made matters considerably worse. The failed S&Ls continued to lose billions of dollars each month and added greatly to the ultimate cost of bailout, all of which would eventually have to be paid by the common man out of taxes and inflation. The ultimate cost is estimated at over one trillion dollars.

Congress appears to be unable to act and is strangely silent. This is understandable. Many representatives and senators are the beneficiaries of generous donations from the S&Ls. But perhaps the main reason is that Congress, itself, is the main culprit in this crime. In either case, the politicians would like to talk about something else.

In the larger view, the S&L industry is a cartel within a cartel. The fiasco could never have happened without the cartel called the Federal Reserve System standing by to create the vast amounts of bailout money pledged by Congress.

Chapter Five


The 1944 meeting in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, at which the world's most prominent socialists established the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as mechanisms far eliminating gold from world finance; the hidden agenda behind the IMF/World Bank revealed as the building of world socialism; tlie role of the Federal Reserve in bringing that about.

As we have seen, the game called Bailout has been played over and over again in the rescue of large corporations, domestic banks, and savings-and-loan institutions. The pretense has been that these measures were necessary to protect the public. The result, however, has been just the opposite. The public has been exploited as billions of dollars have been expropriated through taxes and inflation. The money has been used to make up losses that should have been paid by the failing banks and corporations as the penalty for mismanagement and fraud.

While this was happening in our home-town stadium, the same game was being played in the international arena. There are two primary differences. One is that the amount of money at stake in the international game is much larger. Through a complex tangle of bank loans, subsidies, and grants, the Federal Reserve is becoming the "lender of last resort" for virtually the entire planet. The other difference is that, instead of claiming to be Protectors of the Public, the players have emblazoned across the backs of their uniforms: Saviors of the World.


fhe game began at an international meeting of financiers, Politicians, and theoreticians held in July of 1944 at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Officially, it

was called the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, but is generally referred to today as simply the Bretton Woods Conference. Two international agencies were created at that meeting: the International Monetary Fund and its sister organisation, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development— commonly called the World Bank.

The announced purposes of these organizations were admirable. The World Bank was to make loans to war-torn and underdeveloped nations so they could build stronger economies. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was to promote monetary cooperation between nations by maintaining fixed exchange rates between their currencies. But the method by which these goals were to be achieved was less admirable. It was to terminate the use of gold as the basis of international currency exchange and replace it with a politically manipulated paper standard. In other words, it was to allow governments to escape the discipline of gold so they could create money out of nothing without paying the penalty of having their currencies drop in value on world markets.

Prior to this conference, currencies were exchanged in terms of their gold value, and the arrangement was called the "gold-exchange standard." This is not the same as a "gold-standard" in which a currency is backed by gold. It was merely that the exchange ratios of the various currencies—most of which were not backed by gold—were determined by how much gold they could buy in the open market. Their values, therefore, were set by supply and demand. Politicians and bankers hated the arrangement, because it was beyond their ability to manipulate. In the past, it had served as a remarkably efficient mechanism but it was a strict disciplinarian. As John Kenneth Galbraith observed:

The Bretton Woods arrangements sought to recapture the advantages of the gold standard—currencies that were exchangeable at stable and predictable rates into gold and thus at stable and predictable rates into each other. And this it sought to accomplish while minimizing the pain imposed by the gold standard on countries that were buying too much, selling too little and thus losing gold."

The method by which this was to be accomplished was exactly the method devised on Jekyll Island to allow American banks to create money out of nothing without paying the penalty of having their currencies devalued by other banks. It was the establishment of a world central bank which would create a common fiat money for all nations and then require them to inflate together at the same rate. There was to be a kind of international insurance fund which vvould rush that fiat money to any nation that temporarily needed it to face down a "run" on its currency. It wasn't born with all these features fully developed, just as the Federal Reserve wasn't fully developed when it was born. That, nevertheless, was the plan, and it was launched with all the structures in place.

The theoreticians who drafted this plan were the well-known Fabian Socialist from England, John Maynard Keynes, 1 and the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Harry Dexter White.


The Fabians were an elite group of intellectuals who formed a semi-secret society for the purpose of bringing socialism to the world. Whereas Communists wanted to establish socialism quickly through violence and revolution, the Fabians preferred to do it slowly through propaganda and legislation. The word socialism was not to be used. Instead, they would speak of benefits for the people such as welfare, medical care, higher wages, and better working conditions. In this way, they planned to accomplish their objective without bloodshed and even without serious opposition. They scorned the Communists, not because they disliked their goals, but because they disagreed with their methods. To emphasize the importance of gradualism, they adopted the turtle as the symbol of their movement. The three most prominent leaders in the early days were Sidney and Beatrice Webb and George Bernard Shaw. A stained-glass window in the Beatrice Webb House in Surrey, England is especially enlightening. Across the top appears the last line from Omar Khayyam:

Dear love, couldst thou and I with fate conspire

To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire,

Would we not shatter it to bits, and then

Remould it nearer to the heart's desire!

■ Keynes often is portrayed as having been merely a liberal. But, for his Lifelong voivement with Fabians and their work, see Rose Martin, Fabian Freeway; High ^"w to Socialism in the U.S.A. (Boston: Western [stands, 1966).



Beneath the line Remould it nearer to the heart's desire, the mural depicts Shaw and Webb striking the earth with hammers. Across the bottom, the masses kneel in worship of a stack of books advocating the theories of socialism. Thumbing his nose at the docile masses is H.G. Wells who, after quitting the Fabians, denounced them as "the new machiavellians." The most revealing component, however, is the Fabian crest which appears Between Shaw and Webb. It is a wolf in sheep's clothing!


Harry Dexter White was America's chief technical expert and the dominant force at the conference. He eventually became the first Executive Director for the United States at the IMF. An interesting footnote to this story is that White was simultaneously a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and a member of a Communist espionage ring in Washington while he served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. And even more interesting is that the White House was informed of that fact when President Truman appointed him to his post. The FBI had transmitted to the White House detailed proof of White's activities on at least two separate occasions. Serving as the technical secretary at the Bretton Woods conference was Virginius Frank Coe, a member of the same espionage ring to which White belonged. Coe later became the first Secretary of the IMF.

Thus, completely hidden from public view, there was a complex drama taking place in which the intellectual guiding lights at the Bretton Woods conference were Fabian Socialists and Communists. Although they were in disagreement over method, they were in perfect harmony on goal: international socialism.

There were undoubtedly other reasons for Communists to be enthusiastic about the IMF and the World Bank, despite the fact

1. See Zygmund Dobbs, The Great Deceit: Social Pseudo-Sciences (West SayviNe, New York: Veritas Foundation, 1964), opposite p. 1. Also Rose L. Martin, Fabian Freeway: High Road to Socialism in the U.S.A. (Boston: Western Islands, 1966), pp. 30, 31.

2. See: David Rees, Harry Dexter White: A Study in Paradox (New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1973); Whittaker Chambers, Witness (New York: Random House, 1952); Allen Weinstein, Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case (New York: Vintage Books, 1978); James Burnham, TJie Web of Subversion: Underground Networks in the US. Government (New York: The John Day Co., 1954); Elizabeth Bentley, Out of Bondage (New York: Devin-Adair, 1951)

that the Soviet Union elected at the time not to become a member. The goal of the organizations was to create a world currency, a world central bank, and a mechanism to control the economies of all nations. In order for these things to happen, the United States would of necessity have to surrender its dominant position. In fact, it would have to be reduced to just one part of the collective whole.

FXhat fit in quite nicely with the Soviet plan. Furthermore, the World Bank was seen as a vehicle for moving capital from the United States and other industrialized nations to the underdeveloped nations, the very ones over which Marxists have always had the

■ greatest control. They looked forward to the day when we would pay their bills. It has all come to pass. IMF STRUCTURE AND FUNDING

The International Monetary Fund appears to be a part of the United Nations, much as the Federal Reserve System appears to be a part of the United States government, but it is entirely independent. It is funded on a quota basis by its member nations, almost two hundred in number. The greatest share of capital, however, comes from the more highly industrialized nations such as Great Britain, Japan, France, and Germany, The United States contributes the most, at about twenty per cent of the total. In reality, that twenty per cent represents about twice as much as the number indicates, because most of the other nations contribute worthless currencies which no one wants. The world prefers dollars.

One of the routine operations at the IMF is to exchange worthless currencies for dollars so the weaker countries can pay their international bills. This is supposed to cover temporary "cash-flow" problems. It is a kind of international FDIC which rushes money to a country that has gone bankrupt so it can avoid devaluing its currency. The transactions are seldom paid back.

Although escape from the gold-exchange standard was the

1 lor >g-range goal of the IMF, the only way to convince nations to Participate at the outset was to use gold itself as a backing for its own money supply—at least as a temporary expedient. As Keynes explained it:

I felt that the leading central banks would never voluntarily relinquish the then existing forms of the gold standard; and I did not desire a catastrophe sufficiently violent to shake them off

involuntarily. The only practical hope lay, therefore, in a gradual evolution in the forms of a managed world currency, taking the existing gold standard as a starting point.

It was illegal for American citizens to own gold at that time, but everyone else in the world could exchange their paper dollars for gold at a fixed price of $35 per ounce. That made it the de facto international currency because, unlike any other at the time, its value was guaranteed. So, at the outset, the IMF adopted the dollar as its own international monetary unit.


But the Fabian turtle was crawling inexorably toward its destination. In 1970, the IMF created a new monetary unit called the SDR, or Special Drawing Right. The media optimistically described it as "paper gold," but it was pure bookkeeping wizardry with no relationship to gold or anything else of tangible value. SDRs are based on "credits" which are provided by the member nations. These credits are not money. They are merely promises that the governments will get the money by taxing their own citizens should the need arise. The IMF considers these to be "assets" which then become the "reserves" from which loans are made to other governments. As we shall see in chapter ten, this is almost identical to the bookkeeping sleight-of-hand that is used to create money out of nothing at the Federal Reserve System.

Dennis Turner cuts through the garbage:

SDRs are turned into loans to Third-World nations by the creation of checking accounts in the commercial or central banks of the member nations in the name of the debtor governments. These bank accounts are created out of thin air. The IMF creates dollars, francs, pounds, or other hard currencies and gives them to a Third-World dictator, with inflation resulting in the country where the currency originated.,.. Inflation is caused in the industrialized nations while wealth is transferred from the eeneral public to the debtor country. And the debtor doesn't repay.

When the IMF was created, it was the vision of Fabian Socialist John Maynard Keynes that there be a world central bank issuing a


1. John Maynard Keynes, The Collected Writings of, Vol V (1930 rpt. New York: Macmillan, 1971), p. xx.

2. Dennis Turner, When Your Bank Fails (Princeton, New Jersey: Am well Publishing, 1983), p. 32.

S eive currency called the "bancor" to free all governments from the discipline of gold. With the creation of SDRs, the IMF had finally begun to fulfill that dream. GOLD IS FINALLY ABANDONED

But there was still an obstacle. As long as the dollar was the nrimary currency used by the IMF and as long as it was redeemable in gold at $35 per ounce, the amount of international money that could be created would be limited. If the IMF were to function as a true world central bank with unlimited issue, the dollar had to be broken away from its gold backing as a first step toward replacing it completely with a bancor, an SDR or something else equally free from restraint.

On August 15,1971, President Nixon signed an executive order declaring that the United States would no longer redeem its paper dollars for gold. So ended the first phase of the IMF's metamorphosis. It was not yet a true central bank, because it could not create its ■ own world currency. It had to depend on the central banks of its member nations to provide cash and so-called credits; but since these banks, themselves, could create as much money as they wished, from now on, there would be no limit.

The original purpose had been to maintain fixed rates of exchange between currencies; but the IMF has presided over more than two hundred currency devaluations. In private industry, a failure of that magnitude might be cause for going out of business, but not in the world of politics. The greater the failure, the greater the pressure to expand the program. So, when the dollar broke loose from gold and there was no longer a ready standard for measuring currency values, the IMF merely changed its goal and continued to expand its operation. The new goal was to "overcome trade deficits."


The topic of trade deficits is a favorite among politicians, economists, and talk-show hosts. Everyone agrees they are bad, but tt^re is much disagreement over what causes them. Let's have a try at it.

A trade deficit is a condition that exists when a country imports a greater value of goods than it exports. In other words, it spends more than it earns in international trade. This is similar to the situation of an individual who spends more than he earns. In both cases, the process cannot be sustained unless: (1) earnings are increased; (2) money is taken out of savings; (3) assets are sold; (4) money is counterfeited; or (5) money is borrowed. Unless one of these occurs, the individual or the country has no choice but to decrease spending.

Increasing one's earnings is the best solution. In fact, it is the only solution for the long haul. All else is temporary at best. An individual can increase his income by working harder or smarter or longer. A country does it the same way. But it cannot happen unless private industry is allowed to flourish in a system of free-enterprise. The problem with this option is that few politicians respect the dynamic power of the free-enterprise system. Their world is built upon political programs in which the laws of the free market are manipulated to achieve politically popular goals. They may desire the option of increasing the nation's income by increasing its productivity, but their political agenda prevents that from happening.

The second option is to obtain extra money out of savings. But there are virtually no governments in the world today that have any savings. Their debts and liabilities exceed assets by a large margin. Likewise, most of their industries and their citizens are in a similar position. Their savings already have been consumed by government.

The third option, the selling of assets, also is not available for most countries. By assets, we mean tangible items other than merchandise which is normally for sale. Although these, too, are assets in the broad meaning, in accounting methodology, they are classified as inventory. The only government asset that is readily marketable is gold, and few countries today have a stockpile from which to draw. Even in those cases, what little they have is already

1. It is the author's opinion that it's time to get the politicians wearing Uncle-Sam suits off our backs. Which is easier said than done, because Americans still like their protectionist subsidies: tariffs to protect the business man, minimum wages and compulsory unionism to protect the worker, ethnic quotas in hiring to protect the underdog, cradle-to-the-grave insurance programs, unemployment benefits, disability compensation, extreme environmental and safety measures—regardless of cost. Free enterprise can and will produce all of these benefits in order to compete for buyers and employees alike. But, as long as these measures are compulsory arid chosen on the basis of political popularity without regard to economic consequences, American industry will never be able to recover. And then none of the illusory benefits will remain.

we d to another government or a bank. As for private assets,

rions can, for a while, sell these to foreign buyers and offset their

ative trade balances. That is what has been happening in the

United States for many years as office buildings, stocks, factories,

nd entire companies have been sold to foreign investors. But the

fact remains that the nation is still spending more than it earns, and

that process cannot continue indefinitely. Foreign ownership and

control over industry and commerce also create sociological and

political problems. Underdeveloped countries do not have to

worry about any of that, however, because they have few private

assets to sell.


The counterfeit option is available only if a country happens to be in the unique position of having its currency accepted as the medium of international trade, as has been the case for the United States. In that event, it is possible to create money out of nothing, and other nations have no choice but to accept it. Thus, for years, the United States has been able to spend more money than it earned in trade by having the Federal Reserve create whatever it needed.

When the dollar was separated entirely from gold in 1971, it ceased being the official IMF world currency and finally had to compete with other currencies—primarily the mark and the yen— on the basis of its relative merit. From that point forward, its value increasingly became discounted. Nevertheless, it was still the preferred medium of exchange. Also, the U.S. was one of the safest places in the world to invest one's money. But, to do so, one first had to convert his native currency into dollars. These facts gave the U.S. dollar greater value on international markets than it otherwise would have merited. So, in spite of the fact that the Federal Reserve w as creating huge amounts of money during this time, the demand for it by foreigners was seemingly limitless. The result is that America has continued to finance its trade deficit with fiat money— -ounterfeit, if you will—a feat which no other nation in the world could hope to accomplish.

We have been told that our nation's trade deficit is a terrible

^g/ and that it would be better to "weaken the dollar" to bring it

art end. Weakening the dollar is a euphemism for increasing

lation. In truth, America is not hurt by a trade deficit at all. In

' We are the benefactors while our trading partners are the

victims. We get the cars and TV sets while they get the funny money. We get the hardware. They get the paperware.

There is a dark side to the exchange, however. As long as the dollar remains in high esteem as a trade currency, America can continue to spend more than it earns. But when the day arrives—as it certainly must—when the dollar tumbles and foreigners no longer want it, the free ride will be over. When that happens, hundreds of billions of dollars that are now resting in foreign countries will quickly come back to our shores as people everywhere in the world attempt to convert them into yet more real estate, factories, and tangible products, and to do so as quickly as possible before they become even more worthless. As this flood of dollars bids up prices, we will finally experience the inflation that should have been caused in years past but which was postponed because foreigners were kind enough to take the dollars out of our economy in exchange for their products.

The chickens will come home to roost. But, when they do, it will not be because of the trade deficit. It will be because we were able to finance the trade deficit with fiat money created by the Federal Reserve. If it were not for that, the trade deficit could not have happened.

Back to the main topic, which is the five methods by which a trade deficit can be paid. Through the process of elimination, the fourth option of borrowing is where the action is today for most of the world, and that is where the IMF positioned itself in 1970. Its new mission was to provide loans so countries can continue to spend more than they earn, but to do so in the name of "overcoming trade deficits."


These loans do not go into private enterprises where they have a chance of being turned for a profit. They go into state-owned and state-operated industries which are constipated by bureaucracy and poisoned by corruption. Doomed to economic failure from the start, they consume the loans with no possibility of repayment Even the interest quickly becomes too much to handle. Which means the IMF must fall back to the "reserves," back to the "assets," back to the "credits," and eventually back to the taxpayers to bail them out


Whereas the International Monetary Fund is evolving into a world central bank which eventually will issue a world currency based on nothing, its sister organization, the World Bank, has become its lending agency. Acting as Savior of the World, it seeks to aid the underdeveloped nations, to feed the hungry, and to bring a better life to all mankind. In pursuit of these humanitarian goals, it provides loans to governments at favorable terms, usually at rates below market, for terms as long as fifty years, and often with no payments due until after ten years.

Funding for these loans comes from member states in the form of a small amount of cash, plus promises to deliver about ten-times more if the Bank gets into trouble. The promises, described as "callable capital," constitute a kind of FDIC insurance program but with no pretense at maintaining a reserve fund. (In that sense it is more honest than the real FDIC which does maintain the pretense but, in reality, is based on nothing more than a similar promise.)

Based upon the small amount of seed money plus the far greater amount of "credits" and "promises" from governments of the industrialized countries, the World Bank is able to go into the commercial loan markets and borrow larger sums at extremely low interest rates. After all, the loans are backed by the most powerful governments in the world which have promised to force their taxpayers to make the payments if the Bank should get into trouble. It then takes these funds and relends them to the underdeveloped countries at slightly higher rates, making a profit on the arbitrage.

The unseen aspect of this operation is that the money it processes is money which, otherwise, would have been available for investment in the private sector or as loans to consumers. It siphons off much-needed development capital for private industry, prevents new jobs from being created, causes interest rates to rise, and retards the economy at large.


Although most of the policy statements of the World Bank deal with economic issues, a close monitoring of its activities reveal a preoccupation with social and political issues. This should not be surprising considering that the Bank was perceived by its founders as an instrument for social and political change. The change which il Was designed to bring about was the building of world socialism, ^d that is exactly what it is accomplishing today.


This hidden agenda becomes crystal clear in the nature of what the Bank calls Sectoral Loans and Structural-Adjustment Loans. In the first category, only part of the money is to be used for the costs of specific projects while the rest goes to support policy changes in the economic sector. In the second group, all of the money is for policy changes and none of it is for projects. In recent years, almost half of the loans to underdeveloped countries have been in that category. What are the policy changes that are the object of these loans? They add up to one thing: the building of world socialism.

As the Fabians had planned it, the word socialism is not to be used. Instead, the loans are issued for government hydro-electric projects, government oil refineries, government lumber mills, government mining companies, and government steel plants. It is delivered from the hands of politicians and bureaucrats into the hands of other politicians and bureaucrats. When the money comes from government, goes to government, and is administered by government, the result will be the expansion of government.

Here is an example. One of the policy changes often required by the World Bank as a condition of granting a loan is that the recipient country must hold down its wages. The assumption is that the government has the power—and rightfully should have the power—to set wages! In other words, one of the conditions of its loan is that the state must be omnipotent.

Paul Roberts holds the William E. Simon Chair of Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Writing in Business Week, he says:

The entire "development process 7 ' has been guided by the belief that reliance on private enterprise and equity investment is incompatible with economic and social progress. In place of such proven avenues of success, development planning substituted loans and foreign aid so that governments of the LDCs [Less Developed Countries] could control economic activity in keeping with plans drawn up by experts.

Consequently, economic life in the LDCs was politicized from the start. By endowing governments with extensive control over their economies, the U.S. set up conditions exactly opposite to those required for economic growth.

Ken Ewert explains further that the conditions imposed by the fund are seldom free-market oriented. He says:

The Fund concentrates on "macro-policies/' such as fiscal and monetary policies or exchange rates, and pays little attention to fundamental issues like private property rights and freedom of enterprise. Implicit … is the belief that with proper "macro-management" any economic system is viable….

Even more important, it has allowed governments the world over to expropriate the wealth of their citizens more efficiently (through the hidden tax of inflation) while at the same time aggrandizing their own r?ower. There is little doubt that the IMF is an influence for world-wide socialism.

An important feature of the Structural-Adjustment Loans is that the money need not be applied to any specific development project. It can be spent for anything the recipient wishes. That includes interest payments on overdue bank loans. Thus, the World Bank becomes yet one more conduit from the pockets of taxpayers to the assets of commercial banks which have made risky loans to Third-World countries.


Not every measure advocated by the IMF and World Bank is socialistic. Some of them even appear to be in support of the private sector, such as the reduction of government subsidies and welfare. They may include tax increases to reduce budget deficits. These policy changes are often described in the press as "austerity measures/ 7 and they are seen as hard-nosed business decisions to salvage the failing economies of underdeveloped countries. But, as the wolf (in sheep's clothing) said to Little Red-Riding-Hood, "All the better to fool you with, my dear." These austerity measures are mostly rhetoric. The borrowing nations usually ignore the conditions with impunity, and the World Bank keeps the money coming anyway. It's all part of the game.

Nevertheless, the "structural-adjustment" conditions provide a scapegoat for local politicians who can now place the blame for their nation's misery on big, bad "capitalists" from America and the *MF. People who have been taught that it is government's role to provide for their welfare, their health care, their food and housing,

1. "How 'Experts' Caused the Third World Debt Crisis/' by Paul Craig Roberts, Business Week, November 2,1987.


b "The International Monetary Fund/' by Ken S. Ewert, The Freeman, April, 1989, PP* 157,158.


their jobs and retirement—such people will not be happy when they hear that these "rights" are being threatened. So they demonstrate in the streets in protest, they riot in the commercial sections of town so they can steal goods from stores, and they throng to the banner of leftist politicians who promise to restore or increase their benefits. As described by Insight magazine:

National strikes, riots, political upheavals and social unrest in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, Haiti, Liberia, Peru, Sudan and elsewhere have at various times been attributed to IMF austerity programs….

Some came to the fund with domestic trouble already brewing and seized on the fund as a convenient scapegoat.

Quite true. An honest reading of the record shows that the IMF, far from being a force for austerity in these countries, has been an engine of socialist waste and a fountain of abundance for the corrupt leaders who rule.


Nowhere is this pattern more blatant than in Africa. Julius Nyerere, the dictator of Tanzania, is notorious for his "villagiza-tion" program in which the army has driven the peasants from their land, burned their huts, and loaded them like cattle into trucks for relocation into government villages- The purpose is to eliminate opposition by bringing everyone into compounds where they can be watched and controlled. Meanwhile the economy staggers, farms have gone to weed, and hunger is commonplace. Yet, Tanzania has received more aid per capita from the World Bank than any other nation.

In Uganda, government security forces have engaged in mass detentions, torture, and killing of prisoners. The same is true under the terrorist government in Zimbabwe. Yet, both regimes continue to be the recipients of millions of dollars in World Bank funding.

Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) is a classic case. After its independence, the leftist government nationalized (confiscated) many of the farms previously owned by white settlers. The most desirable of these lands became occupied by the government's senior ruling-party officials, and the rest were turned into state-run collectives. They were such miserable failures that the workers on

^ese farmlands were, themselves, soon begging for food. Not daunted by these failures, the socialist politicians announced in 1991 that they were going to nationalize half of the remaining farms W eil. And they barred the courts from inquiring into how much ^mpensation would be paid to their owners.

The IMF was represented in Zimbabwe at the time by Michel Camdessus, the Governor of the central Bank of France, and a former finance minister in Francois Mitterrand's Socialist government After being informed of Zimbabwe's plan to confiscate additional land and to resettle people to work on those lands, Camdessus agreed to a loan valued at 42 billion rands with full knowledge that much of it would be used for the resettlement


Perhaps the worst violations of human rights have occurred in Ethiopia under the Marxist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam. The famine of 1984-85, which threatened the lives of millions of people, was the result of government nationalization and disruption of agriculture. Massive resettlement programs have torn hundreds of thousands of people from their privately owned land in the north and deported them to concentration-camp "villages" in the south, complete with guard towers. A report by a French voluntary medical-assistance group, Doctors without Borders, reveals that the forced resettlement program may have killed as many people as the famine itself. 1 Dr. Rony Brauman, director of the organization, describes their experience:

Armed militiamen burst into our compounds, seized our equipment and menaced our volunteers. Some of our employees were beaten, and our trucks, medicines and food stores confiscated. We left Ethiopia branded as enemies of the revolution. The regime spoke the truth. The atrocities committed in the name of Mengistu's master plan did make us enemies of the revolution.


In the 1980s, the world was saddened by photographs of starving children in Ethiopia, but what the West did not realize was that this was a planned famine. It was modelled after Stalin's

1. "IMF Hands Out Prescription for Sour Economic Medicine/' Insight, February 9, 1987, p. 14.

}■ "Ethiopia Bars Relief Team/' by Blaine Harden, Washington Post, December 3,

* 9 85,p.A-21.

7" "Famine Aid: Were we Duped?" by Dr. Rony Brauman, Reader's Digest, October

l98 6,p.71.


starvation program in the Ukraine in the 1930s and Mao's starvation of the peasants in the '40s. Its purpose was to starve the population into total submission to the government, for it is the government which decides who will eat and who will not. Yet, right up to the time Mengistu was overthrown, the World Bank continued to send him hundreds of millions of dollars, with much of it going specifically to the Ministry of Agriculture, the very agency in charge of the resettlement program.

In the late 1970s the same story unfolded in Communist Vietnam. There were resettlement programs, forced collectivization, concentration camps, atrocities, and tens of thousands of dissidents escaping to the sea only to drown in overcrowded, leaky boats. Throughout it all, the regime was generously funded by the World Bank.

Laos has jailed thousands of political prisoners; Syria has massacred 20,000 members of its opposition; Indonesia has uprooted several million people from their homelands in Java; the Sandinistas in Nicaragua murdered their opposition and terrorized the nation into submission; Poland, while a puppet state of the Soviet Union, brutally suppressed its trade-union movement; China massacred its dissident students and imprisoned its religious leaders; and the former Soviets slaughtered civilians in Afghanistan while conducting a relentless espionage war against the entire free world. Yet, these regimes have been the recipient of literally billions of dollars from the World Bank.

How can the Bank's managers continue in conscience to fund such genocidal regimes? Part of the answer is that they are not permitted to have a conscience. David Dunn, head of the Bank's Ethiopia Desk explained: "Political distinctions are not something our charter allows us to take into account." The greater part of the answer, however, is that all socialist regimes have the potential for genocide, and the Bank is committed to socialism. The brutalities of these countries are all in a days work for serious socialists who view them as merely unfortunate necessities for the building of their Utopia. Lenin said you cannot make an omelet without

1. James Bovard, The World Bank vs. The World's Poor, Cato Policy Analysis (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 1987), pp. 4-6,

2. "Harnessing World Bank to the West," insight, February 9,1987, p. 8.

cracking a few eggs. George Bernard Shaw, one of the early leaders of the Fabian Socialist movement, expressed it this way:

Under Socialism, you would not be allowed to be poor. You would be forcibly fed, clothed, lodged, taught, and employed whether you liked it or not. If it were discovered that you had not character and industry enough to be worth all this trouble, you might possibly be executed in a kindly manner; but whilst you were permitted to live, you would have to live well.


The top echelon at the World Bank are brothers under the skin to the socialist dictators with whom they do daily business. Under the right circumstances, they could easily switch roles. What we have seen is merely a preview of what can be expected for the entire world if the envisioned New World Order becomes operational.

The IMF/World Bank is the protege of the Federal Reserve. It would not exist without the flow of American dollars and the benevolence of American leadership. The Fed has become an accomplice in the support of totalitarian regimes throughout the world. As stated at the beginning of this study, that is one of the reasons it should be abolished: It is an instrument of totalitarianism.


While the top leaders and theoreticians at the IMF and World Bank dream of world socialism, the middle managers and political rulers have more immediate goals in mind. The bureaucracy enjoys a plush life administering the process, and the politicians on the receiving end obtain wealth and power. Ideology is not their concern. Socialism, capitalism, fascism, it makes no difference to them as long as the money flows.

Graham Hancock has been an astute observer of the international-aid "industry" and has attended their plush conferences. He knows many of the leading players personally. In his book, Lords of Poverty, he speaks of the IMF's Structural-Adjustment loans:

Corrupt Ministers of Finance and dictatorial Presidents from Asia, Africa, and Latin America are tripping over their own expensive footwear in their unseemly haste to "get adjusted." For such people, money has probably never been easier to obtain than it is today; with


riQ*?« e0rge Bernard shaw ' The intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism UV28 ; rpt New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1984), p. 470.


no complicated projects to administer and no messy accounts to keep, the venal, the cruel and the ugly are laughing literally all the way to the bank. For them structural adjustment is like a dream come true. No sacrifices are demanded of them personally. All they have to do—amazing but true—is screw the poor, and they've already had plenty of practice at that.

In India, the World Bank funded the construction of a dam that displaced two million people, flooded 360 square miles, and wiped out 81,000 acres of forest cover. In Brazil, it spent a billion dollars to "develop" a part of the Amazon basin and to fund a series of hydroelectric projects. It resulted in the deforestation of an area half the size of Great Britain and has caused great human suffering because of resettlement. In Kenya, the Bura irrigation scheme caused such desolation that a fifth of the native population abandoned the land. The cost was $50,000 per family served. In Indonesia, the transmigration program mentioned previously has devastated tropical forests—at the same time that the World Bank is funding reforestation projects. The cost of resettling one family is $7,000, which is about ten-times the Indonesian per-capita income.

Livestock projects in Botswana led to the destruction of grazing land and the death of thousands of migratory animals. This resulted in the inability of the natives to obtain food by hunting, forcing them into dependence on the government for survival. While Nigeria and Argentina are drowning in debt, billions from the World Bank have gone into building lavish new capital cities to house government agencies and the ruling elite. In Zaire, Mexico, and the Philippines, political leaders became billionaires while receiving World Bank loans on behalf of their nations. In the Central African Republic, IMF and World Bank loans were used to stage a coronation for its emperor.

The record of corruption and waste is endless. But the real eye-opener is in the failure of socialist ventures, those magnificent projects which were to bring prosperity to the underdeveloped countries. Here are just a few examples.


Before receiving loans from the World Bank, Tanzania was not wealthy, but it fed its own people, and it had economic growth-

1. Graham Hancock, Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989), pp. 59,60.

^After receiving more than 3 billion dollars in loans, it nationalized the nation's farms and industries and converted every business into a government agency. It built a truck assembly plant, a tire factory, electronic factories, highways, ports, railways, and dams. Tanzania's industrial production and agricultural output fell by almost one-third. Food was the main export in 1966. Under socialism, food had to be imported—paid for by foreign aid and more loans from the World Bank. The country is hopelessly in debt with no way to


Argentina once had one of the highest standards of living in Latin America. But then it became the recipient of massive loans from the World Bank as well as commercial banks in the United States- Since the money was given to politicians, it was used to build the only system politicians know how to build: socialism. By 1982, the Gross National Product was in a nose dive, manufacturing had fallen to less than half of capacity, thousands of privately owned companies had been forced into bankruptcy, unemployment was soaring, and so was welfare. By 1989, inflation was running at an average of 5,000% and, in the summer of that year, topped at 1,000,000%! Banks were offering interest rates of 600% per month in hopes of keeping deposits from being moved out of the country. People were rioting in the streets for food, and the government was blaming greedy shop owners for raising prices. The nation was hopelessly in debt with no way to repay.

Brazil is run by the military, and the state controls the economy. Government-owned companies consume 65% of all industrial investment, which means that the private sector is Limited to 35% and is shrinking. The government used loans from U.S. banks to create an oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro S. A., which became Latin America's largest corporation. Despite huge oil deposits and record-high oil prices, the company operated at a loss and was not even able to produce enough gasoline for its own citizens. By 1990, Nation was running at 5,000%. Since 1960, its prices had risen to 164,000 times their original level. A new crime was invented called hedging against inflation/' and people were arrested for charging the free-market price for their goods and for using dollars or gold as money. Led by Communist organizers, mobs roamed the streets shouting '"We're hungry. Steal what you will! 7 ' The nation was hopelessly in debt with no way to repay.

The experience in Mexico was a carbon copy of that in Brazil, except that the amount of money was larger. When the world's fourth largest oil reserves were discovered, Mexican politicians reached for the brass ring. With billions borrowed from U.S. banks, they launched Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) and soon became the world's fifth largest oil producer. They also built chemical plants and railroads, and launched many other industrial projects. These were run as welfare agencies instead of businesses: too many people on the payroll, too many managers, excessive salaries, too many holidays, and unrealistic benefits. The ventures floundered and lost money. Private businesses failed by the thousands, and unemployment rose. The government increased the minimum wage causing more businesses to fail and more unemployment That led to more welfare and unemployment benefits. To pay for that, the government borrowed even more and began creating its own fiat money. Inflation destroyed what was left of the economy.

Price controls were next, along with rent and food subsidies, and doubling the minimum wage. By 1982, Mexicans were trading their pesos for dollars and sending their savings out of the country, as the peso became all but worthless in commerce. In 1981, the average wage for Mexican workers was 31% of the average wage for Americans. By 1989, it had fallen to 10%. Mexico, once one of the major food exporters in the world, was now required to import millions of dollars worth of food grains. This required still more money and more loans. All this occurred while oil prices were high and production was booming. A few years later, when oil prices fell, the failures and shortfalls became even more dramatic.

In 1995, Mexico's bank loans were once again on the brink of default, and, once again, U.S. taxpayers were thrown into the breech by Congress to cover more than $30 billion at risk. Although this loan was eventually repaid, the money to do so was extracted from the Mexican people through another round of massive inflation, which plunged their standard of living even lower. The nation is now hopelessly mired in socialism. The Communist Party, promising "reform" and still more socialism, is attracting a large following and could become a potent political force.


1 — The same American banks that were making the loans were soliciting this flight capital and ended up getting deposits of the same money they had lent. It was nice business both ways.

Thus, the saga continues. After pouring billions of dollars into underdeveloped countries around the globe, no development has taken place. In fact, we have seen just the opposite. Most countries are worse off than before the Saviors of the World got to them.


The IMF and the World Bank, were created at a meeting of global financiers and politicians held at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1944. Their announced goals were to facilitate international trade and to stabilize the exchange rates of national currencies. The unannounced goals were quite different. They were the elimination of the gold-exchange standard as the basis of currency valuation and the establishment of world socialism.

The method by which gold was to be eliminated in international trade was to replace it with a world currency which the IMF, acting as a world central bank, would create out of nothing. The method by which world socialism was to be established was to use the World Bank to transfer money-—disguised as loans—to the governments of the underdeveloped countries and to do so in such a way as to insure the demise of free enterprise. The money was to be delivered from the hands of politicians and bureaucrats into the hands of other politicians and bureaucrats. When the money comes from government, goes to government, and is administered by government, the result will be the expansion of government.

The theoreticians who dominated the conference at Bretton Woods were the well-known Fabian Socialist from England, John Maynard Keynes, and the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Harry Dexter White. White became the first Executive Director for the United States at the IMF.

The Fabians were an elite group of intellectuals who agreed with Communists as to the goal of socialism but disagreed over tactics. Whereas Communists advocated revolution by force and violence, Fabians advocated gradualism and the transformation of society through legislation.

It was learned in later years that Harry Dexter White was a member of a Communist espionage ring. Thus, hidden from view, there was a complex drama taking place in which the two intellectual founders of the Bretton-Woods accords were a Fabian Socialist *nd a Communist, working together to bring about their mutual goal: world socialism.

Capital for the IMF and the World Bank comes from the industrialized nations, with the United States putting up the most. Funds consist partly of hard currencies—such as the dollar, yen, mark and franc—but these are augmented by many times that amount in the form of "credits." These are merely promises by the member governments to get the money from their taxpayers if the Bank gets into trouble with its loans.

While the IMF is gradually evolving into a central bank for the world, the World Bank is serving as its lending arm. As such, it has become the engine for transferring wealth from the industrialized nations to the underdeveloped countries. While this has lowered the economic level of the donating countries, it has not raised the level of the recipients. The money has simply disappeared down the drain of political corruption and waste.


This is an accurate rendering of the stained-glass window in the Beatrice Webb House in Surrey, England, headquarters of the Fabian Society. It depicts Sidney Webb and George Bernard Shaw striking the earth with hammers to "REMOULD IT NEARER TO THE HEARTS DESIRE." Note the wolf in sheep's clothing in the Fabian crest above the globe.

Chapter Six


The Game-Called-Bailout reexamined and shown to be far more than merely a means of getting taxpayers to foot the cost of bad loans; the final play revealed as the merger of all nations into world government; the unfolding of that strategy as applied to Panama, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, China, Eastern Europe, and Russia.

Let us return now to the game called bailout. Everything in the previous chapter has been merely background information to understand the game as it is played in the international arena. Here, finally, are the rules:

1. Commercial banks in the industrialized nations, backed by their

respective central banks, create money out of nothing and lend it to the governments of underdeveloped nations. They know that these are risky loans, so they charge an interest rate that is high enough to compensate. It is more than what they expect to receive in the long run.

2. When the underdeveloped nations cannot pay the interest on

their loans, the IMF and World Bank enter the game as both players and referees. Using additional money created out of nothing by the central banks of their member nations, they advance "development" loans to the governments which now have enough to pay the interest on the original loans with enough left over for their own political purposes.

3. The recipient country quickly exhausts the new supply of money,

and the play returns to point number two. This time, however, the new loans are guaranteed by the World Bank and the central banks of the industrialized nations. Now that the risk of default is removed, the commercial banks agree to reduce the interest to


the point anticipated at the beginning. The debtor governments resume payments. 4. The final play is — well, in this version of the game there appears to be no final play, because the plan is to keep the game going forever. To make that possible, certain things must happen that are very final, indeed. They include the conversion of the IMF into a world central bank as Keynes had planned, which then issues an international fiat money. Once that "Bank of Issue" is in place, the IMF can collect unlimited resources from the citizens of the world through the hidden tax called inflation. The money stream then can be sustained indefinitely—with or without the approval of the separate nations—because they will no longer have money of their own.

Since this game results in a hemorrhage of wealth from the industrialized nations, their economies are doomed to be brought down further and further, a process that has been going on since Bretton Woods. The result will be a severe lowering of their living standards and their demise as independent nations. The hidden reality behind so-called development loans is that America and other industrialized nations are being subverted by that process. That is not an accident; it is the essence of the plan. A strong nation is not likely to surrender its sovereignty. Americans would not agree to turn over their monetary system, their military, or their courts to a world body made up of governments which have been despotic to their own people, especially since most of those regimes have already revealed anti-American hostility. But if Americans can be brought to the point where they are suffering from a collapse of their economy and from a breakdown in civil order, things will be different. When they stand in bread lines and face anarchy in their streets, they will be more willing to give up sovereignty in return for "assistance" from the World Bank and the UN "peacekeeping" forces. This will become even more acceptable if a structured demise of Communism can be arranged ahead of time to make it appear that the world's major political systems have converged into the common denominator of "social democracy."


The underdeveloped nations, on the other hand, are not being raised up. What is happening to them is that their political leaders are becoming addicted to the IMF cash flow and will be unable to

break the habit. These countries are being conquered by money instead of arms. Soon they will no longer be truly independent nations- They are becoming mere components in the system of world socialism planned by Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes. Their leaders are being groomed to become potentates in a new, high-tech feudalism, paying homage to their Lords in New York. And they are eager to do it in return for privilege and power within the "New World Order." That is the final play.

The essence of socialism is redistribution of the wealth. The goal is equality, and that means taking from the rich and giving to the poor. At least that's the theory. Unfortunately, the poor are never benefited by this maneuver. They either do not get the money in the first place—too much is siphoned off by the bureaucracies which administer the programs—or, if they do get any of it, they don't know what to do with it. They merely spend it until it is gone, and then no one has any money— except, of course, those who administer the government programs. Nevertheless, politicians know that promises to redistribute the wealth are popular among two groups: the voters who naively believe it will help the poor, and the socialist managers who see it as job security. Supported by these two voting blocs, election to office is assured.

One of the early American advocates of socialism on a global scale—including the draining of wealth away from the "rich" United States—was John F. Kennedy. He undoubtedly learned the concept while attending the Fabian London School of Economics in 1935-36 just prior to his father's appointment as Ambassador to England. When JFK became President, his political views continued to carry the imprint of that training. In September of 1963, he addressed the finance ministers and central-bank governors from 102 nations at the annual meeting of the IMF/World Bank. He explained the concept of world socialism in glowing terms:

Twenty years ago, when the architects of these institutions met to design an international banking structure, the economic life of the world was polarized in overwhelming, and even alarming, measure on the United States..,. Sixty per cent of the gold reserves of the world were here in the United States…. There was a need for redistribution of the financial resources of the world…. And there was an equal need to organize a flow of capital to the impoverished countries of the

! — Martin, p. 25.


world. All this has come about. It did not come about by chance but by conscious and deliberate and responsible planning.


The brain trust for implementing the Fabian plan in America is called the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). We shall look at it closely in future chapters, but it is important to know at this point that almost all of America's leadership has come from this small group. That includes our presidents and their advisers, cabinet members, ambassadors, board members of the Federal Reserve System, directors of the largest banks and investment houses, presidents of universities, and heads of metropolitan newspapers, news services, and TV networks. It is not an exaggeration to describe this group as the hidden government of the United States.

CFR members have never been shy about calling for the weakening of America as a necessary step toward the greater good of building world government. One of the CFR founders was John Foster Dulles, who later was appointed Secretary-of-State by CFR member Dwight Eisenhower. In 1939, Dulles said:

Some dilution or leveling off of the sovereignty system as it prevails in the world today must take place … to the immediate disadvantage of those nations which now possess the preponderance of power…. The establishment of a common money … would deprive our government of exclusive control over a national money…. The United States must be prepared to make sacrifices afterward in setting up a world politico-economic order which would level off inequalities of economic opportunity with respect to nations.

CFR member Zbigniew Brzezinski was the National Security Adviser to CFR member Jimmy Carter. In 1970, Brzezinski wrote:

… some international cooperation has already been achieved, but further progress will require greater American sacrifices. More intensive efforts to shape a new world monetary structure will have to be undertaken, with some consequent risk to the present relatively favorable American position.

1. "Text of Kennedy Speech to World Monetary Parley/' New York Times, October 1,1963, p. 16.

2. For an in-depth analysis of the CFR, including a comprehensive list of members, see James Perloff, Shadows of Power (Appleton, Wisconsin: Western Islands, 1988).

3. "Dulles Outlines World Peace Plan/' New York Times, October 28,1939.

4. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages: America's Role in the Technetronic Era (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1970), p. 300.

At the Spring, 1983, Economic Summit in Williamsburg, Virginia, President Ronald Reagan declared:

National economies need monetary coordination mechanisms, and that is why an integrated world economy needs a common monetary standard…. But, no national currency will do—only a world currency will work.

The CFR strategy for convergence of the world's monetary systems was spelled out by Harvard Professor Richard N. Cooper, a CFR member who had been the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs in the Carter Administration:

I suggest a radical alternative scheme for the next century: the creation of a common currency for all of the industrial democracies, with a common monetary policy and a joint Bank of Issue to determine that monetary policy. … How can independent states accomplish that? They need to turn over the determination of monetary policy to a supranational body. [Emphasis in original]…

It is highly doubtful whether the American public, to take just one example, could ever accept that countries with oppressive autocratic regimes should vote on the monetary policy that would affect monetary conditions in the United States…. For such a bold step to work at all, it presupposes a certain convergence of political values….

Phrases such as, monetary coordination mechanisms, modern world economic order, convergence of political values, or new world order are not very specific. To the average person, they sound pleasant and harmless. Yet, to the insiders of the club, they are code phrases which have a specific meaning: the terrnination of national sovereignty and the creation of world government. CFR member, Richard Gardner—another adviser to President Carter—explains the meaning of these phrases and also calls for the Fabian strategy of deception and gradualism:

In short, the "house of world order" will have to be built from the bottom up…. An end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than the old-fashioned frontal assault

As for the programmed decline of the American economy, CFR Member Samuel Huntington argues that, if higher education is

1 ■ "A Monetary System for the Future, "by Richard N. Cooper, Foreign Affairs, Fall, ^Hpp-166,177,184.

J- "The Hard Road to World Order," by Richard Gardner, Foreign Affairs, April, 19 ?4, p. 558.


considered to be desirable for the general population, "a program is then necessary to lower the job expectations of those who receive a college education." CFR member Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, says: "The standard of living of the average American has to decline…. I don't think you can escape that."

By 1993, Volcker had become the U.S. Chairman of the Trilateral Commission. The TLC was created by David Rockefeller to coordinate the building of The New World Order in accordance with the Gardner strategy: "An end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece." The objective is to draw the United States, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and Western Europe into political and economic union. Under slogans such as free trade and environmental protection, each nation is to surrender its sovereignty "piece by piece" until a full-blown regional government emerges from the process. The new government will control each nation's working conditions, wages, and taxes. Once that has happened, it will be a relatively simple step to merge the regionals into global government. That is the reality behind the so-called trade treaties within the European Union (EU), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation agreement (APEC), and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). They have little to do with trade. In the Trilateral Commission's annual report for 1993, Volcker explains:

Interdependence Is driving our countries toward convergence in areas once considered fully within the domestic purview. Some of these areas involve government regulatory policy, such as environmental standards, the fair treatment of workers, and taxation.^

In 1992, the Trilateral Commission released a report co-authored by Toyoo Gyohten, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Tokyo and formerly Japan's Minister of Finance for International Affairs. Gyohten had been a Fulbright Scholar who was trained at Princeton and taught at Harvard Business School. He also had been in charge of the Japan Desk of the International Monetary Fund. In short, he represents the Japanese monetary interests within The New World Order. In this report, Gyohten explains that the real importance of "trade" agreements is not trade but the building of global government:

Regional trade arrangements should not be regarded as ends in themselves, but as supplements to global liberalization,… Regional arrangements provide models or building blocks for increased or strengthened globalism…. Western Europe [the EU] represents regionalism in its truest form…. The steps toward deepening [increasing the number of agreements] are dramatic and designed to be irreversible…. A common currency…. central bank…. court and parliament—will have expanded powers…. After the Maastricht summit [the Dutch town where the meeting was held], an Economist editorial pronounced the verdict: "Call it what you will: by any other name it is federal government..".. In sum, the regional integration process in Europe can be seen as akin to an exercise in nation-b uilding.

Applying this same perspective to the NAFTA treaty, former Secretary-of-State, Henry Kissinger (CFR), said it "is not a conventional trade agreement but the architecture of a new international system…. the vital first step for a new kind of community of nations/' The newspaper article that contained this statement was appropriately entitled: "With NAFTA, U.S. Finally Creates a New World Order." David Rockefeller (CFR) was even more emphatic. He said that it would be "criminal" not to pass the treaty because: "Everything is in place—after 500 years—to build a true 'new world' in the Western Hemisphere." 3

By early 1994, the drift toward the New World Order had become a rush. On April 15, the government of Morocco placed a full-page ad in the New York Times celebrating the creation of the World Trade Organization which was formed by the signing of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which took place in the Moroccan city of Marrakech. While Americans were still ^eing told that GATT was merely a "trade" agreement, the *nternationalists were celebrating a much larger concept. The ad spelled it out in unmistakable terms:

■ Toyoo Gyohten and Charles E. Morrison, Regionalism in A Converging World

Ne ) v V °rk: Trilateral Commission, 1992), pp. 4, 7-9,11.

L 'l With NAFTA — U -S- Finally Creates a New World Order/' by Henry Kissinger, ^Angeles Times, July 18,1993, pp. M-2, 6.

• A Hemisphere in the Balance," by David Rockefeller, Wall Street journal, **** 1,1993, p. A-10.


1944, Bretton Woods: The IMF and the World Bank

1945, San Francisco: The United Nations

1994, Marrakech: The World Trade Organization

History knows where it is going…. The World Trade Organization,

the third pillar of the New World Order, along with the United

Nations and the International Monetary Fund.


So much for the final play. Let us return, now, to the game called bailout as it is actually played today on the international scene. Let us begin with a glimpse into the inner workings of the Presidential Cabinet James Watt was the Secretary of the Interior in the Reagan Administration. In his memoirs, he described an incident at a Cabinet meeting in the spring of 1982. The first items on the agenda were reports by Treasury Secretary Donald Regan and Budget Director David Stockman concerning problems the less-developed countries were having with their bank loans. Watt said:

Secretary Regan was explaining the inability of those destitute countries to pay even the Interest on the loans that individual banks such as Bank of America, Chase Manhattan and Citibank had made. The President was being told what actions the United States "must" take to salvage the situation.

After the Regan and Stockman briefings,, there were several minutes of discussion before I asked, "Does anyone believe that these less developed countries will ever be able to pay back the principal on these loans?" When no one spoke up, I asked, "If the loans are never going to be repaid, why should we again bail out the countries and arrange payment for their interest?"

The answer came from several voices at once, "If we don't arrange for their interest payments, the loans will go into default, and it could put our American banks in jeopardy." Would the customers lose their money? No, came the answer, but the stockholders might lose dividends.

In amazement, I leaned back in my large, leather chair, only two seats from the President of the United States. I realized that nothing in the world could keep these high government officials from scrambUng to protect and bail out a few very large and sorely troubled American banks.


The first major score in the game had been made under the Carter Administration when Panama fell in arrears on the payment of its loans. A consortium of banks including Chase Manhattan, First National of Chicago, and Citibank brought pressure to bear on Washington to give the Canal to the Panamanian government so it could use the revenue to pay interest on its loans. Although there was massive opposition to this move among the American people, the Senate yielded to insider pressure and passed the give-away treaty. The Panamanian government inherited $120 million in annual revenue, and the interest payments to the banks were restored. As Congressman Philip Crane observed:

At the time of the Torrijos-backed coup in 1968, Panama's total official overseas debt stood at a manageable and, by world standards, modest $167 million. Under Torrijos, indebtedness has skyrocketed nearly one thousand percent to a massive $1.5 billion. Debt-service ratio now consumes an estimated 39 percent of the entire Panamanian budget… What it appears we really have here is not just aid to a tinhorn dictator in the form of new subsidies and canal revenues the treaties would give to the Torrijos regime, but a bailout of a number of banks which should have known better than to invest in Panama and, in any event, should not escape responsibility for having done so.

The Panama bailout was a unique play. In no other country did we have an income-producing property to give away, so from that point forward the bailout would have to be done with mere money. To pave the way for that, Congress passed the Monetary Control Act of 1980 which authorized the Federal Reserve to "monetize foreign debt." That is banker language meaning that the Fed was now authorized to create money out of nothing for the purpose of lending to foreign governments. It classifies those loans as "assets" and then uses them as collateral for the creation of even more money here in the United States. That was truly a revolutionary expansion of the Fed's power to inflate. Until then, it was permitted to rnake money only for the American government Now, it was able to do it for any government. Since then it has been functioning as a central bank for the entire world.

1. New York Times, April 15,1994, p. A9.

2. James G. Watt, The Courage of A Conservative (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985), pp. 124-25.

%n--™^P M. Crane, Surrender in Panama (Ottawa, Illinois: Caroline House Books, w 8), pp. 64, 68.



By 1982, almost every Third-World government was running behind in payments. Mexico led the way by announcing it could not send any more money that year on its $85 billion debt. Federal Reserve Governor Henry Wallich rushed to Switzerland to negotiate an IMF loan of $4.5 billion through the Bank of International Settlements. The central banks of Europe and Japan provided $1.85 billion (about 40%); the rest came from the Federal Reserve. Commercial banks postponed payments on the principal for two years; but, with the infusion of new loans, payment on the interest was resumed. That did not solve the problem. Within a few years, Mexico was in arrears again and, in 1985, the banks agreed to postpone $29 billion in payments and rolled over another $20 billion, which means they issued new loans to pay off the old.

In that same year, Secretary of the Treasury James Baker announced the government's plan to solve the world's debt crisis. It was a formal statement encouraging banks to continue lending to Third-World governments provided they promised to enact economic reforms favoring a free market. It was more of a philosophy than a plan, because there was no hope that it would be implemented by any of the socialist governments receiving the loans. Behind the announcement was the implication that the federal government acting through the Federal Reserve System, could be counted on to assist if the loans went sour. Baker called for funneling $29 billion over three years primarily to Latin American countries, of which Mexico was a prime recipient.


Shortly after the Mexican government had loaned $55 million to Fidel Castro, it announced to the banks: "We will pay only what we have, and no more." Whereupon Paul Volcker, head of the Federal Reserve, rushed to meet with Mexico's finance minister, Jesus Silva Herzog, and offered to put the American taxpayer into the breach. A $600 million short-term loan was extended to get Mexico past its election date of July 4. It was called a "currency swap" because Mexico exchanged an equal number of pesos which it promised to redeem in U.S. dollars. Pesos, of course, were worthless in international markets—which is the reason Mexico wanted the dollars.

The importance of this loan was not its size nor even the question of repayment. It was the manner in which it was made-

First it was made by the Federal Reserve directly, acting as a central bank for Mexico, not the U.S.; and secondly, it was done almost in total secrecy. William Greider gives the details:

The currency swaps had another advantage: they could be done secretly. Volcker discreetly informed both the Administration and the key congressional chairmen, and none objected. But the public reporting of currency swaps was required only every quarter, so the emergency loan from the Fed would not be disclosed for three or four months…- By that time, Volcker hoped, Mexico would be arranging more substantial new financing from the IMF…. The foreign assistance was done as discreetly as possible to avoid setting off a panic, but also to avoid domestic political controversy…. Bailing out Mexico, it seemed, was too grave to be controversial.


The currency swap did not solve the problem. So, in March of 1988, the players and referees agreed to introduce a new maneuver in the game: an accounting trick called a "debt swap." A debt swap is similar to a currency swap in that the United States exchanges something of real value in return for something that is worthless. But instead of currencies, they exchange government bonds. The transaction is complicated by the time-value of those bonds. Currencies are valued by their immediate worth, what they will buy today, but bonds are valued by their future worth, what they will buy in the future. After that differential factor is calculated, the process is essentially the same. Here is how it worked.

Mexico, using U.S. dollars, purchased $492 million worth of American Treasury Bonds that pay no interest but which will pay $3.67 billion when they mature in twenty years. (Technically, these are called zero-coupon bonds.) Then Mexico issued its own bonds with the U.S. securities tied to them as collateral. This meant that the future value of Mexico's bonds, previously considered worthless, were now guaranteed by the United States government. The banks eagerly swapped their old loans for these new Mexican bonds at a ratio of about 1.4 to 1. In other words, they accepted $100 million in bonds in return for canceling $140 million in old debt, ^hat reduced their interest income, but they were happy to do it, because they had swapped worthless loans for fully-guaranteed bonds.


t, pp. 485-6.

This maneuver was hailed in the press as true monetary magic. It would save the Mexican government more than $200 million in annual interest charges; it would restore cash flow to the banks; and—miracle of miracles—it would cost nothing to American taxpayers. The reasoning was that the Treasury bonds were sold at normal market rates. The Mexican government paid as much for them as anyone else. That part was true, but what the commentators failed to notice was where Mexico got the American dollars with which to buy the bonds. They came through the IMF in the form of "foreign-currency exchange reserves." In other words, they were subsidies from the industrialized nations, primarily the United States. So, the U.S. Treasury put up the lion's share of the money to buy its own bonds. It went a half-billion dollars deeper in debt and agreed to pay $3.7 billion more in future payments so the Mexican government could continue paying interest to the banks. That is called bailout, and it does fall on the American taxpayer.


The following year, Secretary of State, James Baker (CFR), and Treasury Secretary, Nicholas Brady (CFR), flew to Mexico to work out a new debt agreement that would begin to phase in the IMF as final guarantor. The IMF gave Mexico a new loan of $3.5 billion (later increased to $7.5 billion), the World Bank gave another $1.5 billion, and the banks reduced their previous loan values by about a third. The private banks were quite willing to extend new loans and reschedule the old. Why not? Interest payments would now be guaranteed by the taxpayers of the United States and Japan.

That did not permanently solve the problem, either, because the Mexican economy was suffering from massive inflation caused by interna] debt, which was in addition to the external debt owed to the banks. The phrases "internal debt" and "domestic borrowing" are code for the fact that government has inflated its money supply by selling bonds. The interest it must pay to entice people to purchase those bonds can be staggering and, in fact, interest on Mexico's domestic borrowing was draining three times as much from the economy as the foreign debt service had been siphoning off.

1. "U.S. Bond Issue Will Aid Mexico in Paying Debts/' by Tom Redburn, Los Angeles Times, December 30,1987.

2. "With Foreign IOUs Massaged, Interest Turns to Internal Debt," Insight, October 2, 1989, p. 34.


Notwithstanding this reality, Citicorp chairman, John S. Reed (CFR)/ whose bank is one of Mexico's largest lenders, said they vvere prepared to lend even more now. Why? Did it have anything to do with the fact that the Federal Reserve and the IMF would guarantee payments? Not so. "Because we believe the Mexican economy is doing well/' he said.

At the end of 1994, the game was still going, and the play was the same. On December 21, the Mexican government announced that it could no longer pay the fixed exchange rate between the peso and the dollar and that the peso would now have to float in the free market to find its true value. The next day it plummeted 39 per cent and the Mexican stock market tumbled. Once again, Mexico could not pay the interest on its loans. On January 11, President Clinton (CFR) urged Congress to approve U.S. guarantees for new loans up to $40 billion. Secretary of the Treasury • Robert Rubin (CFR) explained: "It is the judgment of all, including Chairman Alan Greenspan [CFR], that the probability of the debts being paid [by Mexico] is exceedingly high." But, while Congress debated the issue, the loan clock was ticking. Payment of $17 billion in Mexican bonds was due within 60 days, and $4 billion of that was due on the first of February! Who was going to pay the banks?

This matter could not wait. On January 31, acting independently of Congress, President Clinton announced a bailout package of over $50 billion in loan guarantees to Mexico; $20 billion from the U.S. Exchange Stabilization Fund, $17.8 billion from the IMF, $10 billion from the Bank of International Settlements, and $3 billion from commercial banks.


Brazil became a major player in 1982 when it announced that it too was unable to make payments on its debt. In response, the U.S. Treasury made a direct loan of $1.23 billion to keep those checks going to the banks while negotiations were under way for a more Permanent solution through the IMF. Twenty days later, it gave bother $1.5 billion; the Bank of International Settlements advanced $!-2 billion. The following month, the IMF provided $5.5 billion; Western banks extended $10 billion in trade credits; old loans were ^scheduled; and $4.4 billion in new loans were made by a Morgan

Jkd., p. 35.



Bank syndication. The "temporary" loans from the U.S. Treasury were extended with no repayment date established. Ron Chernovv comments:

The plan set a fateful precedent of "curing" the debt crisis by heaping on more debt. In this charade, bankers would lend more to Brazil with one hand, then take it back with the other. This preserved the fictitious book value of loans on bank balance sheers. Approaching the rescue as a grand new syndication, the bankers piled on high interest rates and rescheduling fees.

By 1983, Third-World governments owed $300 billion to banks and $400 billion to the industrialized governments. Twenty-five nations were already behind in their payments. Brazil was in default a second time and asked for rescheduling, as did Rumania, Cuba, and Zambia. The IMF stepped in and made additional billions of dollars available to the delinquent countries. The Department of Agriculture, through its Commodity Credit Corporation, paid $431 million to American banks to cover payments on loans from Brazil, Morocco, Peru, and Rumania. At the conclusion of these agreements, the April 20, 1983, Wall Street Journal editorialized that "the international debt crisis … is, for all practical purposes, over."

Not quite. By 1987, Brazil was again in default on its monstrous $121 billion debt, this time for one and a-half years. In spite of the torrent of money that had passed through its hands, it was now so broke, it couldn't even buy gasoline for its police cars. In 1989, as a new round of bailout was being organized, President Bush(CFR) announced that the only real solution to the Third-World debt problem was debt forgiveness.

Perhaps, through repetition, we are running this history into the ground, but here are just a few more examples before moving along.


By 1982, Argentina was unable to make a $2.3 billion payment that was due in July and August. The banks extended their loans while the IMF prepared a new infusion in the amount of $2.15 billion. This restored the interest payments and gave the Argentinian politicians a little extra spending money. Seven

1. Chernow, p. 644.

months later, Argentina announced it could not make any more payments until the fall of 1983. The banks immediately began negotiations for rollovers, guarantees, and new IMF loans.

Argentina then signed an agreement with 350 creditor banks to stretch out payments on nearly a fourth of its $13.4 billion debt, and the banks agreed to lend an extra $4.2 billion to cover interest payments and political incentives. The IMF gave $1.7 billion. The United States government gave an additional $500 million directly. Argentina then paid $850 million in overdue interest charges to the banks.

By 1988, Argentina had again stopped payment on its loans and was falling hopelessly behind as bankers and politicians went into a huddle to call the next bailout play. Somehow, the payments had to be passed on one more time to the taxpayers—which they were in the form of new loans, rollovers, and guarantees. As summarized by Larry A. Sjaastad at the University of Chicago:

There isn't a U.S. bank that would not sell its entire Latin American portfolio for 40 cents on the dollar were it not for the possibility that skillful political lobbying might turn up a sucker willing to pay 50 or 60 or even 90 cents on the dollar. And that sucker is the U.S. Taxpayer.

As mentioned previously, this history can become repetitious and boring. It would be counterproductive to cover the same sordid story as it has unfolded in each country. Suffice it to say that the identical game has been played with teams from Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Morocco, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, and almost every other less-developed country in the world.


This sets the stage for understanding the next phase of the game

v hich is unfolding as these words are being written. It is the

j^lusion of China and the former Soviet bloc into the Grand

Design for global government. As with all the other countries in the

'°rld, the primary mechanism being used to accomplish this

goal—. a t least in the field of economics—is the IMF/World Bank. 2

he process is: (1) the transfer of money from the industrialized

2 ''/^°tt\er Plan to Mop Up the Mess/' Insight, April 10,1989, p. 31. ■ Uther mechanisms which involve culture, education, political sovereignty, and Jitary power are embodied in agencies of the United Nations.


nations—which drags them down economically to a suitable common denominator—and (2) the acquisition of effective control over the political leaders of the recipient countries as they become dependent upon the money stream. The thing that is new and which sets this stage apart from previous developments is that the apparent crumbling of Communism has created an acceptable rationale for the industrialized nations to now allow their lifeblood to flow into the veins of their former enemies. It also creates the appearance of global, political "convergence/' a condition which CFR theoretician, Richard Cooper, said was necessary before Americans would accept having their own destinies determined by governments other than their own.


Red China joined the IMF/World Bank in 1980 and immediately began to receive billions of dollars in loans, although it was well known that she was devoting a huge portion of her resources to military development. By 1987, China was the IMF's second largest borrower, next to India, and the transfusions have grown at a steady pace ever since.

The Bank has asserted that loans will encourage economic reforms in favor of the private sector. Yet, none of the money has gone to the private sector. All of it is funneled into the government bureaucracy which, in turn, wages war against the free market. In 1989, after small businesses and farms in the private sector had begun to flourish and surpass the performance of similar government enterprises, Red China's leaders clamped down on them with harsh controls and increased taxes. Vice Premier Yao Yilin announced that there was too much needless construction, too many private loans, and too much spending on "luxuries" such as cars and banquets. To stop these excesses, he said, it would be necessary to increase government controls over wages, prices, and business activities.

Then there is the question of why China needs the money in the first place. Is it to develop her industry or natural resources? Is it to fight poverty and improve the living standard of her citizens? James Bovard answers:

The Bank's defense of its China Policy is especially puzzling because China itself is going on a foreign investment binge. The World Bank gives China money at zero interest, and then China buys

property in Hong Kong, the United States, Australia, and elsewhere. An economist with Citibank estimated that China's "direct investment in property, manufacturing and services [in Hong Kong alone] topped $6 billion." In 1984, China had a net outflow of capital of $1 billion. Moreover, China has its own foreign aid program, which has given more than $6 billion in recent decades, largely to leftist governments. 1 THE GREAT DECEPTION

It is the author's contention that the much heralded demise of Communism in the Soviet bloc is a mixture of fact and fantasy. It is fact at the bottom level of Communist society where the people, in truth, rejected it long ago. The only reason they appeared to embrace it for so many years was that they had no choice. As long as the Soviets held control of the weapons and the means of communication, the people had to accept their fate.

But at the tip of the pyramid of state power, it is a different story. The top Communist leaders have never been as hostile to their counterparts in the West as the rhetoric suggests. They are quite friendly to the world's leading financiers and have worked closely with them when it suits their purposes. As we shall see in the following section, the Bolshevik revolution actually was financed by wealthy financiers in London and New York. Lenin and Trotsky were on the closest of terms with these moneyed interests^-both before and after the Revolution. Those hidden liaisons have continued to this day and occasionally pop to the surface when we discover a David Rockefeller holding confidential meetings with a Mikhail Gorbachev in the absence of government sponsorship or diplomatic purpose.

It is not unreasonable to imagine a scenario in which the leaders of the Communist bloc come to realize they cannot hold themselves in power much longer. There comes a point where even physical force is not enough, especially when the loyalties of those who hold the weapons also begin to falter. With economic gangrene creeping U P the legs of their socialist systems, they realize they must obtain outside financial assistance or perish.

In such a scenario, quiet agreements can be worked out to the

^utual advantage of all negotiators. The plan could be as simple as

^statue-of-liberty play in a college football game: the appearance of

01 ng one thing as a cover for accomplishing something else. While

f Bovard, pp. 18^19.


Americans are prepared to accept such deception on a football field, they cannot believe that world financiers and politicians are capable of it. The concept is rejected out of hand as a "conspiracy


Nevertheless, in this scenario, we theorize it is agreed among the negotiators that the Soviet Bloc needs financial support. It is agreed that the Western nations have the capacity to provide it. It is agreed that the best way to move money from the industrialized nations into the Soviet bloc is through international agencies such as the IMF/World Bank. It is agreed this cannot happen until hostility between world systems is replaced by political convergence. It is agreed that future conflict is wasteful and dangerous to all parties- Therefore, it is finally agreed that the Soviet bloc must abandon its posture of global aggression while the Western nations continue to move toward socialism, necessary steps for the long-range goal of merger into a world government. But, in doing so, it must be insured that the existing Communist leaders retain control over their respective states.


To that end, they change their public identities to "Social Democrats." They speak out against the brutal excesses of their predecessors and they offer greater freedom of expression in the media. A few dispensable individuals among their ranks are publicly purged as examples of the demise of the old order. States that once were held captive by the Soviet Union are allowed to break away and then return on a voluntary basis. If any leaders of the newly emancipated states prefer true independence instead of alignment with Russia, they are replaced.

No other changes are required. Socialism remains the economic system of choice and, although lip service may be given to free-market concepts, the economy and all means of production remain under state control. The old Communists are now Social Democrats and, without exception, they become the leaders in the new system.

The West rejoices, and the money starts to move. As an extra bonus, the former Bolsheviks are now hailed by the world as great statesmen who put an end to the Cold War, brought freedom to their people, and helped to forge a New World Order.

When did Communism depart? We are not quite sure. All we know is that one day we opened our newspapers and it was accomplished. Social Democrats were everywhere. No one could find any Communists. Russian leaders spoke as long-time enemies of the old regime. Peristroika was here. Communism was dead. It was not killed by an enemy. It voted itself out of existence. It committed suicide!

Does it not seem strange that Communism fell without a struggle? Is it not curious that the system which was born out of class conflict and revolution and which maintained itself by force and violence for almost a century just went away on its own? Communism was not overthrown by people rising up with clubs and pitchforks to throw off their yoke of tyranny. There was no revolution or counterrevolution, no long period of fragmentation, no bloody surges between opposing forces. Poof! It just happened. True, there was blood in the streets in those areas where opposing groups vied for power, but that was after Communism had departed, not before. Such an event had never occurred in history. Until then, it had been contrary to the way governments act; contrary to the very nature of power which never surrenders without a life-and-death struggle. This, indeed, is a great curiosity—which should cause people to think.

Our premise is that the so-called demise of Communism is a Great Deception—not awfully different from many of the others that are the focus of this volume. We see it as having been stage managed for the purposes outlined previously: the transition to world government. In our view, tlmt scenario is the only one that makes sense in terms of today's geopolitical realities and the only one consistent with the lessons of history.

We realize, of course, that such a view runs contrary to popular opinion and conventional wisdom. For many, it is shocking just to hear it spelled out. It would not be possible to convince anyone of J ts truth without extensive evidence. Certainly, such evidence a bounds, but it is not within the scope of this study. So, now that w e have stated it, we shall leave it behind merely as a clarification °f the author's point of view so the reader can step around it if he Wishes.




American aid to Eastern European governments, while they were still puppet states of the Soviet Union, has been justified by the same theory advanced on behalf of China: it would improve their economies, show their people a better way of life, and wean them from Communism. Advocates of that theory now point to the demise of Communism as evidence of the soundness of their plan. The truth, however, is that the money did not improve the economy and did not show the people a better way of life. In fact, it did not help the people in any way. It went directly to their governments and was used for government priorities. It strengthened the ruling parties and enabled them to solidify their control.

It is well known that one of the reasons Poland's economy was weak is that much of her productive output was shipped to the Soviet Union at concessionary prices, primarily to support the military. Polish-built tanks fought in the Vietnam war; 20% of the Soviet merchant marine was built in Poland; 70% of Poland's computer and locomotive production and 80% of her communications equipment was shipped to the Soviets; American grain purchased by Poland with money borrowed from American banks was sent to Cuba. Poland was merely a middle man, a conduit to Russia and her satellites. The banks were really funding Russia.

It was in 1982 that Poland first defaulted on bank loans which had been guaranteed by the U.S. government through the Commodity Credit Corporation. Under the terms of the guarantee, taxpayers would make payments on any bank loan that went into default. That was what the banks were counting on when they made those loans, but to classify them as "in default" would require the banks to remove them from their books as assets. That was unacceptable, because it would make their balance sheets look as bad as they really were. So the Treasury agreed to bend the rules and make payments without requiring the loans to be in default. That was eventually stopped by an irate Congress, but not until the Reagan Administration had stalled long enough to pay $400 million directly to the banks on behalf of Poland.

In November, 1988, the World Bank made its first loan to Poland in the amount of $17.9 million. Three years later, in a dramatic demonstration of what the President had meant when he advocated "debt forgiveness," the Bush Administration canceled a

full 70% of the $3.8 billion owed to the United States. Taxpayers picked up the bill.

The same story has been unfolding in all the former Soviet-bloc countries. In 1980, for example, just before Hungary was brought into the IMF/World Bank, her annual per-capita GNP was $4,180. This was a problem, because the policy of the World Bank was to make development loans only to countries that had per-capita GNPs of less than $2,650. Not to worry. In 1981, the Hungarian government simply revised its statistics downward from $4,180 to $2,10Q. 1 That was a drop of 50% in one year, surely one of the sharpest depressions in world history. Everyone knew it was a lie, but no one raised an eyebrow. It was all part of the game. By 1989, the Bush Administration had granted "most favored nation" trade status to the Hungarian government and established on its behalf a special $25 million development fund.


American banks had always been willing to make loans to the Soviet Union, except for short periods of expediency during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and other minor business interruptions. In 1985, after the public had lost interest in Afghanistan, banks of the "free world" reopened their loan windows to the Soviets. A $400 million package was put together by a consortium of First National of Chicago, Morgan Guaranty, Bankers Trust, and Irving Trust—plus a London subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada. The loan was offered at unusually low interest rates "to buy American and Canadian grain."

Public indignation is easily disarmed when the announced purpose of a loan to a totalitarian government is to purchase commodities from the country where the loan originates—especially if the commodity is grain for the assumed purpose of making bread or feeding livestock. Who could possibly object to having the money come right back to our own farmers and merchants in the Jorm of profits? And who could fault a project that provided food for the hungry?

The deception is subtly appealing. It is true that the money will e used—in part at least—to buy grain or other locally produced

gust 30° rl Q Bank Courts Eastern Europe/' by Jerry Lewis, Wall Street Journal Au-



commodities. But the borrowing nations are like a homeowner who increases the mortgage on his house "to enlarge his living room." He probably wilJ make the addition, but he borrows twice as much as he needs so he can also buy a new car. Since the government allows a tax deduction on mortgage interest, in effect he now gets a tax deduction for the interest paid on his car as well. Likewise, the borrowing nations usually borrow more than they need for the announced purchase, but they receive all the money at favorable rates.

Yet, this is not the most serious fault in the transaction. In the case of Russia, the grain was no small item on her list of needs. After repeated failures of her socialist agriculture, she was not able to feed her population. Hungry people are dangerous to a government. Russia needed grain to head off internal revolt far more than the homeowner needed to increase the size of his living room. In other words, Russia had to have the grain, with or without the loan, Without it, she would have had to curtail spending Somewhere else to obtain the money, most likely in her military. By giving her the money "to buy grain," we actually allowed her to spend more money on armaments.

But even that is not the primary flaw in making loans to Russia. The bottom line is that most of those loans will never be repaid* As we have seen, the name of the game is bailout, and it is as certain as the setting sun that, somewhere down the line, Russia will not be able to make her payments, and the taxpayers of the industrialized nations will be put through the IMF wringer one more time to squeeze out the transferred purchasing power-


In 1990, the U.S. Export-Import Bank announced it would begin making direct loans to Russia. Meanwhile, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation was providing free "insurance" to private companies that were willing to invest in the ex-Soviet state. In other words, it was now doing for industrial corporations what it had been doing all along for banks: guaranteeing that, if their investments turned sour, the government—make that taxpayers-— would compensate them for their losses. The limit on that insurance had been $100 million, a generous figure, indeed. But, to encourage an even greater flow of private capital into Russia, the

gush Administration authorized unlimited protection for "sound American corporate investments."

If these truly were sound investments, they would not need foreign-aid subsidies or government guarantees. What is really happening in this play is a triple score:

1. International lending agencies provide the Social Democrats with

money to purchase goods and services from American firms. No one really expects them to repay. It is merely a clever method of redistributing wealth from those who have it to those who don't—without those who have it catching on.

2. American firms do not need money to participate. Since their

ventures are guaranteed, banks are anxious to loan whatever amount of money is required. Efficiency or competitiveness are not important factors. Contracts are awarded on the basis of political influence. Profits are generous and without risk.

3. When the Social Democrats eventually default in their contracts

to the American firms or when the joint venture loses money because of socialist mismanagement, the federal government provides funds to cover corporate profits and repayment of bank loans.

There you have it: The Social Democrats get the goodies; the corporations get the profits, and the banks get the interest on money created out of nothing. You know what the taxpayers get!

By 1992, the wearisome pattern was clearly visible. Writing in the New York Times, columnist Leslie H. Gelb gave the numbers:

The ex-Soviet states are now meeting only 30 percent of their interest payments (and almost no principal) on debts to the West of $70 billion…. Various forms of Western aid to the ex-Soviet states totaled about $50 billion in the last 20 months, and the money has virtually disappeared without a trace or a dent on the economic picture.

The interesting thing about this report is that Leslie Gelb has b een a member of the CFR since 1973. Why would a CFR spokesman blow the whistle on one of their most important Maneuvers toward The New World Order? The answer is that he is doing just the opposite. Actually he is making a plea for more loans and more outright aid on the basis that the need is so great! He advocates the prioritizing of funding with first attention to aiding Russia's nuclear-power facilities, agriculture, and industrial capacity. At the end of his article, he writes: "The stakes could not be higher. All the more reason for substantial, practical and immediate aid—not for grand illusions."

Congress hears and obeys. In spite of the fact that all the preceding billions have "disappeared without a trace or a dent/' the transfusion continues. In 1993 the World Bank advanced another half-billion-dollar loan to Russia; before leaving office, President Bush arranged for another $2 billion loan through the Export-Import Bank; and Congress authorized hitting the voters with another $Z5 billion in foreign aid earmarked specifically for Russia. In July, at the Tokyo summit meeting of the Group-of-Seven industrialized nations, another $24 billion was promised, half of which will come from the IMF. As this book goes to print, there is no end in sight.


A moment's reflection on the events described in this section leads us to a crossroads of conscience. We must choose between two paths. Either we conclude that Americans have lost control over their government, or we reject this information as a mere distortion of history. In the first case, we become advocates of the conspiratorial view of history. In the latter, we endorse the accidental view. It is a difficult choice.

The reason it is difficult is that we have been conditioned to laugh at conspiracy theories, and few people will risk public ridicule by advocating them. On the other hand, to endorse the accidental view is absurd. Almost all of history is an unbroken trail of one conspiracy after another. Conspiracies are the norm, not the


The industrialized nations of the world are being bled to near death in a global transfer of their wealth to the less developed countries. Is it being done according to plan? Or is it an accident? It is not being done to them by their enemies. It is being done by then awn leaders. The process is well coordinated across national lines and perfectly dovetails with the actions of other leaders who are doing the same thing to their respective countries. Furthermore; these leaders regularly meet together to better coordinate their


activities. Could anything that complex be accomplished by accident? Or would some kind of a plan be required?

A spokesman from the IMF would answer, yes, there is a plan, and it is to aid the less developed countries. But, after forty years and hundreds of billions of dollars, they have totally failed to accomplish that goal. Would intelligent people believe that pursuing the same plan will produce different results in the future? Then why do they follow a plan that cannot work? The answer is they are not following that plan. They are following a different one: one which has been very successful from their point of view. Otherwise, we must conclude that the leaders of the industrialized nations are, to a man, just plain stupid. We do not believe it.

There is little room to escape the conclusion that these men and women are following a higher loyalty than the self interest of their respective countries. In their hearts they may honestly believe that, in the long run, the world will be better for it, including their fellow countrymen. But, for the present, their goals and their methods are not shared by those who have placed them in office. Under those circumstances, they must conceal their plan from public view. If their fellow citizens really knew what they were doing, they would be thrown out of office and, in some cases, might even be shot as traitors. Add all that together and it spells CONSPIRACY.

The only other explanation is that it's all accidental: no plan, no cooperation, no goal, just the blind forces of history following the path of least resistance. For some it will be easier and more comfortable to accept that model. But the evidence speaks loudly against it. What is the evidence? Not just the previous chapters, but everything that follows in this book. By contrast, the evidence for the accidental theory of history is — a blank page.


The international version of the game called Bailout is similar to the domestic version in that the overall objective is to have the taxpayers cover the defaulted loans so that interest payments can continue going to the banks. The differences are: (1) instead of justifying this as protecting the American public, the pretense is ^ a t it is to save the world from poverty; and (2) the main money Pipeline goes from the Federal Reserve through the IMF/World K ank. Otherwise, the rules are basically the same.

There is another dimension to the game, however, that involves more than mere profits and scam. It is the conscious and deliberate evolution of the IMF/World Bank into a world central bank with the power to issue a world fiat currency. And that is an important step in an even larger plan to build a true world government within the framework of the United Nations.

Economically strong nations are not candidates for surrendering their sovereignty to a world government. Therefore, through "loans" that will never be paid back, the IMF/World Bank directs the massive transfer of wealth from the industrialized nations to the less developed nations. This ongoing process eventually drains their economies to the point where they also will be in need of assistance. No longer capable of independent action, they will accept the loss of sovereignty in return for international aid.

The less developed countries, on the other hand, are being brought into The New World Order along an entirely different route. Many of these countries are ruled by petty tyrants who care little for their people except how to extract more taxes from them without causing a revolt. Loans from the IMF/World Bank are used primarily to perpetuate themselves and their ruling parties in power—and that is exactly what the IMF/World Bank intends. Rhetoric about helping the poor notwithstanding, the true goal of the transfer of wealth disguised as loans is to get control over the leaders of the less developed countries. After these despots get used to the taste of such an unlimited supply of sweet cash, they will never be able to break the habit. They will be content—already are content—to become little gold-plated cogs in the giant machinery of world government. Ideology means nothing to them: capitalist, communist, socialist, fascist what does it matter so long as the money keeps coming. The IMF/World Bank literally is buying these countries and using our money to do it.

The recent inclusion of Red China and the former Soviet bloc on the list of IMF/World Bank recipient countries signals the final phase of the game. Now that Latin America and Africa have been "purchased" into the New World Order, this is the final frontier- In a relatively short time span, China, Russia, and the Eastern European countries have now become the biggest borrowers an& already, they are in arrears on their payments. This is where the action will lie in the months ahead.

Section II


The eight chapters contained in this and the following section deal with material that is organized by topic, not chronology. Several of them will jump ahead of events that are not covered until later. Furthermore, the scope is such that the reader may wonder what, if any, is the connection with the Federal Reserve System. Please be patient. The importance will eventually become clear. It is the author's intent to cover concepts and principles before looking at events. Without this background, the history of the Federal Reserve is boring. With it, the story emerges as an exciting drama which profoundly affects our lives today. So let us begin this adventure with a few discoveries about the nature of money itself.

Chapter Seven


The history and evolution of money; the emergence of gold as the universal money supply; the attempts by governments to cheat their subjects by clipping or debasing gold coins; the reality that any quantity of gold will suffice for a monetary system and that "more money" does not require more gold.

There is a great mystique surrounding the nature of money. It is generally regarded as beyond the understanding of mere mortals. Questions of the origin of money or the mechanism of its creation are seldom matters of public debate. We accept them as facts of life which are beyond our sphere of control. Thus, in a nation which is founded on the principle of government by the people, and which assumes a high level of understanding among the electorate, the people themselves have blocked out one of the most important factors affecting, not only their government, but their personal lives as well.

This attitude is not accidental, nor was it always so. There was a titue in the fairly recent past when the humble voter—even without formal education—was well informed on money matters and vitally concerned about their political implementation. In fact, as we shall see in a later chapter, major elections were won or lost depending on how candidates stood on the issue of a central bank. It has been in the interest of the money mandarins, however, to convince the public that, now, these issues are too complicated for n ovices. Through the use of technical jargon and by hiding simple reality inside a maze of bewildering procedures, they have caused ar * understanding of the nature of money to fade from the public consciousness.


The first step in this maneuver was to scramble the definition of m °ney itself. For example, the July 20, 1975 issue of the New York


Times, in an article entitled "Money Supply: A Growing Muddle/' begins with the question: "What is money nowadays?" The Wall Street Journal of August 29,1975, comments: "The men and women involved in this arcane exercise [of watching the money supply] … aren't exactly sure what the money supply consists of." And, in its September 24,1971 issue, the same paper said: "A pro-International Monetary Fund Seminar of eminent economists couldn't agree on what money is or how banks create it."

Even the government cannot define money. Some years ago, a Mr. A.F. Davis mailed a ten-dollar Federal Reserve Note to the Treasury Department. In his letter of transmittal, he called attention to the inscription on the bill which said that it was redeemable in "lawful money," and then requested that such money be sent to him. In reply, the Treasury merely sent two five-dollar bills from a different printing series bearing a similar promise to pay. Mr. Davis responded:

Dear Sir:

Receipt is hereby acknowledged of two $5.00 United States notes, which we interpret from your letter are to be considered as lawful money. Are we to infer from this that the Federal Reserve notes are not lawful money?

I am enclosing one of the $5.00 notes which you sent to me. I note that it states on the face, "The United States of America will pay to the bearer on demand five dollars." I am hereby demanding five dollars.

One week later, Mr. Davis received the following reply from Acting Treasurer, M.E. Slindee:

Dear Mr. Davis:

Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of December 23rd, transmitting one $5. United States Note with a demand for payment of five dollars. You are advised that the term "lawful money" has not been defined in federal legislation…. The term "lawful currency" no longer has such special significance. The $5. United States Note received with your letter of December 23rd is returned herewith.

The phrases ."..will pay to the bearer on demand" and "— is redeemable in lawful money" were deleted from our currency altogether in 1964.

1. As quoted by C.V. Myers, Money and Energy: Weathering the Storm (Darien, Connecticut: Soundview Books, 1980), pp. 161,163. Also by Lawrence S. Ritter, ed v Money and Economic Activity (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967), p. 33.

Is money really so mysterious that it cannot be defined? Is it the coin and currency we have in our pockets? Is it numbers in a checking account or electronic impulses in a computer? Does it include the balance in a savings account or the available credit on a charge card? Does it include the value of stocks and bonds, houses, land, or personal possessions? Or is money nothing more than purchasing power?

The main function of the Federal Reserve is to regulate the supply of money. Yet, if no one is able to define what money is, how can we have an opinion about how the System is performing? The answer, of course, is that we cannot, and that is exactly the way the cartel wants it.

The reason the Federal Reserve appears to be a complicated subject is because most discussions start somewhere in the middle. By the time we get into it, definitions have been scrambled and basic concepts have been assumed. Under such conditions, intellectual chaos is inevitable. If we start at the beginning, however, and deal with each concept in sequence from the general to the specific, and if we agree on definitions as we go, we shall find to our amazement that the issues are really quite simple. Furthermore, the process is not only painless, it is—believe it or not—intensely interesting.

The purpose of this and the next three chapters, therefore, is to provide what could be called a crash course on money. It will not be complicated. In fact, you already know much of what follows. All we shall attempt to do is tie it all together so that it will have continuity and relativity to our subject. When you are through with these next few pages, you will understand money. That's a promise.

So, lef s get started with the basics. What is money?


The dictionary is of little help. If economists cannot agree on

w hat money is, it is partly due to the fact that there are so many

fehnitions available that it is difficult to insist that any of them is

the obvious choice. For the purpose of our analysis, however, it will

e necessary to establish one definition so we can at least know

v hat is meant when the word is used within this text To that end,

e shall introduce our own definition which has been assembled

°*H bits and dabs taken from numerous sources. The structure is

esi gned, not to reflect what we think money ought to be or to


support the view of any particular school of economics, but simply to reduce the concept to its most fundamental essence and to reflect the reality of today's world. It is not necessary to agree or disagree with this definition. It is introduced solely for the purpose of providing an understanding of the word as it is used within these pages. This, then, shall be our working definition:

Money is anything which is accepted as a medium of exchange and it may be classified into the following forms:

1. Commodity money Z Receipt money

3. Fiat money

4. Fractional money

Understanding the difference between these forms of money is practically all we need to know to fully comprehend the Federal Reserve System and to come to a judgment regarding its value to our economy and to our nation. Let us, therefore, examine each of them in some detail.


Before there was any kind of money, however, there was barter, and it is important first to understand the link between the two. Barter is defined as that which is directly exchanged for something of like value. Mr. Jones swaps his restored Model-T Ford for a Steinway grand piano. This exchange is not monetary in nature because both items are valued for themselves rather than held as a medium of exchange to be used later for something else. Note, however, that both items have intrinsic value or they would not be accepted by the other parties. Labor also may be exchanged as barter when it, too, is perceived to have intrinsic value to the person for whom the labor is performed. The concept of intrinsic value is the key to an understanding of the various forms of money that evolved from the process of barter.


In the natural evolution of every society, there always have been one or two items which became more commonly used tf 1

1. Strictly speaking, each party holds the value of what he is receiving to be more than what he is giving. Otherwise he would not make the trade. In the mind of th e traders, therefore, the items have unequal value. That opinion is shared equally by them both. The shorter explanation, however, is less unwieldy.


barter than all others. This was because they had certain characteristics which made them useful or attractive to almost everyone. Eventually, they were traded, not for themselves, but because they represented a storehouse of value which could be exchanged at a latex time for something else. At that point, they ceased being barter and became true money. They were, according to our working definition, a medium of exchange. And, since that medium W as a commodity of intrinsic value, it may be described as commodity money.

Among primitive people, the most usual item to become commodity money was some form of food, either produce or livestock. Lingering testimony to this fact is our word pecuniary, which means pertaining to money. It is derived from the word pecunia, which is the Latin word for cow.

But, as society progressed beyond the level of bare existence, items other than food came into general demand. Ornaments were occasionally prized when the food supply was ample, and there is evidence of some societies using colored sea shells and unusual stones for this purpose. But these never seriously challenged the use of cattle, or sheep, or corn, or wheat, because these staples possessed greater intrinsic value for themselves even if they were not used as money.


Eventually, when man learned how to refine crude ores and to craft them into tools or weapons, the metals themselves became of ^alue. This was the dawning of the Bronze Age in which iron, copper, tin, and bronze were traded between craftsmen and merchants along trade routes and at major sea ports.

The value of metal ingots was originally determined by weight.

ten, as it became customary for the merchants who cast them to

arnp the uniform weights on the top, they eventually were valued

imply by counting their number. Although they were too large to

**)' m a pouch, they were still small enough to be transported

% and, in this form, they became, in effect, primitive but

^nctional coins.

The primary reason metals became widely used as commodity money is that they meet all of the requirements for convenient lading. I n addition to being of intrinsic value for uses other than 10 *ey, they are not perishable, which is more than one can say for



cows; by melting and reforming they can be divided into smaller units and conveniently used for purchases of minor items, which is not possible with diamonds, for example; and, because they are not in great abundance, small quantities carry high value, which means they are more portable than such items as timber, for example.

Perhaps the most important monetary attribute of metals, however, is their ability to be precisely measured. It is important to keep in mind that, in its fundamental form and function, money is both a storehouse and a measure of value. It is the reference by which all other things in the economy can be compared. It is essential, therefore, that the monetary unit itself be both measurable and constant. The ability to precisely assay metals in both purity and weight makes them ideally suited for this function. Experts may haggle over the precise quality of a gems tone, but an ingot of metal is either 99% pure or it isn't, and it either weighs 100 ounces or it doesn't. One's opinion has little to do with it. It is not without reason, therefore, that, on every continent and throughout history, man has chosen metals as the ideal storehouse and measure of value.


There is one metal, of course, that has been selected by centuries of trial and error above all others. Even today, in a world where money can no longer be defined, the common man instinctively knows that gold will do just fine until something better comes along. We shall leave it to the sociologists to debate why gold has been chosen as the universal money. For our purposes, it is only important to know that it has been. But we should not overlook the possibility that it was an excellent choice. As for quantity, there seems to be just the right amount to keep its value high enough for useful coinage. It is less plentiful than silver —which, incidentally, has run a close second in the monetary contest—and more abundant than platinum. Either could have served the purpose quite well, but gold has provided what appears to be the perfect compromise. Furthermore, it is a commodity in great demand for purposes other than money. It is sought for both industry and ornament, thus assuring its intrinsic value under all conditions. And, of course, its purity and weight can be precisely measured.


It often is argued that gold is inappropriate as money because it j s too limited in supply to satisfy the needs of modern commerce. On the surface, that may sound logical—after all, we do need a lot of money out there to keep the wheels of the economy turning— but, upon examination, this turns out to be one of the most childish ideas imaginable.

First of all, it is estimated that approximately 45% of all the gold mined throughout the world since the discovery of America is now in government or banking stockpiles. There undoubtedly is at least an additional 30% in jewelry, ornaments, and private hoards. Any commodity which exists to the extent of 75% of its total world production since Columbus discovered America can hardly be described as in short supply.

The deeper reality, however, is that the supply is not even important. Remember that the primary function of money is to measure the value of the items for which it is exchanged. In this sense, it serves as a yardstick or ruler of value. It really makes no difference if we measure the length of our rug in inches, feet, yards, or meters. We could even manage it quite well in miles if we used decimals and expressed the result in millimiles. We could even use multiple rulers, but no matter what measurement we use, the reality of what we are measuring does not change. Our rug does not become larger just because we have increased the quantity of measurement units by painting additional markers onto our rulers.

If the supply of gold in relation to the supply of available goods !S so small that a one-ounce coin would be too valuable for minor transactions, people simply would use half-ounce coins or tenth-ounce coins. The amount of gold in the world does not affect its ability to serve as money, it only affects the quantity that will be used to measure any given transaction.

Let us illustrate the point by imagining that we are playing a game of Monopoly. Each person has been given a starting supply £* play money with which to transact business. It doesn't take long before we all begin to feel the shortage of cash. If we just had more oney, we could really wheel and deal. Let us suppose further that ^nieone discovers another game-box of Monopoly sitting in the

(Oli *^ n Groseclose, Money and Man: A survey of Monetary Experience, 4th ed. ^Wahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1976), p. 259.

closet and proposes that the currency from that be added to the game under progress. By general agreement, the little bills are distributed equally among all players. What would happen?

The money supply has now been doubled. We all have twice as much money as we did a moment before. But would we be any better off? There is no corresponding increase in the quantity 0 f property, so everyone would bid up the prices of existing pieces until they became twice as expensive. In other words, the law of supply and demand would rapidly seek exactly the same equilibrium as existed with the more limited money supply. When the quantity of money expands without a corresponding increase in goods, the effect is a reduction in the purchasing power of each monetary unit. In other words, nothing really changes except that the quoted price of everything goes up. But that is merely the quoted price, the price as expressed in terms of the monetary unit. In truth, the real price, in terms of its relationship to all other prices, remains the same. It's merely that the relative value of the money supply has gone down. This, of course, is the classic mechanism of inflation. Prices do not go up. The value of the money goes down.

If Santa Claus were to visit everyone on Earth next Christmas and leave in our stockings an amount of money exactly equal to the amount we already had, there is no doubt that many would rejoice over the sudden increase in wealth. By New Year's day, however, prices would have doubled for everything, and the net result on the world's standard of living would be exactly zero.

The reason so many people fall for the appealing argument that the economy needs a larger money supply is that they zero in only on the need to increase their supply. If they paused for a moment to reflect on the consequences of the total supply increasing, the nonsense of the proposal becomes immediately apparent.

Murray Rothbard, professor of economics at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, says:

We come to the startling truth that it doesn't matter what the sttppty of money is. Any supply will do as well as any other supply. The fr e€ market will simply adjust by changing the purchasing power, ot effectiveness, of its gold-unit. There is no need whatever for a* 1 )' planned increase in the money supply, for the supply to rise to offset any condition, or to follow any artificial criteria. More money does not supply more capital, is not more productive, does not permit "economic growth."


The Federal Reserve claims that one of its primary objectives is to stabilize prices. In this, of course, it has failed miserably. The irony, however, is that maintaining stable prices is the easiest thing in the world. All we have to do is stop tinkering with the money supply and let the free market do its job. Prices become automatically stable under a commodity money system, and this is particularly true under a gold standard.

Economists like to illustrate the workings of the marketplace by creating hypothetical micro and macro economies in which everything is reduced to only a few factors and a few people. In that spirit, therefore, let us create a hypothetical economy consisting of only two classes of people: gold miners and tailors. Let us suppose that the law of supply and demand has settled on the value of one ounce of gold to be equal to a fine, custom-tailored suit of clothes. That means that the labor, tools, materials, and talent required to mine and refine one ounce of gold are equally traded for the labor, tools, and talent required to weave and tailor the suit. Up until tow, the number of ounces of gold produced each year have been roughly equal to the number of fine suits made each year, so prices have remained stable. The price of a suit is one ounce of gold, and the value of one ounce of gold is equal to one finely-tailored suit.

Let us now suppose that the miners, in their quest for a better

dard of living, work extra hours and produce more gold this

year ftan previously—or that they discover a new lode of gold

jjtocii greatly increases the available supply with little extra effort.

Now things are no longer in balance. There are more ounces of gold

^an there are suits. The result of this expansion of the money

"pply over and above the supply of available goods is the same as

our game of Monopoly. The quoted prices of the suits go up

^^se the relative value of the gold has gone down.

that fK prOCesS does not end there ' however. When the miners see

% are no better off than before in spite of the extra work, and

peciaJ y when they see the teilors making a greats profit for no

^olorrHi a n. R ° thbard ' What Has Government Done to Our Money? (Larkspur ^oo: Pine Tree Press, 1964), p. 13. V '


increase in labor, some of them decide to put down their picks and turn to the trade of tailoring. In other words, they are responding to the law of supply and demand in labor. When this happens, the annual production of gold goes down while the production of suits goes up, and an equilibrium is reached once again in which suits and gold are traded as before. The free market, if unfettered by politicians and money mechanics, will always maintain a stable price structure which is automatically regulated by the underlying factor of human effort. The human effort required to extract one ounce of gold from the earth will always be approximately equal to the amount of human effort required to provide the goods and services for which it is freely exchanged.


A perfect example of how commodities tend to self-regulate their value occurred in Germany at the end of World War II. The German mark had become useless, and barter was common. But one item of exchange, namely cigarettes, actually became a commodity money, and they served quite well. Some cigarettes were smuggled into the country, but most of them were brought in by U.S. servicemen. In either case, the quantity was limited and the demand was high. A single cigarette was considered small change. A package of twenty and a carton of two hundred served as larger units of currency. If the exchange rate began to fall too low—in other words, if the quantity of cigarettes tended to expand at a rate faster than the expansion of other goods—the holders of the currency, more than likely, would smoke some of it rather than spend it. The supply would diminish and the value would return to its previous equilibrium. That is not theory, it actually happened.

With gold as the monetary base, we would expect that improvements in manufacturing technology would gradually reduce the cost of production, causing, not stability, but a downward movement of all prices. That downward pressure, however, is partially offset by an increase in the cost of the more sophisticated tools that are required. Furthermore, similar technological effirien-cies are being applied in the field of mining, so everything tends to balance out. History has shown that changes in this natural equilibrium are minimal and occur only gradually over a long

1. See Galbraith, p. 250.

period of time. For example, in 1913, the year the Federal Reserve vvas enacted into law, the average annual wage in America was $633. The exchange value of gold that year was $20.67. That means that the average worker earned the equivalent of 30.6 ounces of gold per year.

In 1990, the average annual wage had risen to $20,468. That is a whopping increase of 3,233 per cent, an average rise of 42 per cent each year for 77 years. But the exchange value of gold in 1990 had also risen. It was at $386.90 per ounce. The average worker, therefore, was earning the equivalent of 52.9 ounces of gold per year- That is an increase of only 73 per cent, a rise of less than 1 per cent per year over that same period. It is obvious that the dramatic increase in the size of the paycheck was meaningless to the average American. The reality has been a small but steady increase in purchasing power (about 1 per cent per year) that has resulted from the gradual improvement in technology. This and only this has improved the standard of living and brought down real prices—as revealed by the relative value of gold.

In areas where personal service is the primary factor and where technology is less important, the stability of gold as a measure of value is even more striking. At the Savoy Hotel in London, one gold sovereign will still buy dinner for three, exactly as it did in 1913. And, in ancient Rome, the cost of a finely made toga, belt, and pair of sandals was one ounce of gold. That is almost exactly the same cost today, two-thousand years later, for a hand-crafted suit, belt, and a pair of dress shoes. There are no central banks or other human institutions which could even come close to providing that kind of price stability. And, yet, it is totally automatic under a gold standard.

In any event, before leaving the subject of gold, we should

^knowledge that there is nothing mystical about it. It is merely a

ornrnodity which, because it has intrinsic value and possesses

erta tn qualities, has become accepted throughout history as a

^edium of exchange. Hitler waged a campaign against gold as a

OQi of the Jewish bankers. But the Nazis traded heavily in gold and

ar gely financed their war machine with it. Lenin claimed that gold

is used only to keep the workers in bondage and that, after the

^olution, it would be used to cover the floors of public lavatories.

L e Soviet Union under Communism became one of the world's

^gest producers and users of gold. Economist John Maynard


Keynes once dismissed gold as a "barbaric metal." Many followers of Keynes today are heavily invested in gold. It is entirely possible of course, that something other than gold would be better as the basis for money. It's just that in over two thousand years, no one has been able to find it.


The amazing stability of gold as a measure of value is simply the result of human nature reacting to the forces of supply and demand. The process, therefore, may be stated as a natural law of human behavior:

LESSON: When gold (or silver) is used as money and when the forces of supply and demand are not thwarted by government intervention, the amount of new metal added to the money supply will always be closely proportional to the expanding services and goods which can be purchased with it Long-term stability of prices is the dependable result of these forces. This process is automatic and impartial. Any attempt by politicians to intervene will destroy the benefit for all. Therefore,

LAW: Long-term price stability is possible only when the money supply is based upon the gold (or silver) supply without government interference.

As the concept of money was slowly developing in the mind of ancient man, it became obvious that one of the advantages of using gold or silver as the medium of exchange was that, because of their rarity as compared to copper or iron, great value could be represented by small size. Tiny ingots could be carried in a pouch or fastened to a belt for ease of transportation. And, of course, they could be more readily hidden for safekeeping. Goldsmiths then began to fashion them into round discs and to put their stamps on them to attest to purity and weight. In this way, the world's first coins began to make their appearance.

It is believed that the first precious metal coins were minted by the Lydians in Asia Minor (now Northwest Turkey), in about 600 B.C. The Chinese used gold cubes as early as 2100 B.C. But it wasn't until the kings stepped into the picture that true coinage became a reality. It was only when the state certified the tiny discs that they became widely accepted, and it is to the Greeks more than anyone that we owe this development. Groseclose describes the result:

These light, shining discs, adorned with curious new emblems and a variety of vigorous, striking images, made a deep impression on both Greek and barbarian. And to the more practical minded, the abundance of uniform pieces of metal, each of a standard weight, certified by the authority of the state, meant a release from the cumbersomeness of barter and new and dazzling opportunities in every direction….

All classes of men succumbed to money, and those who had formerly been content to produce only for their needs and the necessities of the household, found themselves going to the market place with their handicraft, or the fruits of their toil, to exchange them for the coins they might obtain. 1


From the very beginning, the desire for a larger money supply led to practices which were destructive to the economy. Unscrupulous merchants began to shave off a tiny portion of each coin they handled—a process known as coin clipping—and then having the shavings melted down into new coins. Before long, the king's treasury began to do the same thing to the coins it received in taxes. In this way, the money supply was increased, but the supply of gold was not. The result was exactly what we now know always happens when the money supply is artificially expanded. There was inflation. Whereas one coin previously would buy twelve sheep, now it would only be accepted for ten. The total amount of gold needed for twelve sheep never really changed. It's just that everyone knew that one coin no longer contained it.

As governments became more brazen in their debasement of

2 currency, even to the extent of diluting the gold or silver

content, the population adapted quite well by simply "discount-

,r «" the new coins. That is to say, they accepted them at a realistic

^alue, which was lower than what the government had intended.

s was, as always, reflected in a general rise in prices quoted in

Tms of those coins. Real prices, in terms of labor or other goods or

^en of gold itself remained unchanged.

Governments do not like to be thwarted in their plans to exploit

I subjects. So a way had to be found to force people to accept

^ -se slugs as real money. This led to the first legal-tender laws. By

°ya! decree, the "coin of the realm," was declared legal for the

G rosecl

lose, Money and Man, p. 13.


settlement of all debts. Anyone who refused it at face value was subject to fine, imprisonment, or, in some cases, even death. The result was that the good coins disappeared from circulation and went into private hoards. After all, if the government forces you to accept junk at the same rate of exchange as gold, wouldn't you keep the gold and spend the junk? That is what happened in America in the '60s when the mint began to issue cheap metal tokens to replace the silver dimes, quarters, and half-dollars. Within a few months, the silver coins were in dresser drawers and safe-deposit boxes. The same thing has happened repeatedly throughout antiquity. In economics, that is called Gresham's Law: "Bad money drives out good/'

The final move in this game of legal plunder was for the government to fix prices so that, even if everyone is using only junk as money, they can no longer compensate for the continually expanding supply of it. Now the people were caught. They had no escape except to become criminals, which most of them, incidentally, chose to do. The history of artificially expanding money is the history of great dissatisfaction with government, much lawlessness, and a massive underground economy.


In more modern times, rulers of nations have become more sophisticated in the methods by which they debase the currency. Instead of clipping coins, it is done through the banking system. The consequences of that process were summarized in 1966 by Alan Greenspan who, a few years later, would became Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. Greenspan wrote:

The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit….

The law of supply and demand is not to be conned. As the supply of money (of claims) increases relative to the supply of tangible assets in the economy, prices must eventually rise. Thus the earnings saved by the productive members of the society lose value in terms of goods. When the economy's books are finally balanced, one finds that this loss in value represents the goods purchased by the government for welfare or other purposes….

In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store oi value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold…. The financial policy of the

welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.

This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the "hidden" confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights.

Unfortunately, when Greenspan was appointed as Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, he became silent on the issue of gold. Once he was seated at the control panel which holds the levers of power, he served the statists well as they continued to confiscate the people's wealth through the hidden tax of inflation. Even the wisest of men can be corrupted by power and wealth.


Returning to the topic of debasing the currency in ancient times, it must be stated that such practices were by no means universal. There are many examples throughout history of regents and kingdoms which used great restraint in money creation. Ancient Greece, where coinage was first developed, is one of them. The drachma became the defacto monetary unit of the civilized world because of the dependability of its gold content. Within its borders, cities flourished and trade abounded. Even after the fall of Athens in the Peloponnesian War, her coinage remained, for centuries, as the standard by which all others were measured. 2

Perhaps the greatest example of a nation with sound money, however, was the Byzantine Empire. Building on the sound monetary tradition of Greece, the emperor Constantine ordered the creation of a new gold piece called the solidus and a silver piece called the miliarense. The gold weight of the solidus soon became ed at 65 grains and was minted at that standard for the next eight-hundred years. Its quality was so dependable that it was freely accepted, under the name bezant, from China to Brittany, from the Baltic Sea to Ethiopia.

Byzantine laws regarding money were strict. Before being l drrutted to the profession of banking, the candidate had to have sponsors who would attest to his character, that he would not file

Idrnt la ? Greens P an ' " Gold and Economic Freedom/' in Capitalism: The Unknown £*h ed. Ayn Rand (New York: Signet Books, 1967), p. 101.

ren the Greeks ' under Solon, had one, brief experience with a debased cur-

PP U 9 Ut '* WaS Sh ° rt liVed/ and neVer re P eated " See Groseclose, Money and Man,

or chip either the solidi or the miliarensia, and that he would not issue false coin. Violation of these rules called for cutting off a hand. 1

It is an amazing fact of history that the Byzantine Empire flourished as the center of world commerce for eight-hundred years without falling into bankruptcy nor, for that matter, even into debt. Not once during this period did it devalue its money. "Neither the ancient nor the modern world/' says Heinrich Gelzer, "can offer a complete parallel to this phenomenon. This prodigious stability…secured the bezant as universal currency. On account of its full weight, it passed with all the neighboring nations as a valid medium of exchange. By her money, Byzantium controlled bom the civilized and the barbarian worlds/'


The experience of the Romans was quite different. Basically a militaristic people, they had little patience for the niceties of monetary restraint. Especially in the later Empire, debasement of the coinage became a deliberate state policy. Every imaginable means for plundering the people was devised. In addition to taxation, coins were clipped, reduced, diluted, and plated. Favored groups were given franchises for state-endorsed monopolies, the origin of our present-day corporation. And, amidst constantly rising prices in terms of constantly expanding money, speculation and dishonesty became rampant.

By the year 301 A.D., mutiny was developing in the army/ remote regions were displaying disloyalty, the treasury was empty, agriculture depressed, and trade almost at a standstill. It was then that Diocletian issued his famous price-fixing proclamation as the last measure of a desperate emperor. We are struck by the similarity to such proclamations in our own time. Most of the chaos can be traced directly to government policy. Yet, the politicians point the accusing finger at everyone else for their "greed" and "disregard for the common good." Diocletian declared:

1. he livre du prifet ou Vempereur Uon le Sage sur les corporations de Constantino?*' French translation from the Geneva text by Jules Nicole, p. 38. Cited by Groseclose, Money and Man, p. 52.

2. Byzantininsche Kulturgeschichte (Tubingen, 1909), p. 78. As quoted by Grose-dose, Money and Man, p. 54.


Who is of so hardened a heart and so untouched by a feeling of humanity that he can be unaware, nay that he has not noticed, that in the sale of wares which are exchanged in the market, or dealt with in the daily business of the cities, an exorbitant tendency in prices has spread to such an extent that the unbridled desire of plundering is held in check neither by abundance nor by seasons of plenty…. Inasmuch as there is seen only a mad desire without control, to pay no heed to the needs of the many,…it seems good to us, as we look into the future, to us who are the fathers of the people, that justice intervene to settle matters impartially. 1

What followed was an incredibly detailed list of mandated prices for everything from a serving of beer or a bunch of watercress to a lawyer's fee and a bar of gold. The result? Conditions became even worse, and the royal decree was rescinded five years later.

The Roman Empire never recovered from the crisis. By the fourth century, all coins were weighed, and the economy was slipping back into barter again. By the seventh century, the weights themselves had been so frequently changed that it was no longer possible to effect an exchange in money at all. For all practical purposes, money became extinct, and the Roman Empire was no more.


When new civilizations rose from the ruins of Rome, they reclaimed the lost discovery of money and used it to great advantage. The invention was truly a giant step forward for mankind, but there were many problems yet to be solved and much experimentation lay ahead. The development of paper

oney was a case in point. When a man accumulated more coins than he required for daily purchases, he needed a safe place to store

an. The goldsmiths, who handled large amounts of precious metals in their trades, had already built sturdy vaults to protect their own inventory, so it was natural for them to offer vault space o their customers for a fee. The goldsmith could be trusted to guard the coins well because he also would be euardine his own wealth. 6

When the coins were placed into the vault, the warehouseman ould give the owner a written receipt which entitled him to

As quoted by Groseclose, Money and Man, pp. 43-44.


withdraw at any time. At first, the only way the coins could be taken from the vault was for the owner to personally present the receipt. Eventually, however, it became customary for the owner to merely endorse his receipt to a third party who, upon presentation could make the withdrawal. These endorsed receipts were the forerunners of today's checks.

The final stage in this development was the custom of issuing, not just one receipt for the entire deposit, but a series of smaller receipts, adding up to the same total, and each having printed across the top: PAY TO THE BEAKER ON DEMAND. As the population learned from experience that these paper receipts were truly backed by good coin in the goldsmith's warehouse and that the coin really would be given out in exchange for the receipts, it became increasingly common to use the paper instead of the coin.

Thus, receipt money came into existence. The paper itself was useless, but what it represented was quite valuable. As long as the coin was held in safe keeping as promised, there was no difference in value between the receipt and the coin which backed it. And, as we shall see in the next chapter, there were notable examples of the honest use of receipt money at the very beginning of the development of banking. When the receipt was scrupulously honored, the economy moved forward. When it was used as a gimmick for the artificial expansion of the money supply, the economy convulsed and stagnated.


This is not a textbook on the history of money, so we cannot afford the luxury of lingering among the fascinating details. For our purposes, it is sufficient to recognize that human behavior in these matters is predictable and, because of that predictability, it is possible to formulate another principle that is so universal that it too, may be considered a natural law. Drawing from the vast experience of this early period, it can be stated as follows:

LESSON: Whenever government sets out to manipulate the money supply, regardless of the intelligence or good intentions of those who attempt to direct the process, the result is inflation/ economic chaos, and political upheaval. By contrast, whenever government is limited in its monetary power to only the maintenance of honest weights and measures of precious

metals, the result is price stability, economic prosperity, and political tranquility. Therefore,

LAW: For a nation to enjoy economic prosperity and political tranquility, the monetary power of its politicians must be limited solely to the maintenance of honest weights and measures of precious metals.

As we shall see in the following chapters, the centuries of monetary upheaval that followed that early period contain no evidence that this law has been repealed by modern man.

r SUMMARY Knowledge of the nature of money is essential to an understanding of the Federal Reserve. Contrary to common belief, the topic is neither mysterious nor complicated. For the purposes of this study, money is defined as anything which is accepted as a medium of exchange. Building on that, we find there are four kinds of money: commodity, receipt, fiat, and fractional. Precious metals were the First commodity money to appear in history and ever since have been proven by actual experience to be the only reliable base for an honest monetary system. Gold, as the basis of money, can take several forms: bullion, coins, and fully backed paper receipts. Man has been plagued throughout history with the false theory that the quantity of money is important, specifically that more money is better than less. This has led to perpetual manipulation and expansion of the money supply through such practices as coin clipping, debasement of the coin content, and, in later centuries, the issuance of more paper receipts than there was gold to back them. In every case, these practices have led to economic and political disaster. In those rare instances where man has refrained from manipulating the money supply and has allowed it to be determined by free-market production of the gold supply, the result has been prosperity and tranquility.

Chapter Eight


The history of paper money without precious-metal backing forced on the public by government decree; the emergence of our present-day fractional-reserve banking system based on the issuance of a greater amount of receipts for gold than the bank has in gold to back them up.

We previously have broken down the concept of money into four categories: commodity, receipt, fiat, and fractional. In the last chapter we examined commodity and receipt money in some detail. In doing so, we also established certain monetary principles which apply regardless of their form. We shall now turn to the remaining two categories, both of which are represented by paper and which are at the root of almost all of modern man's economic woes.


The American Heritage Dictionary defines fiat money as "paper money decreed legal tender, not backed by gold or silver." The two characteristics of fiat money, therefore, are (1) it does not represent anything of intrinsic value and (2) it is decreed legal tender. Legal tender simply means that there is a law requiring everyone to accept the currency in commerce. The two always go together because, since the money really is worthless, it soon would be rejected by the public in favor of a more reliable medium of exchange, such as gold or silver coin. Thus, when governments issue fiat money, they always declare it to be legal tender under pain of fine or imprisonment. The only way a government can exchange its worthless paper money for tangible goods and services is to give its citizens no choice.

The first notable use of this practice was recorded by Marco Polo during his travels to China in the thirteenth century. The famous explorer gives us this account:


The Emperor's mint then is in this same City of Cambaluc, and the way it is wrought is such that you might say he hath the Secret of Alchemy in perfection, and you would be right!…

What they take is a certain fine white bast or skin which lies between the wood of the tree and the thick outer bark, and this they make into something resembling sheets of paper, but black. When these sheets have been prepared they are cut up into pieces of different sizes. The smallest of these sizes is worth a half tornesel…. There is also a kind worth one Bezant of gold, and others of three Bezants, and so up to ten.

All these pieces of paper are issued with as much solemnity and authority as if they were of pure gold or silver; and on every piece, a variety of officials, whose duty it is, have to write their names and to put their seals. And when all is prepared duly, the chief officer deputed by the Kaan smears the Seal entrusted to him with vermilion and impresses it on the paper, so that the form of the Seal remains stamped upon it in red; the money is then authentic. Any one forging it would be punished with death. And the Kaan causes every year to be made such a vast quantity of this money, which costs him nothing, that it must equal in amount all the treasures in the world!

With these pieces of paper, made as I have described, he causes all payments on his own account to be made, and he makes them to pass current universally over all his Kingdoms…. And nobody, however important he may think himself, dares to refuse them on pain of death. And indeed everybody takes them readily.

One is tempted to marvel at the Kaan's audacious power and the subservience of his subjects who endured such an outrage; but our smugness rapidly vanishes when we consider the similarity to our own Federal Reserve Notes. They are adorned with signatures and seals; counterfeiters are severely punished; the government pays its expenses with them; the population is forced to accept them; they—and the "invisible" checkbook money into which they can be converted—are made in such vast quantity that it must equal in amount all the treasures of the world. And yet they cost nothing to make. In truth, our present monetary system is an almost exact replica of that which supported the warlords of seven centuries ago.

1. Original from Henry Thule's edition of Marco Polo's Travels, reprinted in W-Vissering, On Chinese Currency: Coin and Paper Money (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1877), reprinted 1968 by Ch'eng-wen Publishing Co., Taiwan, as cited by Anthony Sutton, The War on Gold (Seal Beach, California: '76 Press, 1977), pp. 26-28.


Unfortunately, the present situation is not unique to our history. In fact, after China, the next place in the world to adopt the use of fiat money was America; specifically, the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This event has been described as "not only the origin of paper money in America, but also in the British Empire, and almost in the Christian world."

In 1690, Massachusetts launched a military raid against the French colony in Quebec. She had done this before and, each time, had brought back sufficient plunder to more than pay for the expedition. This time, however, the foray was a dismal failure, and the men returned empty handed. When the soldiers demanded their pay, Massachusetts found its coffers empty. Disgruntled soldiers have a way of becoming unruly, so the officials scrambled for some way to raise the funds. Additional taxes would have been extremely unpopular, so they decided simply to print paper money. In order to convince the soldiers and the citizenry to accept it, the government made two solemn promises: (1) it would redeem the paper for gold or silver coin just as soon as there was sufficient tax revenue to do so, and (2) absolutely no additional paper notes would ever be issued. Both pledges were promptly broken. Only a few months later, it was announced that the original issue was insufficient to discharge the government's debt, and a new issue almost six times greater was put into circulation. The currency wasn't redeemed for nearly forty years, long after those who had made the pledge had faded from the scene.


Most of the other colonies were quick to learn the magic of the printing press, and the history that followed is a classic example of cause and effect: Governments artificially expanded the money supply through the issuance of fiat currency. This was followed by legal tender laws to force its acceptance. Next came the disappearance of gold or silver coins which went, instead, into private hoards or to foreign traders who insisted on the real thing for their wares. Many of the colonies repudiated their previous money by issuing new bills valued at multiples of the old. Then came political

1- Ernest Ludlow Bogart, Economic History of the American People (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1930), p. 172.

discontent and civil disobedience. And at the end of each cycle there was rampant inflation and economic chaos.

In 1703, South Carolina declared that its money was "a good payment and tender in law" and then added that, should anyone refuse to honor it as such, they would be fined an amount equal to "double the value of the bills so refused." By 1716, the penalty had been increased to "treble the value."


Benjamin Franklin was an ardent proponent of fiat money during those years and used his great influence to sell the idea to the public. We can get some idea of the ferment of the times by noting that, in 1736, writing in his Pennsylvania Gazette, Franklin apologized for its irregular publication, and explained that the printer was "with the Press, labouring for the publick Good, to make Money more plentiful." 2 The printing of money was apparently a major, time-consuming operation.

In 1737, Massachusetts devalued its fiat currency by 66%, offering one dollar of new currency for three of the old. The promise was made that, after five years, the new money would be fully redeemed in silver or gold. The promise was not kept

By the late 1750s, Connecticut had price inflated by 800%. The Carolinas had inflated 900%. Massachusetts 1000%. Rhode Island 2300%. 4 Naturally, these inflations all had to come to an end and, when they did, they turned into equally massive deflations and depressions. It has been shown that, even in colonial times, the classic booms and busts which modern economists are fond of blaming on an "unbridled free market" actually were direct manifestations of the expansion and contraction of fiat monev^ which no longer was governed by the laws of supply and demand.

1 Statutes at Large of South Carolina, 11. 211,665, as cited by George Bancroft, A Plea for the Constitution (Originally published by Harpers in 1886. Reprinted m Sewanee, Tennessee: Spencer Judd Publishers, 1982), p. 7.

2. Leonard W. Labaree, ed., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin (New Haven: Yaie University Press, 1960), Vol. 2, p. 159.

3. Province Laws, II. 826, cited by Bancroft, p. 14.

4. Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman, The Case for Gold (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 1982), p. 22. Also Sutton, The War on Gold, p. 44. n

5 See Donald L. Kemmerer, "Paper Money in New Jersey, 1668-1775, New Jersey Historical Society, Proceedings 74 (April 1956): pp. 107-144, as cited by Paul and Lehrman, The Case for Gold, p. 22.



By this time, coins had completely disappeared from the scene. Some were in private hoards, but most of them had been exported to other countries, leaving the colonies with little choice but to use fiat money or barter. Merchants from abroad were interested in neither of those, however, and international trade ground almost to a halt


The experiment with fiat money was a calamity to the colonists, but it was also a thorn in the side of the Bank of England. The bank had used its influence with the Crown to forbid the colonies to mint their own coins or to establish local banks. This meant that, if the colonists wanted the convenience of paper money, they would be forced to use the notes issued by the Bank of England. No one had anticipated that the colonial governments would be so inventive as to create their own paper money. So, in 1751, Great Britain began to pressure the colonies to redeem all of their currency and withdraw it from circulation. This they eventually did, and at bargain prices. By then, their fiat money was heavily discounted in the market place and the governments were able to buy back their own currency for pennies on the dollar.

The decree from the British Parliament, although heavily resented by the colonists, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The paper notes of the Bank of England never did become a primary medium of exchange. Probably because of their recent bad experience with paper money, the colonists merely brought what few gold and silver coins they had out of hiding and returned to a true commodity-money system. At first, the doomsdayers predicted this would spell further ruin for the colonial economy. '"There isn't enough money" was the all-too-familiar cry. But there was, indeed, quite enough for, as we have already seen, any amount is sufficient.


There was, in fact, a period in which other commodities became accepted as a secondary medium of exchange. Such items as nails, lumber, rice, and whisky filled the monetary void, but tobacco was the most common. Here was a commodity which was in great demand both within the colonies and for overseas commerce. It had intrinsic value; it could not be counterfeited; it could be divided into almost any denominational quantity; and its supply


could not be increased except by the exertion of labor. In other words, it was regulated by the law of supply and demand, which gave it great stability in value. In many ways, it was an ideal money. It was officially adopted as such by Virginia in 1642 and a few years later by Maryland, but it was used unofficially in all the other colonies, as well. So close was the identity of tobacco with money that the previous fiat currency of New Jersey, not a tobacco growing state, displayed a picture of a tobacco leaf on its face. It also carried the inscription: "To counterfeit is Death" Tobacco was used in early America as a secondary medium of exchange for about two-hundred years, until the new Constitution declared that money was, henceforth, the sole prerogative of the federal government.

The primary currency at that juncture, however, was still gold and silver coin, or specie, as it is called. And the immediate result of returning to a sound monetary unit was a rapid recovery from the economic stagnation previously inflicted by the booms and busts of fiat money. Trade and production rose dramatically, and this, in turn, attracted an inflow of gold and silver coin from around the world, filling the void that had been created by years of worthless paper. The law of supply and demand was visibly at work. For a while, Massachusetts had returned to specie while Rhode Island remained on fiat money. The result was that Newport, which had been the trade center for the West Indies, lost its trade to Boston and became an empty port. 2 After the colonies had returned to coin, prices quickly found their natural equilibrium and then stayed at that point, even during the Seven Years War and the disruption of trade that occurred immediately prior to the Revolution. There is no better example of the fact that economic systems in distress can and do recover rapidly if government does not interfere with the natural healing process.


The War for Independence brought all of this to a sudden halt. Wars are seldom funded out of the existing treasury, nor are they even done so out of increased taxes. If governments were to levy

1. Galbraith, pp. 48-50.

2. Paul and Lehrman, pp. 22-23.

3. 'The Colonial Monetary Standard of Massachusetts/' by Roger W. Weiss, Economic History Review, No. 27, November, 1974, p. 589.


taxes on their citizens fully adequate to finance the conflict, the amount would be so great that many of even its most ardent supporters would lose enthusiasm. By artificially increasing the money supply, however, the real cost is hidden from view. It is still paid, of course, but through inflation, a process that few people understand.

The American Revolution was no exception. In order to pay the bill for independence, both the Confederation and the individual states went heavily into the printing business. At the beginning of the war in 1775, the total money supply stood at $12 million. In June of that year, the Continental Congress issued another $2 million. Before the notes were even put into circulation, another $1 million was authorized. By the end of the year, another $3 million. In 1776, another $19 million. $13 million in 1777. $64 million in 1778. $125 million in 1779. And still more: the Continental Army issued its own "certificates" for the purchase of supplies totalling $200 million. A total of $425 million in five years on top of a base of $12 million is an increase of over 3500%. And, in addition to this massive expansion of the money supply on the part of the central government, it must be remembered that the states were doing exactly the same thing. It is estimated that, in just five years from 1775 to the end of 1779, the total money supply expanded by 5000%. By contrast, the amount raised in taxes over the five-year period was inconsequential, amounting to only a few million dollars.


The first exhilarating effect of this flood of new money was the flush of apparent prosperity, but that was quickly followed by inflation as the self-destruct mechanism began to operate. In 1775, paper Continentals were traded for one dollar in gold. In 1777, they were exchanged for twenty-five cents. By 1779, just four years from their issue, they were worth less than a penny. The phrase "Not Worth a Continental'' has its origin in this dismal period. Shoes sold for $5,000 a pair. A suit of clothes cost a million.

It was in that year that George Washington wrote, "A wagon oad of money will scarcely purchase a wagon load oP*provisions."

I Quoted by Albert S. Bolles, The Financial History of the United States (New York: D. Appleton, 1896,4th ed.), Vol. I, p. 13Z

Even Benjamin Franklin began to see the light. In a mood of sarcasm, he wrote:

This Currency, as we manage it, is a wonderful machine. It performs its Office when we issue it; it pays and clothes Troops and provides Victuals and Ammunition; and when we are obliged to issue a Quantity excessive, it pays itself off by Depreciation.

When speaking of deficit spending, it is common to hear the complaint that we are saddling future generations with the bill for what we enjoy today. Why not let those in the future help pay for what will benefit them also? Don't be deceived. That is a misconception encouraged by politicians to calm the public. When money is fiat, as the colonists discovered, every government building, public work, and cannon of war is paid out of current labor and current wealth. These things must be built today with today's labor, and the man who performs that labor must also be paid today. It is true that interest payments fall partly to future generations, but the initial cost is paid by those in the present. It is paid by loss of value in the monetary unit and loss of purchasing power for one's wages.


Fiat money is the means by which governments obtain instant purchasing power without taxation. But where does that purchasing power come from? Since fiat money has nothing of tangible value to offset it, government's fiat purchasing power can be obtained only by subtracting it from somewhere else. It is, in fact, "collected" from us all through a decline in our purchasing power. It is, therefore, exactly the same as a tax, but one that is hidden from view, silent in operation, and little understood by the taxpayer.

In 1786, Thomas Jefferson provided a clear explanation of this process when he wrote:

Every one, through whose hands a bill passed, lost on that bill what it lost in value during the time it was in his hands. This was a real tax on him; and in this way the people of the United States actually contributed those… millions of dollars during the war, and by a mode of taxation the most oppressive of all because the most unequal of all-

1. Letter to Samuel Cooper, April 22,1779, quoted by Albert Henry Smyth, ed., The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, (New York: Macmillan, 1906), Vol. VII, p. 294.

2. Thomas Jefferson, Observations on the Article Etats-Unis Prepared for the Encyclopedia, June 22, 1786, from Writings (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1894), Vol. IV, p. 165.



As prices skyrocketed, the colonies enacted wage and price controls, which was like plugging up the whistle on a tea kettle in hopes of keeping the steam from escaping. When that failed, there followed a series of harsh legal tender laws. One law even invoked the specter of treason. It said: "If any person shall hereafter be so lost to all virtue and regard for his Country as to refuse to receive said bills in payment-he shall be deemed, published, and treated as an enemy in this Country and precluded from all trade or intercourse with the inhabitants of these colonies." 1

Rhode Island not only levied a heavy fine for non-acceptance of its notes but, upon a secmd offense, an individual was stripped of citizenship. When a court declared the act unconstitutional, the legislature called the judges before it and summarily dismissed the offenders from office.


If the ravages of war were a harsh burden for the colonies to bear, the havoc of fiat money was equally so. After the war, inflation was followed by deflation as reality returned to the market place. Prices fell drastically, which was wonderful for those who were buying. But, for the merchants who were selling or the farmers who had borrowed heavily to acquire property at inflated wartime prices, it was a disaster. The new, lower prices were not adequate to sustain their fixed, inflated mortgages, and many hard-working families were ruined by foreclosure. Furthermore, most people still did not understand the inflation process, and there were many who continued to advocate the "paper money cure." Several of the states were receptive to the pressure, and their printing presses continued to roll.

Historian Andrew McLaughlin recalls a typical scene in Rhode Island at that time as witnessed by a visiting Frenchman:

A French traveler who passed through Newport about this time gives a dismal picture of the place: idle men standing with folded arms at the corners of the streets; houses falling to ruins; miserable shops offering for sale nothing but a few coarse stuffs;…grass growing in the streets; windows stuffed with rags; everywhere announcing misery,

| David Ramsay, History of the American Revolution (London: Johnson and Stock-

Jale, 1791), Vol. II, pp. 134-36.

2 — Merrill Jensen, The New Nation (New York: Vintage Books, 1950), p. 324.

the triumph of paper money and the influence of bad governmen*. The

merchants had closed their stores rather than take payment in pape^r;

farmers from neighboring states did not care to bring their produce.

Idleness and economic depression also led to outbursts of rebellion and insurrection. In 1786, George Washington wrote to James Warren: "The wheels of government are clogged anck.. we are descending into the vale of confusion and darkness/' Two years later, in a letter to Henry Knox, he said: "If… any person had told me that there would have been such formidable rebellion as exists, I would have thought him a bedlamite, a fit subject for a


Fortunately, there is a happy ending to that part of the story. As we shall see in a subsequent chapter, when the state delegates assembled to draft the Constitution, the effects of fiat money were so fresh in their minds they decided to put an end to it once and for all Then, the new republic not only rapidly recovered but went on to become the economic envy of the world—for a while, at least—until the lesson had been forgotten by following generations. But that is getting ahead of our story. For now, we are dealing with the topic of fiat money; and the experience of the American colonies is a classic example of what always happens when men succumb to its siren call.


Let us pause at this point and observe another of those lessons derived from centuries of experience. That lesson is so clear and so universal and so widely seen throughout history that it may be stated as a natural law of human behavior:

LESSON: Fiat money is paper money without precious-metal backing and which people are required by law to accept. It allows politicians to increase spending without raising taxes. Fiat money is the cause of inflation, and the amount which people lose in purchasing power is exactly the amount which was taken from them and transferred to their government by this process. Inflation, therefore, is a hidden tax.

1. Andrew C. McLaughlin, The Confederation and the Constitution (New York Collier Books, 1962), pp. 107-08. .

2. Harry Atwood, The Constitution Explained (Merrimac, Massachusetts: Destiny Publishers, 1927; 2nd ed. 1962), p. 3.

3. IM., p.4


This tax is the most unfair of all because it falls most heavily on those who are least able to pay™, the small wage earner and those on fixed incomes. It also punishes the thrifty by eroding the value of their savings. This creates resentment among the people, leading always to political unrest and national disunity. Therefore,

LAW: A nation that resorts to the use of fiat money has doomed itself to economic hardship and political disunity.


Let us turn, now, to the fourth and final possible form of money: a most intriguing concept called fractional money. And, to understand how this functions, we must return to Europe and the practice of the early goldsmiths who stored the precious metal coins of their customers for a fee.

In addition to the goldsmiths who stored coins, there was another class of merchants, called "scriveners" who loaned coins. The goldsmiths reasoned that they, too, could act as scriveners, but do so with other people's money. They said it was a pity for all that coin to just sit idle in their vaults- Why not lend it out and earn a profit which then could be split between themselves and their depositors? Put it to work, instead of merely gathering dust. They had learned from experience that very few of their depositors ever wanted to remove their coins at the same time. In fact, net withdrawals seldom exceeded ten or fifteen per cent of their stockpile. It seemed perfectly safe to lend up to eighty or even eighty-five per cent of their coins. And so the warehousemen began to act as loan brokers on behalf of their depositors, and the concept of banking, as we know it today^ was born.

That's the way many history books describe it, but there is more involved here than merely putting idle money to work. First of all, sharing the interest income with the owners of the deposits was not part of the original concept. That only became general practice many years later after the depositors became outraged and needed to be reassured that these loans were in their interest as well. In the beginning, they didn't even know that their coins were being loaned out. They naively thought that the goldsmiths were lending their own money.



In the second place, we need to consider whether the coin in the vault was even available for lending—regardless of whether or not the depositors received a part of the profit. Let us suppose that we are playing a game of poker at the home of Charlie Smith. Each of us has given $20 to Charlie who, acting as the banker, has put our money into a shoe box and given us, in return, twenty poker chips. It is the understanding that, anytime we want to go home, we can get back a dollar for each chip we have at that time. Now let us suppose that Charlie's brother-in-law, Larry, shows up, not to play poker, but to borrow some money. Since six of us are playing and each has put in $20, there is a total of $120 in the shoe box, and that turns out to be perfect for Larry's needs. You can imagine what would happen if Charlie decided to lend out the "idle" money. It is not available for lending.

Neither Charlie nor any of the players have the right to loan those dollars, because they are being held in escrow, so to speak, pending completion of the contract between Charlie and his guests. Those dollars no longer even exist as money. They have been replaced—in concept at least—by the poker chips. If any of us are so touched by Larry's story that we decide to loan him the money ourselves, we would have to do it with other dollars or cash in our chips for the dollars in the shoe box. In that case, of course, we could no longer stay in the game. VJe cannot spend, loan, or give away the deposit and also consider the chips to be worth anything.

If you are a member of an organization and have given your proxy to a friend to vote in your absence at the annual meeting, you cannot then show up and cast your own vote in addition to your proxy. Likewise, in the beginning of banking, the certificates which were circulated as money were, in effect, proxies for the coins. Consequently, those coins were not available for lending. Their monetary value had been assigned to the certificates. If the certificate holders had wanted to lend out their coins, they should have retired the certificates first. They were not entitled to hold spendable paper money and also authorize their banker to lend that same money as coins. One cannot spend, loan, or give away the coins and also consider the certificates to be worth anything.

All of this is just common sense. But there is another dimension to the problem which has to do with honesty in business contracts-

When the bankers used those coins as the basis for loans, they were putting themselves in a position of not having enough coin in the vault to make good on their contracts when it came time for depositors to take their money home. In other words, the new contracts were made with the full knowledge that, under certain circumstances, they would have to be broken. But the bankers never bothered to explain that. The general public was led to believe that, if they approved of putting these supposedly idle funds to work, they would be helping the economy and earning a little profit besides. It was an appealing proposal, and the idea caught on like wildfire.


Most borrowers wanted paper money, of course, not bulky coins, so, when they received their loans, they usually put the coins right back into the vault for safekeeping. They were then given receipts for these deposits which, as we have observed, were readily accepted in commerce as money. At this point, things began to get complicated. The original depositors had been given receipts for all of the bank's coins. But the bank now issued loans in the amount of eighty-five per cent of its deposits, and the borrowers were given receipts for that same amount. These were in addition to the original receipts. That made 85% more receipts than coins. Thus, the banks created 85% more money and placed it into circulation through their borrowers. In other words, by issuing phony receipts, they artificially expanded the money supply. At this point, the certificates were no longer 100% backed by gold. They now had a backing of only 54%, but they were accepted by the unsuspecting public as equal in value to the old receipts. The gold behind all of them, however, now represented only a fraction of their face value. Thus, the receipts became what may be called fractional money / and the process by which they were created is called fractional-reserve banking.

None of this shortfall unfortunately, was ever explained. The bankers decided that it would be better not to discuss reality where the public could hear. These facts became the arcane secrets of the profession. The depositors were never encouraged to question how the banks could lend out their money and still have it on hand to

1. 100 units of gold divided by 185 certificates equals .54


pay back on an instant's notice. Instead, bankers put on great airs of respectability, stability, and accountability; dressed and acted serious if not stern; erected great edifices resembling government buildings and temples, all to bolster the false image of being able to honor their contracts to pay on demand.

It was John Maynard Keynes who observed:

A "sound" banker, alas! is not one who foresees danger, and avoids it, but one who, when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional and orthodox way along with his fellows, so that no one can readily blame him. It is necessarily part of the business of a banker to maintain appearances, and to confess a conventional respectability, which is more than human. Life-long practices of this kind make them the most romantic and the least realistic of men.


Let us step back for a moment and analyze. In the beginning, banks served as warehouses for the safe keeping of their customers' coins. When they issued paper receipts for those coins, they converted commodity money into receipt money. This was a great convenience, but it did not alter the money supply. People had a choice of using either coin or paper but they could not use both. If they used coin, the receipt was never issued. If they used the receipt, the coin remained in the vault and did not circulate.

When the banks abandoned this practice and began to issue receipts to borrowers, they became magicians. Some have said they created money out of nothing, but that is not quite true. What they did was even more amazing. They created money out of debt.

Obviously, it is easier for people to go into debt than to mine gold. Consequently, money no longer was limited by the natural forces of supply and demand. From that point in history forward, it was to be limited only by the degree to which bankers have been able to push down the gold-reserve fraction of their deposits.

From this perspective, we can now look back on fractional money and recognize that it really is a transitional form between receipt money and fiat money. It has some of the characteristics of both. As the fraction becomes smaller, the less it resembles receipt money and the more closely it comes to fiat money. When the fraction finally reaches zero, then it has made the complete

1. As quoted by Lever and Huhne, Debt and Danger: The World Financial Crisis (New York: The Atlantic Monthly, 1986), p. 42.

transition and becomes pure fiat. Furthermore, there is no example in history where men, once they had accepted the concept of fractional money, didn't reduce the fraction lower and lower until, eventually, it became zero.

No bank can stay in business for very long with a zero reserve. The only way to make people accept such a worthless currency is by government force. That's what legal-tender laws are all about. The transition from fractional-reserve money to fiat money, therefore, requires the participation of government through a mechanism which is called a central bank. Most of the balance of this book will be devoted to a study of that Creature, but, for now, suffice it to say that the euphoria of being able to create money without human effort is so great that, once such a narcotic is taken, there is no politician or banker who can kick the habit. As William Sumner observed: "A man mieht as well jump off a precipice intending to stop half way down/


And so, once again, we come to one of those natural laws that emerge from centuries of human experience. It can be stated as follows:

LESSON: Fractional money is paper money which is backed by precious metals up to only a portion of the face amount. It is a hybrid, being part receipt money and part fiat money. Generally, the public is unaware of this fact and believes that fractional money can be redeemed in full at any time. When the truth is discovered, as periodically happens, there are runs on the bank, and only the first few depositors in line can be paid. Since fractional money earns just as much interest for the bankers as does gold or silver, the temptation is great for them to create as much of it as possible. As this happens, the fraction which represents the reserve becomes smaller and smaller until, eventually, it is reduced to zero. Therefore,

LAW: Fractional money will always degenerate into fiat money. It is but fiat money in transition.

So much for the overview and generalities. In the next chapter We shall see what history has to say on this process. And what a history it is!

l^ i]li n4 Gmham Swmer ' A Hisior y °f American Currency (New York: Holt,


Fiat money is paper money without precious-metal backing which people are required by law to accept. The first recorded appearance of fiat money was in thirteenth century China, but its use on a major scale did not occur until colonial America. The experience was disastrous, leading to massive inflation, unemployment, loss of property, and political unrest. During one period when the Bank of England forced the colonies to abandon theh fiat money, general prosperity quickly returned. The Revolutionary War brought fiat money back to the colonies with a vengeance. The economic chaos that resulted led the colonial governments to impose price controls and harsh legal tender laws, neither of which were effective.

Fractional money is defined as paper money with precious-metal backing for part, not all, of its stated value. It was introduced in Europe when goldsmiths began to issue receipts for gold which they did not have, thus only a fraction of their receipts was redeemable. Fractional money always degenerates into pure fiat money.

Chapter Nine


The condensed history of fractional-reserve banking; the unbroken record of fraud, booms, busts, and economic chaos; the formation of the Bank of England, the world's first central bank, which became the model for the Federal Reserve System,

Banks of deposit first appeared in early Greece, concurrent with the development of coinage itself. They were known in India at the time of Alexander the Great. They also operated in Egypt as part of the public granary system. They appeared in Damascus in 1200 and in Barcelona in 1401. It was the city-state of Venice, however, which is considered the cradle of banking as we know it today.


By the year 1361, there already had been sufficient abuse in banking that the Venetian Senate passed a law forbidding bankers to engage in any other commercial pursuit, thus removing the temptation to use their depositors' funds to finance their own enterprises. They were also required to open their books for public inspection and to keep their stockpile of coins available for viewing at all reasonable times. In 1524, a board of bank examiners was created and, two years later, all bankers were required to settle accounts between themselves in coin rather than by check.

In spite of these precautions, however, the largest bank at that time, the house of Pisano and Tiepolo, had been active in lending against its reserves and A in 1584, was forced to close its doors because of inability to refund depositors. The government picked up the pieces at that point and a state bank was established, the Banco della Piazza del Rialto. Having learned from the recent experience with bankruptcy, the new bank was not allowed to make any loans. There could be no profit from the issuance of credit. The bank was required to sustain itself solely from fees for coin storage, exchanging currencies, handling the transfer of payments between customers, and notary services.

The formula for honest banking had been found. The bank prospered and soon became the center of Venetian commerce. Its paper receipts were widely accepted far beyond the country's borders and, in fact, instead of being discounted in exchange for gold coin as was the usual practice, they actually carried a premium over coins. This was because there were so many kinds of coin in circulation and such a wide variance of quality within the same type of coin that one had to be an expert to evaluate their worth. The bank performed this service automatically when it took the coins into its vault. Each was evaluated, and the receipt given for it was an accurate reflection of its intrinsic worth. The public, therefore, was far more certain of the value of the paper receipts than of many of the coins and, consequently, was willing to exchange a little bit more for them.

Unfortunately, with the passage of time and the fading from memory of previous banking abuses, the Venetian Senate eventually succumbed to the temptation of credit. Strapped for funds and not willing to face the voters with a tax increase, the politicians decided they would authorize a new bank without restrictions against loans, have the bank create the money they needed, and then "borrow" it. So, in 1619, the Banco del Giro was formed, which, like its bankrupt predecessor, began immediately to create money out of nothing for the purpose of lending it to the government. Eighteen years later, the Banco della Piazza del Rialto was absorbed into the new bank, and history's first tiny flame of sound banking sputtered and died.

Throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, banks had been springing up all over Europe. Almost without exception, however, they followed the lucrative practice of lending money which was not truly available for loan. They created excess obligations against their reserves and, as a result, every one of them failed. That is not to say that their owners and directors did not prosper. It merely means that their depositors lost all or a part of their assets entrusted for safekeeping.


It wasn't until the Bank of Amsterdam was founded in 1609 that we find a second example of sound banking practices, and the results were virtually the same as previously experienced by the Banco della Piazza del Rialto, The bank only accepted deposits and


steadfastly refused to make loans. Its income was derived solely from service fees. All payments in and around Amsterdam soon came to be made in paper currency issued by the bank and, in fact, that currency carried a premium over coin itself. The burgomasters and the city council were required to take an annual oath swearing that the coin reserve of the bank was intact. Galbraith reminds us:

For a century after its founding it functioned usefully and with notably strict rectitude. Deposits were deposits, and initially the metal remained in storage for the man who owned it until he transferred it to another. None was loaned out. In 1672, when the armies of Louis XIV approached Amsterdam, there was grave alarm. Merchants besieged the bank, some in the suspicion that their wealth might not be there. All who sought their money were paid, and when they found this to be so, they did not want payment. As was often to be observed in the future, however desperately people want their money from a bank, when they are assured they can get it, they no longer want it.

The principles of honesty and restraint were not to be long lived, however. The temptation of easy profit from money creation was simply too great. As early as 1657, individuals had been permitted to overdraw their accounts which means, of course, that the bank created new money out of their debt. In later years enormous loans were made to the Dutch East Indies Company. The truth finally became known to the public in January of 1790, and demands for a return of deposits were steady from that date forward. Ten months later, the bank was declared insolvent and was taken over by the City of Amsterdam.


The third and last experience with honest banking occurred in Germany with the Bank of Hamburg. For over two centuries it faithfully adhered to the principle of safe deposit. So scrupulous was its administration that, when Napoleon took possession of the bank in 1813, he found 7,506,956 marks in silver held against liabilities of 7,489,343. That was 17,613 more than was actually needed. Most of the bank's treasure that Napoleon hauled away was restored a few years later by the French government in the form of securities. It is not clear if the securities were of much value but, even if they were, they were not the same as silver. Because of foreign invasion, the bank's currency was no longer fully convert-

1- Galbraith, p. 16.


ible into coin as receipt money. It was now fractional mone>, and the self-destruct mechanism had been set in motion. The bank lasted another fifty-five years until 1871 when it was ordered to liquidate all of its accounts.

That is the end of the short story of honest banking. From that point forward, fractional-reserve banking became the universaJ practice. But there were to be many interesting twists and turns in its development before it would be ready for something as sophisticated as the Federal Reserve System.


In England, the first paper money was the exchequer order of Charles II. It was pure fiat and, although it was decreed legal tender, it was not widely used. It was replaced in 1696 by the exchequer bill. The bill was redeemable in gold, and the government went to great lengths to make sure that there was enough actual coin or bullion to make good on the pledge. In other words, it was true receipt money, and it became widely accepted as the medium of exchange. Furthermore, the bills were considered as short-term loans to the government and actually paid interest to the holders.

In 1707, the recently created Bank of England was given the responsibility of managing this currency, but the bank found more profit in the circulation of its own banknotes, which were in the form of fractional money and which provided for the collection of interest, not the payment of it. Consequently, the government bills gradually passed out of use and were replaced by banknotes which, by the middle of the eighteenth century, became England's only paper money.

It must be understood that, at this time, the Bank of England was not yet fully developed as a central bank. It had been given a monopoly over the issue of banknotes within London and other prime geographic areas, but they were not yet decreed as legal tender. No one was forced to use them. They were merely private fractional receipts for gold coin issued by a private bank which the public could accept, reject, or discount at its pleasure. Legal tender status was not conferred upon the bank's money until 1833.

Meanwhile, Parliament had granted charters to numerous other banks throughout the empire and, without exception, the issuance of fractional money led to their ultimate demise and the ruin of

their depositors. "Disaster after disaster had to come upon the country," says Shaw, because "of the indifference of the state to these mere private paper tokens." 1 The Bank of England, however, was favored by the government above all others and, time after time, it was saved from insolvency by Parliament. How it came to be that way is an interesting story.


England was financially exhausted after half a century of war against France and numerous civil wars fought largely over excessive taxation. By the time of the War of the League of Augsberg in 1693, King William was in serious need for new revenue. Twenty years previously, King Charles II had flat out repudiated a debt of over a million pounds which had been lent to him by scores of goldsmiths, with the result that ten-thousand depositors lost their savings. This was still fresh in everyone's memory, and, needless to say, the government was no longer considered a good investment risk. Unable to increase taxes and unable to borrow, Parliament became desperate for some other way to obtain the money. The objective, says Groseclose, was not to bring "the money mechanism under more intelligent control, but to provide means outside the onerous sources of taxes and public loans for the financial requirements of an impecunious government." 2

There were two groups of men who saw a unique opportunity arise out of this necessity. The first group consisted of the political scientists within the government. The second was comprised of the monetary scientists from the emerging business of banking. The organizer and spokesman of this group was William Paterson from Scotland. Paterson had been to America and came back with a grandiose scheme to obtain a British charter for a commercial company to colonize the Isthmus of Panama, then known as Darien. The government was not interested in that, so Paterson turned his attention to a scheme that did interest it very much, the creation of money.

The two groups came together and formed an alliance. No, that is too soft a word. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a cabal

1- W. A. Shaw, Theory and Principles of Central Banking (London & New York; Sir L * itman & Sons, Ltd, 1930), pp. 32-32.

1 ~™"

as "A conspiratorial group of plotters or intriguers/' There is no other word that could so accurately describe this group. With much of the same secrecy and mystery that surrounded the meeting on Jekyll Island, the Cabal met in Mercer's Chapel in London and hammered out a seven-point plan which would serve their mutual purposes:

1. The government would grant a charter to the monetary scientists

to form a bank;

2. The bank would be given a monopoly to issue banknotes which

would circulate as England's paper currency;

3. The bank would create money out of nothing with only a fraction

of its total currency backed by coin;

4. The monetary scientists then would loan the government all the

money it needed;

5. The money created for government loans would be backed

primarily by government I.O.U.s;

6. Although this money was to be created out of nothing and would

cost nothing to create, the government would pay "interest" on it at the rate of 8%;

7. Government LO.U.s would also be considered as "reserves" for

creating additional loan money for private commerce. These loans also would earn interest. Thus, the monetary scientists would collect double interest on the same nothing.

The circular which was distributed to attract subscribers to the Bank's initial stock offering explained: "The Bank hath benefit of interest on all the moneys which it, the Bank, creates out of nothing/' The charter was issued in 1694, and a strange creature took its initial breath of life. It was the world's first central bank. Rothbard writes:

1. For an overview of these agreements, see Murray Rothbard, The Mystery of Banking (New York: Richardson & Snyder, 1983), p. 180. Also Martin Mayer, The Bankers (New York: Weybright & Talley, 1974), pp. 24-25.

2. Quoted by Carol! Quigley, Tragedy and Hope. A History of the World in Our Time (New York: Macmillan, 1966), p. 49. Paterson did not benefit from his own creation-He withdrew from the Bank over a policy disagreement within a few months after its formation and then returned to Scotland where he succeeded in selling his Darien scheme. Frugal Scots thronged to buy stock and to book passage to th e fever-ridden land. The stock became worthless and almost all the 1200 colonists lost their lives.


In short, since there were not enough private savers willing to finance the deficit, Paterson and his group were graciously willing to buy government bonds, provided they could do so with newly-created out-of-thin-air bank notes carrying a raft of special privileges with them. This was a splendid deal for Paterson and company, and the government benefited from the flimflam of a seemingly legitimate bank's financing their debts…. As soon as the Bank of England was chartered in 1694, King William himself and various members of Parliament rushed to become shareholders of the new money factory they had just created. 1


Both groups within the Cabal were handsomely rewarded for their efforts. The political scientists had been seeking about £500,000 to finance the current war. The Bank promptly gave them more than twice what they originally sought. The monetary scientists started with a pledged capital investment of £1,200,000. Textbooks tell us that this was lent to the government at 8% interest, but what is usually omitted is the fact that, at the time the loan was made, only £720,000 had been invested, which means the Bank "loaned" 66% more than it had on hand. 2 Furthermore, the Bauik was given the privilege of creating at least an equal amount of money in the form of loans to the public. So, after lending their capital to the government, they still had it available to loan out a second time.

An honest loan of their £720,000 at 8% would have yielded £57,600 interest. But, with the new secret science, they were able to earn 8% on £1,200,000 given to the government plus an estimated 9% on £720,000 loaned to the public. That adds up to £160,800, more than 22% on their investment. The real point, however, is that, under these circumstances, it is meaningless to talk about a rate of interest. When money is created out of nothing, the true interest rate is not 8% or 9% or even 22%. It is infinity.

In this first official act of the world's first central bank can be seen the grand pretense that has characterized all those which have followed. The Bank pretended to make a loan but what it really did was to manufacture the money for government's use. If the government had done this directly, the fiat nature of the currency would

I Rothbard, Mystery, p. 180.

I See R.D. Richards, Ph.D., The Early History of Banking in England (New York-Augustus M. Kelley, original edition 1929, reprinted 1965), pp. 148-50.


been immediately recognized, and it probably would not have been accepted at full face value in payment for the expenses of war. By creating money through the banking system, however, the process became mystifying to the general public. The newly created bills and notes were indistinguishable from those previously backed by coin, and the public was none the wiser.

The reality of central banks, therefore—and we must not forget that the Federal Reserve System is such a creature—is that, under the guise of purchasing government bonds, they act as hidden money machines which can be activated any time the politicians want. This is a godsend to the political scientists who no longer must depend on taxes or the good credit of their treasury to raise money. It is even easier than printing and, because the process is not understood by the public, it is politically safe.

The monetary scientists, of course, are amply paid for this service. To preserve the pretense of banking, it is said they collect interest, but this is a misnomer. They didn't lend money, they created it. Their compensation, therefore, should be called what it is: a professional fee, or commission, or royalty, or kickback, depending on your perspective, but not interest.


The new money created by the Bank of England splashed through the economy like rain in April. The country banks outside of the London area were authorized to create money on their own, but they had to hold a certain percentage of either coin or Bank of England certificates in reserve. Consequently, when these plentiful banknotes landed in their hands, they quickly put them into the vaults and then issued their own certificates in even greater amounts. As a result of this pyramiding effect, prices rose 100% in just two years. Then, the inevitable happened: There was a run on the bank, and the Bank of England could not produce the coin.

When banks cannot honor their contracts to deliver coin in return for their receipts, they are, in fact, bankrupt. They should be allowed to go out of business and liquidate their assets to satisfy their creditors just like any other business. This, in fact, is what always had happened to banks which loaned out their deposits and created fractional money. Had this practice been allowed to continue, there is little doubt that people eventually would have understood that they simply do not want to do business with those


kinds of banks. Through the painful but highly effective process of trial and error, mankind would have learned to distinguish real money from fool's gold. And the world would be a lot better because of it today.

That, of course, was not allowed to happen. The Cabal is a partnership, and each of the two groups is committed to protect each other, not out of loyalty, but out of mutual self interest. They know that, if one falls, so does the other. It is not surprising, therefore that, when there was a run on the Bank of England, Parliament intervened. In May of 1696, just two years after the Bank was formed, a law was passed authorizing it to "suspend payment in specie." By force of law, the Bank was now exempted from having to honor its contract to return the gold.


This was a fateful event in the history of money, because the precedent has been followed ever since. In Europe and America the banks have always operated with the assumption that their partners m government will come to their aid when they get into trouble. Politicians may speak about "protecting the public," but the underlining reality is that the government needs the fiat money produced by the banks. The banks, therefore-at least the bie ones- must not be allowed to fait Only a cartel with government KS 10n can ^W su <* insulation from the workings of a free

It is commonly observed in modern times that criminals often are treated lightly when they rob their neighbor. But if they steal from the government or a bank, the penalties are harsh. This is merely another manifestation of the Cabal's partnership. In the eyes of government, banks are special, and it has been that way even from the beginning of their brotherhood. For example, Galbraith tells us:

In 1780, when Lord George Gordon led his mob through London | in protest against the Catholic Relief Acts, the Bank was ^principal target It signified the Establishment. For so long as the Catholic Ttu T ° n Were bein S P illa ged, *e authorities were slow to react. When the siege of the Bank began, things were thought more senous. Troops intervened, and ever since soldiers have been sent to guard the Bank by night.

Galbraith, p. 34.


Once the Bank of England had been legally protected from the consequences of converting debt into money, the British economy was doomed to a nauseating roller-coaster ride of inflation, booms, and busts. The natural and immediate result was the granting of massive loans for just about any wild scheme imaginable. Why not? The money cost nothing to make, and the potential profits could be enormous. So the Bank of England, and the country banks which pyramided their own money supply on top of the Bank s supply, pumped a steady stream of new money into the economy. Great stock companies were formed and financed by this money. One was for the purpose of draining the Red Sea to recover the gold supposedly lost by the Egyptians when pursuing the Isrealites. £150,000,000 were siphoned into vague and fruitless ventures in South America and Mexico.

The result of this flood of new money—how many times mus history repeat it?-was even more inflation. In 1810, the House of Commons created a special committee, called the Select Committee on the High Price of Gold Bullion, to explore the problem and to find a solution. The verdict handed down in the final report was a model of clarity. Prices were not going up, it said. The value of the currency was going down, and that was due to the fact that it was being created at a faster rate than the creation of goods to be purchased with it. The solution? The committee recommended that She notes of the Bank of England be made fully convertible into gold coin, thus putting a brake on the supply of money that could be created.


One of the most outspoken proponents of a true gold standard was a Jewish London stockbroker by the name of David Ricardc Ricardo argued that an ideal currency "should be absolutely invariable in value/' 1 He conceded that precious metals were not perfect in this regard because they do shift in purchasing power to a small degree. Then he <*id: "They are, however, the best with which we are acquainted."

1. David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo: Pf^^7 1823, Piero Sraffa, ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1951), Vol. iv, p. 58.

2. Ibid., p. 62.


Almost everyone in government agreed with Ricardo's assessment, but, as is often the case, theoretical truth was fighting a losing battle against practical necessity. Men's opinions on the best form of money were one thing. The war with Napoleon was another, and it demanded a constant inflow of funding. England continued to use the central-bank mechanism to extract that revenue from the populace.


By 1815, prices had doubled again and then fell sharply. The Corn Act was passed that year to protect local growers from lower-priced imports. Then, when corn and wheat prices began to climb once more in spite of the fact that wages and other prices were falling, there was widespread discontent and rebellion. "By 1816," notes Roy Jastram, "England was in deep depression. There was stagnation of industry and trade generally; the iron and coal industries were paralyzed…. Riots occurred spasmodically from May through December."

In 1821, after the war had ended and there was no longer a need to fund military campaigns, the political pressure for a gold standard became too strong to resist, and the Bank of England returned to a convertibility of its notes into gold coin. The basic central-bank mechanism was not dismantled, however. It was merely limited by a new formula regarding the allowable fraction of reserves. The Bank continued to create money out of nothing for the purpose of lending and, within a year, the flower of a new business boom unfolded. Then, in November of 1825, the flower matured into its predestined fruit. The crisis began with the collapse of Sir Peter Cole and Company and was soon followed by the failure of sixty-three other banks. Fortunes were wiped out and the economy plunged back into depression.

When a similar crisis with still more bank failures struck again In 1839, Parliament attempted to come to grips with the problem. After five more years of analysis and debate, Sir Robert Peel Succeeded in passing a banking reform act. It squarely faced the cause of England's booms and busts: an elastic money supply. What Peel's Bank Act of 1844 attempted to do was to limit the amount of money the banks could create to roughly the same as it would be if

1- Roy W. Jastram, The Golden Constant (New York: Wiley, 1977), p. 113.

their banknotes were backed by gold or silver. It was a good try, but it ultimately failed because it fell short on three counts: (1) It was a political compromise and was not strict enough, allowing the banks to still create lending money out of nothing to the extent of £14,000,000; in other words, a "fractional" amount thought to be safe at the time; (2) The limitation applied only to paper currency issued by the Bank. It did not apply to checkbook money, and that was then becoming the preferred form of exchange. Consequently, the scxalled reform did not even apply to the area where the greatest amount of abuse was taking place; and (3) The basic concept was allowed to remain unchallenged that man, in his infinite political wisdom, can determine what the money supply should be more effectively than an unmanaged system of gold or silver responding to the law of supply and demand.


Within three years of the "reform/' England faced another crisis with still more bank failures and more losses to depositors. But when the Bank of England tottered on the edge of insolvency, once again the government intervened. In 1847, the Bank was exempted from the legal reserve requirements of the Peel Act. Such is the rock-steady dependability of man-made limits to the money


Groseclose continues the stoiy:

Ten years later, in 1857, another crisis occurred, due to excessive and unwise lending as a result of over-optimism regarding foreign trade prospects. The bank found itself in the same position as in 1847, and similar measures were taken. On this occasion the bank was forced to use the authority to increase its fiduciary [debt-based money] issue beyond the limit imposed by the Bank Charter Act….

Again in 1866, the growth of banking without sufficient attention to liquidity, and the use of bank credit to support a speculative craze…prepared the way for a crash which was finally precipitated by the failure of the famous house of Overend, Gurney and Co. The Act of 1844 was once more suspended….

In 1890, the Bank of England once again faced crisis, again the result of widespread and excessive speculation in foreign securities, particularly American and Argentine. This time it was the failure of Baring Brothers that precipitated the crash.


1. Groseclose, Money and Man, pp. 195-96.



It is an incredible fact of history that, in spite of the general and recurring failures of the Bank of England during these years, the central-bank mechanism was so attractive to the political and monetary scientists that it became the model for all of Europe. The Rank of Prussia became the Reichsbank. Napoleon established the Banque de France. A few decades later, the concept became the venerated model for the Federal Reserve System. Who cares if the scheme is destructive? Here is the perfect tool for obtaining unlimited funding for politicians and endless profits for bankers. And, best of all, the little people who pay the bills for both groups have practically no idea what is being done to them.


The business of banking began in Europe in the fourteenth century. Its function was to evaluate, exchange, and safeguard people's coins. In the beginning, there were notable examples of totally honest banks which operated with remarkable efficiency considering the vast variety of coinage they handled. They also issued paper receipts which were so dependable they freely circulated as money and cheated no one in the process. But there was a great demand for more money and more loans, and the temptation soon caused the bankers to seek easier paths. They began lending out pieces of paper that said they were receipts, but which in fact were counterfeit. The public could not tell one from the other and accepted both of them as money. From that point forward, the receipts in circulation exceeded the gold held in reserve, and the age of fractional-reserve banking had dawned. This led immediately to what would become an almost unbroken record from then to the present: a record of inflation, booms and busts, suspension of payments, bank failures, repudiation of currencies, and recurring spasms of economic chaos.

The Bank of England was formed in 1694 to institutionalize fractional-reserve banking. As the world's first central bank, it introduced the concept of a partnership between bankers and politicians. The politicians would receive spendable money (created out of nothing by the bankers) without having to raise taxes. In return, the bankers would receive a commission on the transaction—deceptively called interest—which would continue in perpetuity. Since it all seemed to be wrapped up in the mysterious rituals

of banking, which the common man was not expected to understand, there was practically no opposition to the scheme. The arrangement proved so profitable to the participants that it soon spread to many other countries in Europe and, eventually, to the United States.

Chapter Ten


The method by which the Federal Reserve creates money out of nothing; the concept of usury as the payment of interest on pretended loans; the true cause of the hidden tax called inflation; the way in which the Fed creates boom-bust cycles.

In the 1940s, there was a comic strip character called Mandrake the Magician. His specialty was creating things out of nothing and, when appropriate, to make them disappear back into that same void. It is fitting, therefore, that the process to be described in this section should be named in his honor.

In the previous chapters, we examined the technique developed by the political and monetary scientists to create money out of nothing for the purpose of lending. This is not an entirely accurate description because it implies that money is created first and then waits for someone to borrow it. On the other hand, textbooks on banking often state that money is created out of debt. This also is misleading because it implies that debt exists first and then is converted into money. In truth, money is not created until the instant it is borrowed. It is the act of borrowing which causes it to spring into existence. And, incidentally, it is the act of paying off the debt that causes it to vanish. There is no short phrase that perfectly describes that process. So, until one is invented along the way, we shall continue using the phrase "create money out of nothing" and occasionally add "for the purpose of lending" where necessary to further clarify the meaning.

B Printed Federal Reserve Notes that sit in the Treasury's vault do not become money until they are released into circulation in exchange for checkbook money that was created by a bank loan. As long as the bills are in the vault with no debt-based money to replace them, they technically are just paper, not money.

So, let us now leave the historical figures of the past and jump into their "future/' in other words, into our present, and see just how far this money/debt-creation process has been carried—and how it works.

The first fact that needs to be considered is that our money today has no gold or silver behind it whatsoever. The fraction is not 54% nor 15%. It is 0%. It has travelled the path of all previous fractional money in history and already has degenerated into pure fiat money. The fact that most of it is in the form of checkbook balances rather than paper currency is a mere technicality; and the fact that bankers speak about "reserve ratios" is eye wash. The so-called reserves to which they refer are, in fact, Treasury bonds and other certificates of debt . Our money is pure fiat through and through.

The second fact that needs to be clearly understood is that, in spite of the technical jargon and seemingly complicated procedures, the actual mechanism by which the Federal Reserve creates money is quite simple. They do it exactly the same way the goldsmiths of old did except, of course, the goldsmiths were limited by the need to hold some precious metal in reserve, whereas the Fed has no such restriction.


The Federal Reserve itself is amazingly frank about this process. A booklet published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York tells us: "Currency cannot be redeemed, or exchanged, for Treasury gold or any other asset used as backing. The question of just what assets 'back' Federal Reserve notes has little but bookkeeping significance."

Elsewhere in the same publication we are told: "Banks are creating money based on a borrower's promise to pay (the IOU)… Banks create money by 'monetizing' the private debts of businesses and individuals."

In a booklet entitled Modern Money Mechanics, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago says:

In the United States neither paper currency nor deposits have value as commodities. Intrinsically, a dollar bill is just a piece of paper. Deposits are merely book entries. Coins do have some intrinsic value as metal, but generally far less than their face amount.

1. I Bet You Thought, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, p. 11.

2. Ibid., p. 19.


What, then, makes these instruments—checks, paper money, and coins—acceptable at face value in payment of all debts and for other monetary uses? Mainly, it is the confidence people have that they will be able to exchange such money for other financial assets and real goods and services whenever they choose to do so. This partly is a matter of law; currency has been designated "legal tender" by the government—that is, it must be accepted. 1

In the fine print of a footnote in a bulletin of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, we find this surprisingly candid explanation:

Modern monetary systems have a fiat base—literally money by decree—with depository institutions, acting as fiduciaries, creating obligations against themselves with the fiat base acting in part as reserves. The decree appears on the currency notes: "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." While no individual could refuse to accept such money for debt repayment, exchange contracts could easily be composed to thwart its use in everyday commerce. However, a forceful explanation as to why money is accepted is that the federal government requires it as payment for tax liabilities. Anticipation of the need to clear this debt creates a demand for the pure fiat dollar.


It is difficult for Americans to come to grips with the fact that their total money supply is backed by nothing but debt, and it is even more mind boggling to visualize that, if everyone paid back all that was borrowed, there would be no money left in existence. That's right, there would be not one penny in circulation—all coins and all paper currency would be returned to bank vaults—and there would be not one dollar in any one's checking account. In short, all money would disappear.

Marriner Eccles was the Governor of the Federal Reserve System in 1941. On September 30 of that year, Eccles was asked to give testimony before the House Committee on Banking and Currency. The purpose of the hearing was to obtain information regarding the role of the Federal Reserve in creating conditions that led to the depression of the 1930s. Congressman Wright Patman, who was Chairman of that committee, asked how the Fed got the money to purchase two billion dollars worth of government bonds in 1933. This is the exchange that followed.

- Modern Money Mechanics, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, revised October 1982, p. 3.

2. "Money, Credit and Velocity," Review, May, 1982, Vol. 64, No. 5, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, p. 25.

ECCLES: We created it.

PATMAN: Out of what?

ECCLES: Out of the right to issue credit money.

PATMAN: And there is nothing behind it, is there, except our government's credit?

ECCLES: That is what our money system is. If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn't be any money.

It must be realized that, while money may represent an asset to selected individuals, when it is considered as an aggregate of the total money supply, it is not an asset at all. A man who borrows $1,000 may think that he has increased his financial position by that amount but he has not. His $1,000 cash asset is offset by his $1,000 loan liability, and his net position is zero. Bank accounts are exactly the same on a larger scale. Add up all the bank accounts in the nation, and it would be easy to assume that all that money represents a gigantic pool of assets which support the economy. Yet, every bit of this money is owed by someone. Some will owe nothing. Others will owe many times what they possess. All added together, the national balance is zero. What we think is money is but a grand illusion. The reality is debt.

Robert Hemphill was the Credit Manager of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta. In the foreword to a book by Irving Fisher, entitled 100% Money, Hemphill said this:

If all the bank loans were paid, no one could have a bank deposit, and there would not be a dollar of coin or currency in circulation. This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash, or credit. If the banks create ample synthetic money we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent money system. When one gets a complete grasp of the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless situation is almost incredible—but there it is. 1

With the knowledge that money in America is based on debt, it should not come as a surprise to learn that the Federal Reserve System is not the least interested in seeing a reduction in debt in this


1. Irving Fisher, 100% Money (New York: Adelphi, 1936), p. xxii.

country, regardless of public utterances to the contrary. Here is the bottom line from the System's own publications. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says: "A large and growing number of analysts, on the other hand, now regard the national debt as something useful, if not an actual blessing…. [They believe] the national debt need not be reduced at all."

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago adds: "Debt—public and private—is here to stay. It plays an essential role in economic processes.. .. What is required is not the abolition of debt, but its prudent use and intelligent management. " 2


There is a kind of fascinating appeal to this theory. It gives those who expound it an aura of intellectualism, the appearance of being able to grasp a complex economic principle that is beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. And, for the less academically minded, it offers the comfort of at least sounding moderate. After all, whafs wrong with a little debt, prudently used and intelligently managed? The answer is nothing, provided the debt is based on an honest transaction. There is plenty wrong with it if it is based upon fraud.

An honest transaction is one in which a borrower pays an agreed upon sum in return for the temporary use of a lender's asset. That asset could be anything of tangible value. If it were an automobile, for example, then the borrower would pay "rent." If it is money, then the rent is called "interest." Either way, the concept is the same.

When we go to a lender—either a bank or a private party—and receive a loan of money, we are willing to pay interest on the loan in recognition of the fact that the money we are borrowing is an asset which we want to use. It seems only fair to pay a rental fee for that asset to the person who owns it. It is not easy to acquire an automobile, and it is not easy to acquire money— real money, that is. If the money we are borrowing was earned by someone's labor and talent, they are fully entitled to receive interest on it. But what are we to Wnk of money that is created by the mere stroke of a pen or the click of a computer key? Why should anyone collect a rental fee on that?

]■ TheNational Debt, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, pp. 2,11 2 — Two Faces of Debt, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, p. 33.

When banks place credits into your checking account, they are merely pretending to lend you money. In reality, they have nothing to lend. Even the money that non-indebted depositors have placed with them was originally created out of nothing in response to someone else's loan. So what entitles the banks to collect rent on nothing? It is immaterial that men everywhere are forced by law to accept these nothing certificates in exchange for real goods and services. We are talking here, not about what is legal, but what is moral. As Thomas Jefferson observed at the time of his protracted battle against central banking in the United States, "No one has a natural right to the trade of money lender, but he who has money to lend/' 1


Centuries ago, usury was defined as any interest charged for a loan. Modern usage has redefined it as excessive interest. Certainly, any amount of interest charged for a pretended loan is excessive. The dictionary, therefore, needs a new definition. Usury: The charging of any interest on a loan of fiat money.

Let us, therefore, look at debt and interest in this light Thomas Edison summed up the immorality of the system when he said:

People who will not turn a shovel full of dirt on the project nor contribute a pound of materials will collect more money…than will the people who will supply all the materials and do all the work

Is that an exaggeration? Let us consider the purchase of a $100,000 home in which $30,000 represents the cost of the land, architect's fee, sales commissions, building permits, and that sort of thing and $70,000 is the cost of labor and building materials. If the home buyer puts up $30,000 as a down payment, then $70,000 must be borrowed. If the loan is issued at 11% over a 30-year period, the amount of interest paid will be $167,806. That means the amount paid to those who loan the money is about 2 V2 times greater than paid to those who provide all the labor and all the materials. It is true that this figure represents the time-value of that money over thirty years and easily could be justified on the basis that a lender deserves to be compensated for surrendering the use of his capital for half a lifetime. But that assumes the lender actually had something to surrender, that he had earned the capital, saved it, and then loaned it for construction of someone else's house. What are we to think, however, about a lender who did nothing to earn the money, had not saved it, and, in fact, simply created it out of thin air? What is the time-value of nothing?

1. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Library Edition (Washington: Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903), Vol XIII, p. 277-78.

2. As quoted by Brian L. Bex, The Hidden Hand (Spencer, Indiana: Owen Litho, 1975), p. 161. Unfortunately, Edison did not understand the whole problem. He was correctly opposed to paying interest to banks for their fiat money, but he was not opposed to government fiat money. It was only the interest to which he objected. He did not see the larger picture of how fiat money, even when issued solely by the government and without interest has always been destructive of the economy through the creation of inflation, booms, and busts.

As we have already shown, every dollar that exists today, either in the form of currency, checkbook money, or even credit card money—in other words, our entire money supply—exists only because it was borrowed by someone; perhaps not you, but someone. That means all the American dollars in the entire world are earning daily and compounded interest for the banks which created them. A portion of every business venture, every investment, every profit, every transaction which involves money—and that even includes losses and the payment of taxes —a portion of all that is earmarked as payment to a bank. And what did the banks do to earn this perpetually flowing river of wealth? Did they lend out their own capital obtained through the investment of stockholders? Did they lend out the hard-earned savings of their depositors? No, neither of these were their major source of income. They simply waved the magic wand called fiat money.

The flow of such unearned wealth under the guise of interest can only be viewed as usury of the highest magnitude. Even if there were no other reasons to abolish the Fed, the fact that it is the supreme instrument of usury would be more than sufficient by itself.


One of the most perplexing questions associated with this process is "Where does the money come from to pay the interest?" If you borrow $10,000 from a bank at 9%, you owe $10,900. But the bank Only manufactures $10,000 for the loan. It would seem, therefore, that there is no way that you—and all others with similar loans— can possibly pay off your indebtedness. The amount of money put into circulation just isn't enough to cover the total debt, including interest. This has led some to the conclusion that it is necessary for you to borrow the $900 for the interest, and that, in turn, leads to still more interest. The assumption is that, the more we borrow, the more we have to borrow, and that debt based on fiat money is a never-ending spiral leading inexorably to more and more debt.

This is a partial truth. It is true that there is not enough money created to include the interest, but it is a fallacy that the only way to pay it back is to borrow still more. The assumption fails to take into account the exchange value of labor. Let us assume that you pay back your $10,000 loan at the rate of approximately $900 per month and that about $80 of that represents interest. You realize you are hard pressed to make your payments so you decide to take on a part-time job. The bank, on the other hand, is now making $80 profit each month on your loan. Since this amount is classified as "interest," it is not extinguished as is the larger portion which is a return of the loan itself. So this remains as spendable money in the account of the bank. The decision then is made to have the bank's floors waxed once a week. You respond to the ad in the paper and are hired at $80 per month to do the job. The result is that you earn the money to pay the interest on your loan, and—this is the point—the money you receive is the same money which you previously had paid. As long as you perform labor for the bank each month, the same dollars go into the bank as interest, then out the revolving door as your wages, and then back into the bank as loan repayment.

It is not necessary that you work directly for the bank. No matter where you earn the money, its origin was a bank and its ultimate destination is a bank. The loop through which it travels can be large or small, but the fact remains all interest is paid eventually by human effort. And the significance of that fact is even more startling than the assumption that not enough money is created to pay back the interest. It is that the total of this human effort ultimately is for the benefit of those who create fiat money. It is a form of modern serfdom in which the great mass of society works as indentured servants to a ruling class of financial nobility.


That's really all one needs to know about the operation of the banking cartel under the protection of the Federal Reserve. But it would be a shame to stop here without taking a look at the actual cogs, mirrors, and pulleys that make the magical mechanism work. It is a truly fascinating engine of mystery and deception. Let us, therefore, turn our attention to the actual process by which the magicians create the illusion of modern money. First we shall stand back for a general view to see the overall action. Then we shall move in closer and examine each component in detail.



The entire function of this machine is to convert debt into money. It's just that simple. First, the Fed takes all the government bonds which the public does not buy and writes a check to Congress in exchange for them. (It acquires other debt obligations as well, but government bonds comprise most of its inventory.) There is no money to back up this check. These fiat dollars are created on the spot for that purpose. By calling those bonds "reserves," the Fed then uses them as the base for creating 9 additional dollars for every dollar created for the bonds themselves. The money created for the bonds is spent by the government, whereas the money created on top of those bonds is the source of all the bank loans made to the nation's businesses and individuals. The result of this process is the same as creating money on a printing press, but the illusion is based on an accounting trick rather than a printing trick. The bottom line is that Congress and the banking cartel have entered into a partnership in which the cartel has the privilege of collecting interest on money which it creates out of nothing, a perpetual override on every American dollar that exists in the world. Congress, on the other hand, has access to unlimited funding without having to tell the voters their taxes are being raised through the process of inflation. If you understand this paragraph, you understand the Federal Reserve System.


Now for a more detailed view. There are three general ways in which the Federal Reserve creates fiat money out of debt. One is by making loans to the member banks through what is called the Discount Window. The second is by purchasing Treasury bonds and other certificates of debt through what is called the Open Market Committee. The third is by changing the so-called reserve ratio that member banks are required to hold. Each method is merely a different path to the same objective: taking in IOUs and converting them into spendable money.


The Discount Window is merely bankers' language for the loan window. When banks run short of money, the Federal Reserve stands ready as the "bankers' bank" to lend it. There are many reasons for them to need loans. Since they hold "reserves" of only about one or two per cent of their deposits in vault cash and eight or nine per cent in securities, their operating margin is extremely thin. It is common for them to experience temporary negative balances caused by unusual customer demand for cash or unusually large clusters of checks all clearing through other banks at the same time. Sometimes they make bad loans and, when these former "assets" are removed from their books, their "reserves" are also decreased and may, in fact, become negative. Finally, there is the profit motive. When banks borrow from the Federal Reserve at one interest rate and lend it out at a higher rate, there is an obvious advantage. But that is merely the beginning. When a bank borrows a dollar from the Fed, it becomes a one-dollar reserve. Since the banks are required to keep reserves of only about ten per cent, they actually can loan up to nine dollars for each dollar borrowed.

Let's take a look at the math. Assume the bank receives $1 million from the Fed at a rate of 8%. The total annual cost, therefore, is $80,000 (.08 X $1,000,000). The bank treats the loan as a cash deposit, which means it becomes the basis for manufacturing an additional $9 million to be lent to its customers. If we assume that it lends that money at 11% interest, its gross return would be $990,000 (.11 X $9,000,000). Subtract from this the bank's cost of $80,000 plus an appropriate share of its overhead, and we have a net return of about $900,000. In other words, the bank borrows a million and can almost double it in one year. 1 That's leverage] But don't forget the source of that leverage: the manufacture of another $9 million which is added to the nation's money supply.

1. This 10% figure (ten-to-one ratio) is based on averages. The Federal Reserve requires a minimum reserve of 10% on deposits over $46.8 million but only 3% on deposits up to that amount. Deposits in Eurodollars and nonpersonal time deposits require no reserves at all. Reserves consist of vault cash and deposits at the Federal Reserve. See Regulation D; Reserve Requirements of Depositor]/ Institutions, Federal Reserve document 12 CFR 204; as amended effective December 22, 1992, p. 23.



The most important method used by the Federal Reserve for the creation of fiat money is the purchase and sale of securities on the open market. But, before jumping into this, a word of warning. Don't expect what follows to make any sense. Just be prepared to know that this is how they do it.

The trick lies in the use of words and phrases which have technical meanings quite different from what they imply to the average citizen. So keep your eye on the words. They are not meant to explain but to deceive. In spite of first appearances, the process is not complicated. It is just absurd.


Start with…


The federal government adds ink to a piece of paper, creates impressive designs around the edges, and calls it a bond or Treasury note. It is merely a promise to pay a specified sum at a specified interest on a specified date. As we shall see in the following steps, this debt eventually becomes the foundation for almost the entire nation's money supply. 2 In reality, the government has created cash, but it doesn't yet look like cash. To convert these IOUs into paper bills and checkbook money is the function of The Federal Reserve System. To bring about that transformation, the bond is given to the Fed where it is then classified as a …

I lite banks must cover these loans with bonds or other interest-bearing assets wnich it possesses, but that does not diminish the money-multiplier effect of the new deposit. r

I Debt obligations from the private sector and from other governments also are used in the same way, but government bonds are the primary instruments.


An instrument of government debt is considered an asset because it is assumed the government will keep its promise to pay. This is based upon its ability to obtain whatever money it needs through taxation. Thus, the strength of this asset is the power to take back that which it gives. So the Federal Reserve now has an "asset" which can be used to offset a liability. It then creates this liability by adding ink to yet another piece of paper and exchanging that with the government in return for the asset. That second piece of paper is a …


There is no money in any account to cover this check. Anyone else doing that would be sent to prison. It is legal for the Fed, however, because Congress wants the money, and this is the easiest way to get it. (To raise taxes would be political suicide; to depend on the public to buy all the bonds would not be realistic, especially if interest rates are set artificially low; and to print very large quantities of currency would be obvious and controversial.) This way, the process is mysteriously wrapped up in the banking system. The end result, however, is the same as turning on government printing presses and simply manufacturing fiat money (money created by the order of government with nothing of tangible value backing it) to pay government expenses. Yet, in accounting terms, the books are said to be balanced" because the liability of the money is offset by the "asset" of the IOU. The Federal Reserve check received by the government then is endorsed and sent back to one of the Federal Reserve banks where it now becomes a …


Once the Federal Reserve check has been deposited into the government's account, it is used to pay government expenses and, thus, is transformed into many …


These checks become the means by which the first wave of fiat money floods into the economy. Recipients now deposit them into their own bank accounts where they become …


Commercial bank deposits immediately take on a split personality. On the one hand, they are liabilities to the bank because they are owed back to the depositors. But, as long as they remain in the bank, they also are considered as assets because they are on hand. Once again, the books are balanced: the assets offset the liabilities. But the process does not stop there. Through the magic of fractional-reserve banking, the deposits are made to serve an additional and more lucrative purpose. To accomplish this, the on-hand deposits now become reclassified in the books and called …


Reserves for what? Are these for paying off depositors should they want to close out their accounts? No. That's the lowly function they served when they were classified as mere assets. Now that they have been given the name of "reserves," they become the magic wand to materialize even larger amounts of fiat money. This is where the real action is: at the level of the commercial banks. Here's how it works. The banks are permitted by the Fed to hold as little as 10% of their deposits in "reserve." That means, if they receive deposits of $1 million from the first wave of fiat money created by the Fed, they have $900,000 more than they are required to keep on hand ($1 million less 10% reserve). In bankers' language, that $900,000 is called…


The word "excess" is a tipoff that these so-called reserves have a special destiny. Now that they have been transmuted into an excess, they are considered as available for lending. And so in due course these excess reserves are converted into …


But wait a minute. How can this money be loaned out when it is owned by the original depositors who are still free to write checks and spend it any time they wish? Isn't that a double claim against the same money? The answer is that, when the new loans are made, they are not made with the same money at all. They are made with brand new money created out of thin air for that purpose. The nation's money supply simply increases by ninety per cent of the bank's deposits. Furthermore, this new money is far more interesting to the banks than the old. The old money, which they received from depositors, requires them to pay out interest or perform services for the privilege of using it. But, with the new money, the banks collect interest, instead, which is not too bad considering it cost them nothing to make. Nor is that the end of the process. When this second wave of hat money moves into the economy, it comes right back into the banking system, just as the first wave did, in the form of…


The process now repeats but with slightly smaller numbers each time around. What was a "loan" on Friday comes back into the bank as a "deposit" on Monday. The deposit then is reclassified as a "reserve" and ninety per cent of that becomes an "excess" reserve which, once again, is available for a new "loan." Thus, the $1 million of first wave fiat money gives birth to $900,000 in the second wave, and that gives birth to $810,000 in the third wave ($900,000 less 10% reserve). It takes about twenty-eight times through the revolving door of deposits becoming loans becoming deposits becoming more loans until the process plays itself out to the maximum effect, which is …


The amount of fiat money created by the banking cartel is approximately nine times the amount of the original government debt which made the entire process possible. When the original debt itself is added to that figure, we finally have …


The total amount of fiat money created by the Federal Reserve and the commercial banks together is approximately ten times the amount of the underlying government debt. To the degree that this newly created money floods into the economy in excess of goods and services, it causes the purchasing power of all money, both old and new, to decline. Prices go up because the relative value of the money has gone down. The result is the same as if that purchasing power had been taken from us in taxes. The reality of this process, therefore, is that it is a …


Without realizing it, Americans have paid over the years, in addition to their federal income taxes and excise taxes, a completely hidden tax equal to many times the national debt! And that still is not the end of the process. Since our money supply is purely an arbitrary entity with nothing behind it except debt, its quantity can go

[*• That is a theoretical maximum. In actual practice, the banks can seldom loan out all of the money they are allowed to create, and the numbers fall short of the rciaximum.

down as well as up. When people are going deeper into debt, the nation's money supply expands and prices go up, but when they pay off their debts and refuse to renew, the money supply contracts and prices rumble. That is exactly what happens in times of economic or political uncertainty. This alternation between periods of expansion and contraction of the money supply is the underlying cause of …


Who benefits from all of this? Certainly not the average citizen. The only beneficiaries are the political scientists in Congress who enjoy the effect of unlimited revenue to perpetuate their power, and the monetary scientists within the banking cartel called the Federal Reserve System who have been able to harness the American people, without their knowing it, to the yoke of modern feudalism.


The previous figures are based on a "reserve" ratio of 10% (a money-expansion ratio of 10-to-l). It must be remembered, however, that this is purely arbitrary. Since the money is fiat with no precious-metal backing, there is no real limitation except what the politicians and money managers decide is expedient for the moment. Altering this ratio is the third way in which the Federal Reserve can influence the nation's supply of money. The numbers, therefore, must be considered as transient. At any time there is a "need" for more money, the ratio can be increased to 20-to-l or 50-to-1, or the pretense of a reserve can be dropped altogether. There is virtually no limit to the amount of fiat money that can be manufactured under the present system.


Because the Federal Reserve can be counted on to "monetize" (convert into money) virtually any amount of government debt, and because this process of expanding the money supply is the primary cause of inflation, it is tempting to jump to the conclusion that federal debt and inflation are but two aspects of the same phenomenon. This, however, is not necessarily true. It is quite possible to have either one without the other.


The banking cartel holds a monopoly in the manufacture of money. Consequently, money is created only when lOUs are "monetized" by the Fed or by commercial banks. When private individuals, corporations, or institutions purchase government bonds, they must use money they have previously earned and saved. In other words, no new money is created, because they are using funds that are already in existence. Therefore, the sale of government bonds to the banking system is inflationary, but when sold to the private sector, it is not. That is the primary reason the United States avoided massive inflation during the 1980s when the federal government was going into debt at a greater rate than ever before in its history. By keeping interest rates high, these bonds became attractive to private investors, including those in other countries. Very little new money was created, because most of the bonds were purchased with American dollars already in existence. This, of course, was a temporary fix at best. Today, those bonds are continually maturing and are being replaced by still more bonds to include the original debt plus accumulated interest. Eventually this process must come to an end and, when it does, the Fed will have no choice but to literally buy back all the debt of the '80s—that is, to replace all of the formerly invested private money with newly manufactured fiat money—plus a great deal more to cover the interest. Then we will understand the meaning of inflation.

On the other side of the coin, the Federal Reserve has the option of manufacturing money even if the federal government does not go deeper into debt. For example, the huge expansion of the money supply leading up to the stock market crash in 1929 occurred at a time when the national debt was being paid off. In every year from 1920 through 1930, federal revenue exceeded expenses, and there were relatively few government bonds being offered. The massive inflation of the money supply was made possible by converting commercial bank loans into "reserves" at the Fed's discount window and by the Fed's purchase of banker's acceptances, which are commercial contracts for the purchase of goods.

Now the options are even greater. The Monetary Control Act of 1980 has made it possible for the Creature to monetize virtually any

1. Only about 11 to 15 per cent of the federal debt at that time was held by the Federal Reserve System.

2. See chapter twenty-three.


debt instrument, including IOUs from foreign governments. The apparent purpose of this legislation is to make it possible to bail out those governments which are having trouble paying the interest on their loans from American banks. When the Fed creates fiat Ameri~ can dollars to give foreign governments in exchange for their worthless bonds, the money path is slightly longer and more twisted, but the effect is similar to the purchase of U.S. Treasury Bonds. The newly created dollars go to the foreign governments, then to the American banks where they become cash reserves. Finally, they flow back into the U.S. money pool (multiplied by nine) in the form of additional loans. The cost of the operation once again is born by the American citizen through the loss of purchasing power. Expansion of the money supply, therefore, and the inflation that follows, no longer even require federal deficits. As long as someone is willing to borrow American dollars, the cartel will have the option of creating those dollars specifically to purchase their bonds and, by so doing, continue to expand the money supply.

We must not forget, however, that one of the reasons the Fed was created in the first place was to make it possible for Congress to spend without the public knowing it was being taxed. Americans have shown an amazing indifference to this fleecing, explained undoubtedly by their lack of understanding of how the Mandrake Mechanism works. Consequently, at the present time, this cozy contract between the banking cartel and the politicians is in little danger of being altered. As a practical matter, therefore, even though the Fed may also create fiat money in exchange for commercial debt and for bonds of foreign governments, its major concern likely will be to continue supplying Congress.

The implications of this fact are mind boggling. Since our money supply, at present at least, is tied to the national debt, to pay off that debt would cause money to disappear. Even to seriously reduce it would cripple the economy. 1 Therefore, as long as the Federal Reserve exists, America will be, must be, in debt.

The purchase of bonds from other governments is accelerating in the present political climate of internationalism. Our own money supply increasingly is based upon their debt as well as ours, and they, too, will not be allowed to pay it off even if they are able.

1. With the Fed holding only 7% of the national debt, the effect would still be devastating. Since the money supply is pyramided ten times on top of the underlying government bonds, each $1 eliminated from the federal debt would cause the money supply to shrink by 70<£ (1.00 X .07 X 10 = 70).


It is a sobering thought that the federal government now could operate—even at its current level of spending—without levying any taxes whatsoever. All it has to do is create the required money through the Federal Reserve System by monetizing its own bonds. In fact, most of the money it now spends is obtained that way.

If the idea of eliminating the IRS sounds like good news, remember that the inflation that results from monetizing the debt is just as much a tax as any other; but, because it is hidden and so few Americans understand how it works, it is more politically popular than a tax that is out in the open.

Inflation can be likened to a game of Monopoly in which the game's banker has no limit to the amount of money he can distribute. With each throw of the dice he reaches under the tabJe and brings up another stack of those paper tokens which all the players must use as money. If the banker is also one of the players—and in our real world that is exactly the case—obviously he is going to end up owning all the property. But, in the meantime, the increasing flood of money swirls out from the banker and engulfs the players. As the quantity of money becomes greater, the relative worth of each token becomes less, and the prices bid for the properties goes up. The game is called monopoly for a reason. In the end, one person holds all the property and everyone else is bankrupt. But what does it matter. It's only a game.

Unfortunately, it is not a game in the real world. It is our livelihood, our food, our shelter. It does make a difference if there is only one winner, and it makes a big difference if that winner obtained his monopoly simply by manufacturing everyone's money.


Make no mistake about it, inflation is a tax. Furthermore, it is the most unfair tax of them all because it falls most heavily upon those who are thrifty, those on fixed incomes, and those in the middle and lower income brackets. The important point here is that this hidden tax would be impossible without fiat money. Fiat money in America is created solely as a result of the Federal Reserve System. Therefore, it is totally accurate to say that the Federal Reserve System generates our most unfair tax. Both the tax and the System that makes it possible should be abolished.

The political scientists who authorize this process of monetizing the national debt, and the monetary scientists who carry it out, know that it is not true debt. It is not true debt, because no one in Washington really expects to repay it— ever. The dual purpose of this magic show is simply to create free spending money for the politicians, without the inconvenience of raising direct taxes, and also to generate a perpetual river of gold flowing into the banking cartel. The partnership is merely looking out for itself.

Why, then, does the federal government bother with taxes at all? Why not just operate on monetized debt? The answer is twofold First, if it did, people would begin to wonder about the source of the money, and that might cause them to wake up to the reality that inflation is a tax. Thus, open taxes at some level serve to perpetuate public ignorance which is essential to the success of the scheme. The second reason is that taxes, particularly progressive taxes, are weapons by which elitist social planners can wage war on the middle class.


The January 1946 issue of American Affairs carried an article written by Beardsley Ruml who, at that time, was Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Ruml had devised the system of automatic withholding during World War II, so he was well qualified to speak on the nature and purpose of the federal income tax. His theme was spelled out in the title of his article: "Taxes for Revenue Are Obsolete."

In an introduction to the article, the magazine's editor summarized Ruml's views as follows:

His thesis is that, given control of a central banking system and an inconvertible currency [a currency not backed by gold], a sovereign national government is finally free of money worries and needs no longer levy taxes for the purpose of providing itself with revenue. All taxation, therefore, should be regarded from the point of view of social and economic consequences.

Ruml explained that, since the Federal Reserve now can create out of nothing all the money the government could ever want, there


1. "Taxes for Revenue Are Obsolete/' by Beardsley Ruml, American Affairs, January, 1946, p. 35.

remain only two reasons to have taxes at all. The first of these is to combat a rise in the general level of prices. His argument was that, when people have money in their pockets, they will spend it for goods and services, and this will bid up the prices. The solution, he says, is to take the money away from them through taxation and let the government spend it instead. This, too, will bid up prices, but Ruml chose not to go into that He explained his theory this way:

The dollars the government spends become purchasing power in the hands of the people who have received them. The dollars the government takes by taxes cannot be spent by the people, and therefore, these dollars can no longer be used to acquire the things which are available for sale. Taxation is, therefore, an instrument of the first importance in the administration of any fiscal and monetary policy.


The other purpose of taxation, according to Ruml, is to redistribute the wealth from one class of citizens to another. This must always be done in the name of social justice or equality, but the real

I objective is to override the free market and bring society under the control of the master planners. Ruml said: of cai

The second principle purpose of federal taxes is to attain more equality of wealth and of income than would result from economic forces working alone. The taxes which are effective for this purpose are the progressive individual income tax, the progressive estate tax, and the gift tax. What these taxes should be depends on public policy with respect to the distribution of wealth and of income. These taxes should be defended and attacked in terms of their effect on the character of American life, not as revenue measures. 2

As we have seen, Senator Nelson Aldrich was one of the creators of the Federal Reserve System. That is not surprising in light of the cartel nature of the System and the financial interests which he represented. Aldrich also was one of the prime sponsors of the federal come tax. The two creations work together as a far more delicate mechanism for control over the economic and social life of society than either one alone.

In more recent years, there has been hopeful evidence that the master planners were about to abandon Ruml's blueprint. We have

*■ Ruml, p. 36. 2 — Ibid., p. 36.


heard a great deal both in Congress and at the Federal Reserve about the necessity of reducing expenses so as to diminisn the growth of federal debt and inflation. But it has been lip service only, The great bulk of federal funding continues to be created by the Mandrake Mechanism, the cost of government continues to outpace tax revenues, and the Ruml formula reigns supreme.


While it is true that the Mandrake Mechanism is responsible for the expansion of the money supply, the process also works in reverse. Just as money is created when the Federal Reserve purchases bonds or other debt instruments, it is extinguished by the sale of those same items. When they are sold, the money is given back to the System and disappears into the inkwell or computer chip from which it came. Then, the same secondary ripple effect that created money through the commercial banking system causes it to be withdrawn from the economy. Furthermore, even if the Federal Reserve does not deliberately contract the money supply, the same result can and often does occur when the public decides to resist the availability of credit and reduce its debt. A man can only be tempted to borrow, he cannot be forced to do so.

There are many psychological factors involved in a decision to go into debt that can offset the easy availability of money and a low interest rate: A downturn in the economy, the threat of civil disorder, the fear of pending war, an uncertain political climate, to name just a few. Even though the Fed may try to pump money into the economy by making it abundantly available, the public can thwart that move simply by saying no, thank you. When this happens, the old debts that are being paid off are not replaced by new ones to take their place, and the entire amount of consumer and business debt will shrink. That means the money supply also will shrink, because, in modern America, debt is money. And it is this very expansion and contraction of the monetary pool—a phenomenon that could not occur if based upon the laws of supply and demand—that is at the very core of practically every boom and bust that has plagued mankind throughout history.

In conclusion, it can be said that modern money is a grand illu~ sion conjured by the magicians of finance and politics. We are living in an age of fiat money, and it is sobering to realize that every previous nation in history that has adopted such money eventually was economically destroyed by it. Furthermore, there is nothing in our present monetary structure that offers any assurance that we may be exempted from that morbid roll call.

Correction. There is one. It is still within the power of Congress to abolish the Federal Reserve System.


The American dollar has no intrinsic value. It is a classic example of fiat money with no limit to the quantity that can be produced. Its primary value lies in the willingness of people to accept it and, to that end, legal tender laws require them to do so. It is true that our money is created out of nothing, but it is more accurate to say that it is based upon debt. In one sense, therefore, our money is created out of less than nothing. The entire money supply would vanish into bank vaults and computer chips if all debts were repaid. Under the present System, therefore, our leaders cannot allow a serious reduction in either the national or consumer debt. Charging interest on pretended loans is usury, and that has become institutionalized under the Federal Reserve System. The Mandrake Mechanism by which the Fed converts debt into money may seem complicated at first, but it is simple if one remembers that the process is not intended to be logical but to confuse and deceive. The end product of the Mechanism is artificial expansion of the money supply which is the root cause of the hidden tax called inflation. This expansion then leads to contraction and, together, they produce the destructive boom-bust cycle that has plagued mankind throughout history wherever fiat money has existed.

Cecil Rhodes made one of the world's greatest fortunes of the 18th century. Financed by Nathan Rothschild and the Bank of England, he established a monopoly over the diamond output of South Africa and most of the gold as well. He formed a secret society which included many of the top leaders of British government. Their elitist goal was nothing less than world domination and the establishment of a modern feudalist society controlled by themselves through the world's central banks. In America, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) was an outgrowth of that group.

August Belmont came to New York in 1837 as the financial agent of the Rothschilds. He funneled vast amounts of capital into American I investments, often without anyone } knowing whose money he was spending. The purpose of concealment was to blunt the growing anti-Rothschild nesentmer that was then prevalent in Europe as well as America. When his affiliation became commonly kno his usefulness came to an end ar he was replaced by J.P. Morgan.

Library of Congress

J .P. Morgan, Sr. (left) was brought into banking by his father, Junius Morgan, in : ngland. The Morgans were friendly competitors with the Rothschilds and became socially close to them. Morgan's London-based firm was saved from financial ruin in 1857 by the Bank of England over which the Rothschilds held great influence, ^hereafter, Morgan appears to have served as a Rothschild financial agent and went tC) great length to appear totally American.

°bn D. Rockefeller (right) made his initial fortune in oil but soon gravitated into

Ranking and finance. His entry into the field was not welcomed by Morgan, and they

came fierce competitors. Eventually, they decided to minimize their competition by

tering into joint ventures. In the end, they worked together to create a national

inking cartel called the Federal Reserve System.

Above is the clubhouse for the private resort on Jekyll Island in Georgia where the Federal Reserve System was conceived in great secrecy in 1910. It is shown here shortly after completion.

Jacob Schiff (right) was head of the

New York investment firm, Kuhn,

Loeb & Co. He was one of the

principal backers of the Bolshevik

revolution and personally financed

Trotsky's trip from New York to

Russia. He was a major contributor to

Woodrow Wilson's presidential

campaign and an advocate for

passage of the Federal Reserve Act.

Jekytl Island Muset/i


K 1


r w A LL

111 *r."i'



This cartoon by Robert Minor appeared in the St Louis Post-Dispatch in 1911. It shows Karl Marx surrounded by enthusiastic Wall Street financiers: Morgan partner George Perkins; J.P. Morgan; John Ryan of National City Bank; John D. Rockefeller; and Andrew Carnegie. Immediately behind Marx is Teddy Roosevelt, leader of the Progressive Party.


Harry Dexter White (left) and

John Maynard Keynes (right)

were the theoreticians who

guided the 1944 Bretton Woods

Monetary Conference at which

the IMF/World Bank was

created. White was a member of

the Communist Party. Keynes

was a member of the Fabian

Society. They shared the same

goal of international socialism.

The IMF/World Bank has

furthered that goal ever since.


Raymond Robins is shown here as the Chairman of the Progressive PaW convention in Chicago in 1912. He later became head of the American Red Cross Mission in Russia after th* Bolshevik revolution. Although he represented Wall Street interests,^ was a disciple of Cecil Rhodes and , was anti-capitalist in his beliefs- He held great influence over Lenin.

National Archives

Carroll Quigley was a professor of

Nstory at Georgetown University. His

book, Tragedy and Hope, revealed

mat the Council on Foreign Relations

(CFR) is an outgrowth of the secret

society formed by Cecil Rhodes.

He wrote the history of how an

international network of financiers

bas created a system of financial

control able to dominate the political

systems of all countries through their

central banks. He named names and

Provided meticulous documentation.

His book was suppressed.

Edward Mandell House was the J man who secured Wood row Wilson's nomination for President and who, thereafter, became the hidden power at the White House. He negotiated a secret agreement to draw the U.S. into World War I at the very time Wilson was campaigning on the promise to keep America out of the war. On behalf of Wall Street, House lobbied Congress to pass the Federal Reserve Act.

I IDI/Roiirrtann

Winston Churchill was the First Lord of the Admiralty in World War I. As the Lusitania, entered into an area where a German ' U-Boat was known to be operating, he called off the destroyer escort that had been assigned to protect her. He calculated that the destruction of a British ship with U.S. passengers aboard would inflame Amencan passions against Germany and help create a l political climate for coming into the war.

Hulton Deutsch

Section III


U.S. Army Pictoral Service

Lord Mersey (right) was put in charge of

an official inquiry into the sinking of the

Lusitania. It was not an investigation but a

coverup. He was instructed by the

Admiralty to place the entire blame on the

Captain of the ship. Mersey obeyed his

orders but refused payment for his

services and declined to accept further

judicial assignments. In later years, he

said the affair "was a damn dirty business."

The ancient alchemists sought in vain to convert lead into gold. Modern alchemists have succeeded in that quest. The lead bullets of war have yielded an endless source of gold for those magicians who control the Mandrake Mechanism. The startling fact emerges that, without the ability to create fiat money, most modern wars simply would not have occurred. As long as the Mechanism is allowed to function, future wars are inevitable. This is the story of how that came to pass.

Chapter Eleven


The rise of the House of Rothschild in Europe; the tradition among financiers of profiting from both sides of armed conflict; the formula by which war is converted into debt and debt converted back into war.

So far we have adhered closely to the subject of money and the history of its manipulation by political and monetary scientists. Now we are going to take a short detour along a parallel path and view some of the same historical scenery from a different perspective. As we progress, it may seem that we have lost our way, and you may wonder what connection any of this can possibly have with the Federal Reserve System. Please be assured, however, it has everything to do with it, and, when we finally return to that topic, the connection will have become painfully clear.


The focus of this chapter is on the profits of war and, more specifically, the tendency of those who reap those profits to manipulate governments into military conflicts, not for national or patriotic reasons, but for private gain. The mechanism by which this was accomplished in the past was more complex than simply lending money to warring governments and then collecting interest, although that was part of it The real payoff has always been in the form of political favoritism in the market place. Writing in the year 1937, French historian Richard Lewinsohn explains:

Although often called bankers, those who financed wars in the pre-capitalist period … were not bankers in the modern sense of the word. Unlike modern bankers who operate with money deposited with them by their clients [or, in more recent times, created out of nothing by a central bank—E.G.], they generally worked with the fortune which they themselves had amassed or inherited, and which

they lent at a high rate of interest Thus those who risked the financing of a war were for the most part already very rich, and this was the case down to the seventeenth century.

When they agreed to finance a war, these rich lenders did not, however, always attach great importance to the rate of interest In this respect they often showed the greatest compliance to their august clients. But in return they secured for themselves privileges which could be turned into industrial or commercial profit, such as mining concessions, monopolies of sale or importation, etc. Sometimes even they were given the right to appropriate certain taxes as a guarantee of their loans. So though the loan itself carried a very real risk and often did not bring in much interest, the indirect profits were very considerable, and the lenders' leniency well rewarded.


No discussion of banking as a mechanism for financing wars would be complete without turning eventually to the name Rothschild. It was Mayer Amschel Rothschild who is quoted as saying: "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. Biographer Frederic Morton concluded that the Rothschild dynasty had: ."..conquered the world more thoroughly, more cunningly, and much more lastingly than all the Ceasars before or all the Hitlers after them." The dynasty was begun in Frankfurt, Germany, in the middle of the eighteenth century by Mayer Amschel Bauer, the son of a goldsmith. Mayer became a clerk in the Oppenheimer Bank in Hanover and was eventually promoted to junior partner. After his father's death, he returned to his home in Frankfurt to continue the family business. Over the door hung a red shield with an eagle as a sign to identify the establishment. The German words for red shield are roth schild, so he changed his name from Bauer to Rothschild and added five gold arrows held in the talons of the eagle to represent his five sons.

1. Richard Lewinsohn, The Profits of War through the Ages (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1937), pp. 55-56.

2. Quoted by Senator Robert L. Owen, former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency and one of the sponsors of the Federal Reserve Act, National Economy and the Banking System, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1939), p. 99. This quotation could not be verified in a primary reference work. However, when one considers the life and accomplishments of the elder Rothschild, there can be little doubt that this sentiment was, in fact, his outlook and guiding principle.

3. Frederic Morton, The Rothschilds: A Family Portrait (New York: Atheneum, 1962), p. 14.


The Rothschild fortune began when Mayer adopted the practice of fractional-reserve banking. As we have seen, he was not alone in this, but the House of Rothschild greatly surpassed the competition. That was due to his sharp business acumen and also because of his five most unusual sons, all of whom became financial power centers of their own. As they matured and learned the magic of converting debt into money, they moved beyond the confines of Frankfurt and established additional operations in the financial centers, not only of Europe, but of much of the civilized world.

Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, the brothers conducted important transactions on behalf of the governments of England, France, Prussia, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Naples, Portugal, Brazil, various German states, and other smaller countries. They were the personal bankers of many of the crowned heads of Europe. They made large investments, through agents, in markets as distant as the United States, India, Cuba, and Australia. They were financiers to Cecil Rhodes, making it possible for him to establish a monopoly over the diamond fields of South Africa. They are still connected with the de Beers.

Biographer Derek Wilson writes:

Those who lampooned or vilified the Rothschilds for their "sinister" influence had a considerable amount of justification for their anger and anxiety. The banking community had always constituted a "fifth estate" whose members were able, by their control of royal purse strings, to affect important events. But the house of Rothschild was immensely more powerful than any financial empire that had ever preceded it. It commanded vast wealth. It was international. It was independent. Royal governments were nervous of it because they could not control it. Popular movements hated it because it was not answerable to the people. Constitutionalists resented it because its influence was exercised behind the scenes—secretly.

Secrecy, of course, is essential for the success of a cabal, and the Rothschilds perfected the art. By remaining behind the scenes, they Were able to avoid the brunt of public anger which was directed, instead, at the political figures which they largely controlled. This is a technique which has been practiced by financial manipulators

1- Morton, pp. 145, 219.

2, Derek Wilson, Rothschild: The Wealth and Power of A Dynasty (New York: Charles

Scribner's Sons, 1988), pp. 79, 98^-99.

ever since, and it is fully utilized by those who operate the Federal Reserve System today. Wilson continues:

Clandestinity was and remained a feature of Rothschild political activity. Seldom were they to be seen engaging in open public debate on important issues. Never did they seek government office. Even when, in later years, some of them entered parliament, they did not feature prominently in the assembly chambers of London, Paris or Berlin. Yet all the while they were helping to shape the major events of the day: by granting or withholding funds; by providing statesmen with an official diplomatic service; by influencing appointments to high office; and by an almost daily intercourse with the great decision makers.


Continual war in Europe created excellent opportunities for profit from smuggling scarce consumer goods past military blockades. Since the Rothschilds often financed both sides in a conflict and were known to have great political influence, the mere sight of the red shield on a leather pouch, a carriage, or a ship's flag was sufficient to insure that the messenger or his cargo could pass through check points in either direction. This immunity allowed them to deal in a thriving black market for cotton goods, yarn, tobacco, coffee, sugar, and indigo; and they moved freely through the borders of Germany, Scandinavia, Holland, Spain, England, and France. This government protection was one of those indirect benefits that generated commercial profits far in excess of the interest received on the underlying government loans.

It is generally true that, one man's loss is another man's gain. And even the friendliest of biographers admit that, for more than two centuries, the House of Rothschild profited handsomely from wars and economic collapses, the very occasions on which others sustained the greatest losses.


If one picture is worth a thousand words, then one example surely must be worth a dozen explanations. There is no better example than the economic war waged by the financiers of nineteenth-century Europe against Napoleon Bonaparte. It is an easily forgotten fact of history that Napoleon had restored law and



1. Derek Wilson, p. 99.

2. Morton, pp. 40-41.

order to a chaotic, post-revolutionary France and had turned his attention, not to war, but to establishing peace and improving economic conditions at home. He was particularly anxious to get jus country and his people out of debt and out of the control of bankers. R. McNair Wilson, in Monarchy or Money Power, says:

It was ordained by him that money should not be exported from France on any pretext whatever except with the consent of the Government, and that in no circumstance should loans be employed to , meet current expenditure whether civil or military…. "One has only to consider," Napoleon remarked, "what loans can lead to in order to realize their danger. Therefore, I would never have anything to do with them and have always striven against them.."..

The object was to withhold from finance the power to embarrass the Government as it had embarrassed the Government of Louis XVI. When a Government, Bonaparte declared, is dependent for money upon bankers, they and not the leaders of that Government control the situation, since "the hand that gives is above the hand that takes.."..

"Money/' he declared, "has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency: their sole object is gain."

One of Napoleon's first blows against the bankers was to establish an independent Bank of France with himself as president. But even this bank was not trusted, and government funds were never placed into it It was his refusal to borrow, however, that caused the most concern among the financiers. Actually, to them this was a mixture of both bad and good news. The bad news was that they were denied the benefit of royalty payments on fractional money. The good news was that, without resorting to debt, they were confident Napoleon could not militarily defend himself. Thus, he easily could be toppled and replaced by Louis XVI of the old monarchic dynasty who was receptive to banker influence. Wilson continues:

They had good hope of compassing his downfall. None believed that he could finance war on a great scale now that the resource of paper money had been denied him by the destruction of the Assignaf: Where would he obtain the indispensable gold and silver to feed and equip a great army? Pitt [the Prime Minister of England] counted already on a coalition of England, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Spain,

pi. R. McNair Wilson, Monarchy or Money Power (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, Ltd., 1933), pp. 68,72.

2. The Assignat was pure fiat money which rapidly became totally worthless in commerce and which all but destroyed the French economy.


Sweden, and numerous small states. Some 600,000 men would be put into the field. All the resources of England's wealth—that is to say, of the world's wealth—would be placed at the disposal of this overwhelming force. Could the Corsican muster 200,000? Could he arm them? Could he feed them? If the lead bullets did not destroy him, the gold bullets would soon make an end. He would be forced, like his neighbors, to come, hat in hand, for loans and, like them, to accept the banker's terms….

He could not put his hands on £2,000,000, so empty was the Treasury and so depleted the nation's stock of metallic money. London waited with interest to see how the puzzle would be solved.

Napoleon solved the puzzle quite simply by selling off some real estate. Those crazy Americans gave him £3,000,000 for a vast swamp called Louisiana.


Napoleon did not want war, but he knew that Europe's financial rulers would not settle for peace—unless, of course, they were forced into it by the defeat of their puppet regimes or unless, somehow, it would be to their monetary advantage. It was in pursuit of the latter tactic that he threatened to take direct possession of Holland, which then was ruled by his brother, King Louis. Napoleon knew that the Dutch were heavily in debt to the English bankers. If Holland were to be annexed by France, this debt would never be repaid. So Napoleon made a proposal to England's bankers that, if they would convince the English government to accept peace with France, he would agree to leave Holland alone.

The negotiations were handled by the banker, Pierre-Cesar Labouchere, who was sent by the Dutch, and the English banker, Sir Francis Baring who was Labouchere's father-in-law. Although this was an attractive proposal to the bankers, at least on a short-term basis, it was still against their nature to forego the immense profits of war and mercantilism. They revised the proposal, therefore, to include a plan whereby both England and France would combine forces to destroy the newly independent United States and bring at least half of it—the industrial half—back under the domination of England. The incredible plan, conceived by the French banker, Ouvard, called for military invasion and conquest followed by division of the spoils. England would receive

1. R. McNair Wilson, pp. 71-72.

the northern states, united with Canada, while the southern states would fall to France. Napoleon was to be tempted by offering him the awesome title of "King of America." McNair Wilson tells us:

Labouchere wrote to Baring on March 21, and enclosed a note for [British Foreign Secretary] Wellesley dictated by Ouvrard which ran:

"From a conqueror he (Napoleon) is becoming a preserver; the first result of his marriage with Marie Louise will be that he will make an offer of peace to England. It is to this nation's (i.e., England's) interest to make peace, for it has the command of the sea; on the contrary, it is really in the interest of France to continue war, which allows her to expand indefinitely and make a fresh fleet, which cannot be done once peace is established. Why does not the English Cabinet make a proposal to France to destroy the United States of America, and by making them again dependent on England, persuade Napoleon to lend his aid to destroy the life-work of Louis XVI?… It is to her (England's) interest to conclude peace and to flatter Napoleon's vanity by recognizing his work and his imperial title.."..

The Cabinet discussed the proposals and approved them. Wellesley at once hurried to Baring's house to give him the good news…. The Dutch would be able to pay and would be compelled to pay in gold.

Unhappily Napoleon found out what was afoot and took somewhat strong objections to the plan of a joint attack on the United States. He arrested Ouvrard, dismissed and exiled Fouche, and published the whole story, to the grave distress of Wellesley and Baring.

It must not be concluded from this that Napoleon was a paragon of virtue or a champion of honest money. His objection to the bankers was that their monetary power was able to threaten the sovereignty of his own political power. He allowed them a free hand while they served the purpose of the state. Then, when the need for military financing subsided, he would condemn them for making "unholy profits" and simply take it from them in the name i'of the people. If the bankers protested, they were sent to prison.

And so the battle lines were drawn. Napoleon had to be destroyed at all costs. To make this possible, the Bank of England created vast new amounts of fiat money to "lend" to the government so it could finance an overpowering army. A steady stream of gold flowed out of the country to finance the armies of Russia, [Prussia, and Austria. The economy staggered once again under the

1. R. McNair Wilson, pp. 81-82.

load of war debt, and the little people paid the bill with hardly a grumble because they hadn't the slightest knowledge it was being charged to their account. Wilson concludes the story:

The bankers won. Louis XVIII was restored by British arms and British diplomacy to the throne of his ancestors. Loans were placed at his disposal, though Napoleon had left a France which enjoyed a credit balance.

A year later the man whom every King and every banker in Europe called "usurper" won back his throne with 800 men and without the firing of a single shot. On this occasion he had no option but to raise a loan for the defense of France. The City of London [banking district] accommodated him with £5,000,000. With this sum he equipped the army which Wellington defeated at Waterloo.


One of the most fascinating and revealing episodes to be recorded by Rothschild biographers concerns the smuggling of a large shipment of gold to finance the Duke of Wellington who was attempting to feed and equip an army in Portugal and in the Pyrenees mountains between Spain and France.

It was not at all certain that Wellington would be able to defeat Napoleon in the coming battle, and the Duke was hard pressed to convince bankers and merchants in Portugal and Spain to accept his written promises-to-pay, even though they were officially guaranteed by the British government These notes were deeply discounted, and Wellington was desperate for gold coin. It was at this point that Nathan Rothschild offered the services of himself and his brothers. With an efficient smuggling apparatus already functioning throughout Europe, he was able to offer Wellington much better terms while still making a magnificent profit. But, to accomplish this, the gold had to pass right under Napoleon's nose. Frederic Morton describes the scene:

There was only one way to route the cash: through the very France England's army was fighting. Of course, the Rothschild blockade-running machine already had superb cogs whirring all over Germany, Scandinavia and England, even in Spain and Southern France. But a very foxy new wheel was needed in Napoleon's capital itself. Enter Jacob—henceforth called James—the youngest of Mayer's sons.


1. R. McNair Wilson, p. 83.

2. Morton, p. 46.

James was only nineteen years old but was well trained by his father in the art of deception. He arrived in Paris with a dual mission. First, he was to provide the French authorities with a false report about the British gold movement, with just enough truth in it lo sound convincing. He presented the government with falsified letters indicating that the English were desperate to halt the flow of their gold into France. The ploy paid off when the French authorities then actually encouraged the financial community to accept British gold and to convert it into commercially sound banknotes. Second, James was to serve as a vital link in a financial chain stretching between London and the Pyrenees. He was to coordinate the receipt of the gold into France, the conversion of that gold into Spanish banknotes, and the movement of those notes out of the country on their way to Wellington. All of this he did with amazing dexterity, especially considering his youth. Morton concludes:

In the space of a few hundred hours Mayer's youngest had not only gotten the English gold rolling through France, but conjured a fiscal mirage that took in Napoleon himself. A teen-age Rothschild tricked the imperial government into sanctioning the very process that helped to ruin it…

The family machine began to hum. Nathan sent big shipments of British guineas, Portuguese gold ounces, French napoleons d'or (often freshly minted in London) across the Channel. From the coast James saw them to Paris and secretly transmuted the metal into bills on certain Spanish bankers. South of the capital, Kalmann [another of Mayer's sons] materialized, took over the bills, blurred into a thousand shadowed canyons along the Pyrenees—and reappeared, with Wellington's receipts in hand. Salomon [another son] was everywhere, trouble-shooting, making sure the transit points were diffuse and obscure enough not to disturb either the French delusion or the British guinea rate. Amschel stayed in Frankfurt and helped father Mayer to staff headquarters.

The French did catch a few whiffs of the truth. Sometimes the suspicious could be prosperously purged of their suspicion. The police chief of Calais, for example, suddenly was able to live in such distracting luxury that he found it difficult to patrol the shoreline thoroughly….

While Napoleon struggled his might away in the Russian Winter, there passed through France itself a gold vein to the army staving in the Empire's back door.

I Morton, p. 47.


At a dinner party in later years, Nathan casually summed up the episode as though it were merely a good piece of routine business. He said:

The East India Company had £800,000 worth of gold to sell. I went to the sale and bought it all. I knew the Duke of Wellington must have it. The government sent for me and said they must have the gold. I sold the gold to them, but they didn't know how to get it to the Duke in Portugal. I undertook all that and sent it through France. It was the best business I have ever done.


The final outcome of the battle at Waterloo between Wellington and Napoleon was crucial to Europe both politically and economically. If Napoleon had been victorious, England would have been in even greater economic trouble than before. Not only would she have lost international power and prestige, but even at home, her subjects would have been further disgruntled over such great personal and financial wartime sacrifices. Her defeat almost surely would have resulted in not being able to repay the great amounts she had borrowed to conduct the war. In the London stock exchange, therefore, where British government bonds were traded along with other securities, everyone waited anxiously for news of the outcome.

It was well known that the Rothschilds had developed a private courier service that was used, not only to transport gold and other tangible cargo, but to rapidly move information that could be useful in making investment decisions. It was expected, therefore, that Nathan in London would be the first to know the name of the victor after the cannon smoke had cleared from the battlefield. And they were not to be disappointed. The first news of Wellington's victory arrived in Brussels around midnight on June 18, 1815, where a Rothschild agent named Rothworth was waiting in readiness. He immediately mounted a fresh horse and set off for the port of Ostend where a boat was standing by to speed him across the channel to London. In the early hours of June 20, the exhausted messenger was pounding on Nathan's door, a full twenty-four hours before Wellington's own courier, Major Henry Percy, arrived.


1. Morton, p. 45.

At least one friendly biographer claims that Nathan's first act was to deliver the news to the Prime Minister, but that government officials were hesitant at first to believe it, because it ran contrary to reports they had received previously telling of serious British setbacks. At any rate, there is no doubt that Nathan's second act of the morning was to set off for the stock exchange to take up a position at his usual pillar.

All eyes were upon him as he slumped dejectedly, staring at the floor. Then, he raised his gaze and, with pained expression, began to sell The whisper went through the crowded room, "Nathan is selling?" "Nathan is selling*" "Wellington must have lost." "Our government bonds will never be repaid/' "Sell them now. Sell. Sell!"

Prices tumbled, and Nathan sold again. Prices plummeted, and still Nathan sold. Finally, prices collapsed altogether and, in one quick move, Nathan reversed his call and purchased the entire market in government bonds. In a matter of just a few hours, he had acquired the dominant holding of England's entire debt at but a tiny fraction of its worth.


Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister of England, wrote a book in 1844 called Coningsby. It was a political novel in which the author expressed his views about contemporary issues. One of the strong characters in the book was a financier named Sidonia, but every detail of Sidonia's actions was an exact replica of the real Lord Rothschild, whom Disraeli greatly admired. In the guise of a novel, we read about Rothschild's emigration from Germany, his family and banking ties throughout Europe, his handling of the gold for Wellington, and his financial coup after Waterloo. Then Disraeli wrote:

Europe did require money, and Sidonia was ready to lend it to Europe. France wanted some; Austria more; Prussia a little; Russia a few millions. Sidonia could furnish them all….

It is not difficult to conceive that, after having pursued the career • we have intimated for about ten years, Sidonia had become one of the

*■ The New York Times, in its April 1, 1915, edition, reported that Baron Nathan Mayer de Rothschild had attempted to secure a court order to suppress a book vvntten by Ignatious Balla entitled The Romance of the Rothschilds on the grounds that £e Waterloo story about his grandfather was untrue and libelous. The court ruled pt the story was true, dismissed the suit, and ordered Rothschild to pay all court costs. r J

most considerable personages in Europe. He had established a brother, or a near relative, in whom he could confide, in most of the principal capitals. He was lord and master of the money market of the world, and of course virtually lord and master of everything else. He literally held the revenues of Southern Italy in pawn; and monarchs and ministers of all countries courted his advice and were guided by his suggestions.

That Disraeli was not exaggerating was made clear by the boast of James Rothschild himself. When U.S. Treasury agents approached him in Paris in 1842 with a request for a loan to the American government, he said to them: "You have seen the man who is at the head of the finances of Europe."

There have always been men who were in a position to make private fortunes out of cooperating with both sides in a war. The Rothschilds were not unique in this, but they no doubt perfected the art and became the personification of that breed. They were not necessarily evil in a moral sense. What preoccupied their minds were not questions of right or wrong but of profit and loss. This analytical indifference to human suffering was aptly described by one Rothschild when he said: "When the streets of Paris are


running with blood, I buy." They may have held citizenship in the country of their residence, but patriotism was beyond their comprehension. They were also very bright, if not cunning, and these combined traits made them the role model of the cool pragmatists who dominate the political and financial world of today. Disraeli well described this type when he wrote of Sidonia:

He was a man without affections. It would be harsh to say he had no heart, for he was susceptible of deep emotions, but not for individuals…. The individual never touched him. Woman was to him a toy, man a machine.

It would seem that an absence of patriotism and a cold, analytical outlook would lead financiers to avoid making loans to governments, particularly foreign ones. Private borrowers can be hauled into court and their assets confiscated to make good on their


1. Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, originally published in England in 1844), p. 225.

2. Stephen Birmingham, "Our Crowd": The Great Jewish Families of New York (New York: Harper & Row, 1986), p. 73.

3. Quoted in The New York Times, October 21,1987, cited by Chernow, p. 13.

4. Disraeli, p. 229.

the courts. They are the police. Who will seize their assets? The answer is another government. Speaking of a relatively modern example of this principle, Ron Chernow explains:

The new alliance [between the monetary and political scientists] was mutually advantageous, Washington wanted to harness the new financial power to coerce foreign governments into opening their markets to American goods or adopting pro-American policies. The banks, in turn, needed levers to force debt repayment and welcomed the government's police powers in distant places. The threat of military intervention was an excellent means by which to speed loan repayment. When Kuhn, Loeb considered a loan to the Dominican Republic, backed by customs receipts, Jacob Schiff inquired of his London associate Sir Ernest Cassel, "If they do not pay, who will collect these customs duties?" Cassel replied, "Your marines and ours." 1

One of the great puzzles of history is why governments always go into debt and seldom attempt to put themselves on a "pay-as-you-go" basis, A partial answer is that kings and politicians lack the courage to tax their subjects the enormous sums that would be required under such an arrangement. There is also the deeper question of why the expenditures are so high in the first place.

Given the mentality of the world's financial lords and masters, as Disraeli described them, it is conceivable that a coldly calculated strategy has been developed over the years to insure this result. In fact, the historical evidence strongly suggests that just such a plan was developed in eighteenth-century Europe and perfected in twentieth-century America. For the purposes of hypothetical analysis, let us identify this strategy as The Rothschild Formula. THE FORMULA

Let us imagine a man who is totally pragmatic. He is smarter and more cunning than most men and, in fact, holds them in thinly disguised contempt. He may respect the talents of a few, but has little concern over the condition of mankind. He has observed that kings and politicians are always fighting over something or other and has concluded that wars are inevitable. He also has learned that wars can be profitable, not only by lending or creating the

1 Quoted by Jacques Attali, translated by Barbara Ellis, A Man of Influence: Sir siegmund Warburg, 1902-82 (London: Weidenfeld, & Nicolson, 1986), p. 57.

money to finance them, but from government favoritism in the granting of commercial subsidies or monopolies. He is not capable of such a primitive feeling as patriotism, so he is free to participate in the funding of any side in any conflict, limited only by factors of self interest. If such a man were to survey the world around him, it is not difficult to imagine that he would come to the following conclusions which would become the prime directives of his career:

1. War is the ultimate discipline to any government. If it can

successfully meet the challenge of war, it will survive. If it cannot, it will perish. All else is secondary. The sanctity of its laws, the prosperity of its citizens, and the solvency of its treasury will be quickly sacrificed by any government in its primal act of self-survival.

2. All that is necessary, therefore, to insure that a government will

maintain or expand its debt is to involve it in war or the threat of war. The greater the threat and the more destructive the war, the greater the need for debt.

3. To involve a country in war or the threat of war, it will be

necessary for it to have enemies with credible military might. If such enemies already exist, all the better. If they exist but lack military strength, it will be necessary to provide them the money to build their war machine. If an enemy does not exist at all, then it will be necessary to create one by financing the rise of a hostile regime. x

4. The ultimate obstacle is a government which declines to finance

its wars through debt. Although this seldom happens, when it does, it will be necessary to encourage internal political opposition, insurrection, or revolution to replace that government with one that is more compliant to our will. The assassination of heads of state could play an important role in this process.

5. No nation can be allowed to remain militarily stronger than its

adversaries, for that could lead to peace and a reduction of debt. To accomplish this balance of power, it may be necessary to finance both sides of the conflict. Unless one of the combatants is hostile to our interests and, therefore, must be destroyed, neither side should be allowed a decisive victory or defeat. While we must always proclaim the virtues of peace, the unspoken objective is perpetual war.


Whether anyone actually put this strategy into words or passed it along from generation to generation is not important. In fact, it is doubtful it has ever worked that way. Whether it is the product of conscious planning or merely the consequence of men responding to the profit opportunities inherent in fiat money, the world's financial lords have acted as though they were following such a plan, and this has become especially apparent since the creation of the central-bank Mandrake Mechanism three centuries ago.

The "balance-of-power" question is particularly intriguing. Most history texts present the concept as though it were some kind of natural, social phenomenon which, somehow, has worked to the benefit of mankind. The implication is that it's just wonderful how, after all those European wars, no nation was strong enough to completely dominate the others. When the United States emerged from World War II with exactly such power, it was widely deplored, and massive political/financial mechanisms such as foreign aid and disarmament were set in motion to restore the balance. This has become almost a revered doctrine of international democracy. But the overlooked consequence of this sentimental notion is that wars "between equals" have become the permanent landscape of history.

This does not mean that every war-like group that comes along will find easy financing from the lords and masters. It depends on whom they threaten and how likely they are to succeed. In 1830, for example, the Dutch were facing an uprising of their subjects in Belgium. Both the ruling government and the revolutionaries were dependent upon the Rothschilds for financing their conflict. The Dutch rulers were reliable customers for loans and, just as important, they were reliable in their payment of interest on those loans. It would have been foolhardy to provide more than token assistance to the rebels who, if they came to power, quite likely would have refused to honor the debts of the former puppet regime. Salomon Rothschild explained:

These gentlemen should not count on us unless they decide to follow a line of prudence and moderation…. Our goodwill does not yet extend to the point of putting clubs into the hands that would beat us, that is, lending money to make war and ruin the credit that we sustain with all our efforts and all our means. 1

I- As quoted by Derek Wilson, p. 100.

After the revolution was resolved by negotiation rather than by arms, the new government in Brussels was a natural target for financial takeover. James Rothschild laid out the strategy that has become the model of such operations ever since:

Now is the moment of which we should take advantage to make ourselves absolute masters of that country's finances. The first step will be to establish ourselves on an intimate footing with Belgium's new Finance Minister, to gain his confidence … and to take all the treasury bonds he may offer us.


Wars, great and small, have always been a plague to Europe, but it was not until they were easy to finance through central banking and fiat money that they became virtually perpetual. For example, the following war chronicle begins immediately following the formation of the Bank of England which, as you recall, was created for the specific purpose of financing a war:

1689-1697 The War of the League of Augsberg 1702-1713 The War of Spanish Succession 1739-1742 The War of Jenkin's Ear 1744-1748 The War of Austrian Succession 1754-1763 The French and Indian War 1793-1801 The War against Revolutionary France 1803-1815 The Napoleonic Wars

In addition to these European conflicts, there also wer^ two wars with America: the War for Independence and the War of 1812. In the 126 years between 1689 and 1815, England was at war 63 of them. That is one out of every two years in combat. The others were spent preparing for combat.

The mark of the Rothschild Formula is unmistakable in these conflicts. The monetary scientists often were seen financing both sides. Whether ending in victory or defeat, the outcome merely preserved or restored the European "balance of power/ 7 And the most permanent result of any of these wars was expanded government debt for all parties.


By the end of the eighteenth century, the House of Rothschild had become one of the most successful financial institutions the


1. Derek Wilson, p. 100.

world has ever known. Its meteoric rise can be attributed to the great industry and shrewdness of the five brothers who established themselves in various capitals of Europe and forged the world's first international financial network. As pioneers in the practice of lending money to governments, they soon learned that this provided unique opportunities to parlay wealth into political power as well. Before long, most of the princes and kings of Europe had come within their influence.

The Rothschilds also had mastered the art of smuggling on a grand scale, often with the tacit approval of the governments whose laws they violated. This was perceived by all parties as an unofficial bonus for providing needed funding to those same governments, particularly in time of war. The fact that different branches of the Rothschild network also might be providing funds for the enemy was pragmatically ignored. Thus, a time-honored practice among financiers was born: profiting from both sides.

The Rothschilds operated a highly efficient intelligence gathering system which provided them with advance knowledge of important events, knowledge which was invaluable for investment decisions. When an exhausted Rothschild courier delivered the first news of the Battle of Waterloo, Nathan was able to deceive the London bond traders into a selling panic, and that allowed him to acquire the dominant holding of England's entire debt at but a tiny fraction of its worth.

A study of these and similar events reveals a personality profile, not just of the Rothschilds, but of that special breed of international financiers whose success typically is built upon certain character traits. Those include cold objectivity, immunity to patriotism, and indifference to the human condition. That profile is the basis for proposing a theoretical strategy, called the Rothschild Formula, which motivates such men to propel governments into war for the profits they yield. This formula most likely has never been consciously phrased as it appears here, but subconscious motivations and personality traits work together to implement it nevertheless. As long as the mechanism of central banking exists, it will be to such men an irresistible temptation to convert debt into perpetual war and war into perpetual debt.

In the following chapters we shall track the distinctive footprint of the Rothschild Formula as it leads up to our own doorstep in the present day.

Historisches Museum, Frankfurt, Germany

A satirical cartoon of 1848 depicts "Rothschild" pondering over which of Europe's rulers to favor with loans, while revolutionaries challenge the ancient order he is supporting.

A caricature of Nathan Rothschild,

showing him in his habitual position

before one of the pillars in the Exchange.

It was here that he capitalized on his

advance knowledge of Wellington's

defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and was

able to acquire the dominant holding of

England's entire debt at but a small

fraction of its worth.

Chapter Twelve


The role of J.P. Morgan in providing loans to England and France in World War I; the souring of those loans as it became apparent that Germany would win; the betrayal of a British ship and the sacrifice of American passengers as a stratagem to bring America into the war; the use of American taxes to pay off the loans.

The origin of World War I usually is attributed to the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary by a Serbian nationalist in 1914. This was a serious affront to Austria but hardly sufficient reason to plunge the world into a mortal conflict that would claim over ten million lives and twenty million wounded. American schoolchildren are taught that Uncle Sam came into the war "to make the world safe for democracy/ 7 But, as we shall see, the American war drums were pounded by men with far less idealistic objectives.

Since the latter part of the eighteenth century, the Rothschild Formula had controlled the political climate of Europe. Nations had increasingly confronted each other over border disputes, colonial territories, and trade routes. An arms race had been in progress for many years; large, standing armies had been recruited and trained; military alliances had been hammered together; all in preparation for war. The assassination of Ferdinand was not the cause but the trigger. It was merely the spark that lit the fuse that fired the first loaded cannon.


The exigencies of war in Europe required England and France to go heavily into debt When their respective central banks and local merchant banks could no longer meet that need, the beleaguered governments turned to the Americans and selected the House of Morgan—acting as partners of the Rothschilds—to act as sales agent for their bonds. Most of the money raised in this fashion was

British Museum Print Room

quickly returned to the United States to acquire war-sensitive materials, and Morgan was selected as the U.S. purchase agent for those as well. A commission was paid on all transactions in both directions: once when the money was borrowed and again when it was spent. Furthermore, many of the companies receiving production contracts were either owned outright by Morgan holding companies or were securely within his orbit of bank control- Under such an arrangement it will not be surprising to learn, as we shall in a moment, that Morgan was not overly anxious to see hostilities come to a close. Even the most honorable of men can be corrupted by the temptation of such gigantic flows of cash.

Writing in the year 1919, just a few months after the end of the war, John Moody says:

Not only did England and France pay for their supplies with money furnished by Wall Street, but they made their purchases through the same medium…. Inevitably the house of Morgan was selected for this important task Thus the war had given Wall Street an entirely new role. Hitherto it has been exclusively the headquarters of finance; now it became the greatest industrial mart the world had ever known. In addition to selling stocks and bonds, financing railroads, and performing the other tasks of a great banking center, Wall Street began to deal in shells, cannon, submarines, blankets, clothing, shoes, canned meats, wheat and the thousands of other articles needed for the prosecution of a great war.

The money began to flow in January of 1915 when the Hduse of Morgan signed a contract with the British Army Council and the Admiralty. The first purchase, curiously, was for horses, and the amount tendered was $12 million. But that was but the first drop of rain before the deluge. Total purchases would eventually climb to an astronomical $3 billion. The firm became the largest consumer on earth, spending up to $10 million per day. Morgan offices at 23 Wall Street were mobbed by brokers and manufacturers seeking to cut a deal The bank had to post guards at every door and at the partners' homes as well. Each month, Morgan presided over purchases which were equal to the gross national product of the entire world just one generation before.


1. John Moody, The Masters of Capital (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1919), pp. 164-165.

2. Chemow, pp. 187-89.

1 Throughout all this, Morgan vigorously claimed to be a pacifist.

"Nobody could hate war more than I do/' he told the Senate Munitions Committee. But such professions of righteousness were difficult to accept. Lewinsohn comments: The 500 million dollar loan contracted in autumn 1915 brought to the group of bankers, at whose head Morgan was, a net profit of 9 million dollars…. Again, in 1917, the French government paid to Morgan's and other banks a commission of 1,500,000 dollars, and a further million in 1918.

Besides the issue of loans there was another source of profit: the purchase and sale of American stock which the Allies surrendered so that they could buy munitions in the States. It is estimated that in the course of the war some 2000 million [two billion] dollars passed in this way through Morgan's hands. Even if the commission was very small, transactions of such dimensions would give him an influence on the stock market which would carry very real advantages….

His hatred against war did not prevent him, citizen of a neutral country, from furnishing belligerent powers with 4,400,000 rifles for a matter of $194,000,000…. The profits were such as to compensate to some degree his hatred of warfare. According to his own account, he received, as agent of the English and French governments, a commission of 1% on orders totalling $3,000,000,000. That is, he received some $30,000,000…. Besides these two chief principals, Morgan, however, also acted for Russia (for whom he did business amounting to $412,000,000) and for Italy and Canada (figures for his business with the last two not having been published)….

J.P. Morgan, and some of his partners in the bank, were at the time shareholders in companies that were … concerns which made substantial profits from the orders he placed with them…. It is really astonishing that a central buying organization should have been confided to one who was buyer and seller at the same time.


But there were dark clouds gathering above Wall Street as the war began to go badly for the Allies. With the passage of time and the condensing of history, it is easy to forget that Germany and the Central Powers almost won the war prior to U.S. entry. Employing a small fleet of newly developed submarines, Germany was well on her way to cutting off England and her allies from all outside help. It was an amazing feat and it changed forever the concept of naval warfare. Germany had a total of twenty-one U-boats, but, because

1- Lewinsohn, pp. 103-4,222-24.


they constantly had to be repaired and serviced, the maximum number at sea was only seven at any one time. Yet, between 1914 and 1918, German submarines had sunk over 5,700 surface ships. Three-hundred thousand tons of Allied shipping were sent to the bottom every week. One out of every four steamers leaving the British Isles never returned. In later years, British Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, wrote: "At that time, it certainly looked as though we were going to lose the war/' Robert Ferrell, in his Woodrow Wilson and World War J, concluded: "The Allies approached the brink of disaster, with no recourse other than to ask Germany for terms." William McAdoo, who was Secretary of the Treasury at the time, says in his memoirs:

Across the sea came the dismay of the British—a dismay that carried a deepening note of disaster. There was a fear, and a well-grounded one, that England might be starved into abject surrender…. On April 27,1917, Ambassador Walter H. Page reported confidentially to the President that the food in the British Isles was not more than enough to feed the civil population for six weeks or two months.

Under these circumstances, it became impossible for Morgan to find new buyers for the Allied war bonds, neither for fresh funding nor to replenish the old bonds which were coming due and facing default. This was serious on several counts. If bond sales came to a halt, there would be no money to continue purchasing war materials. Commissions would be lost at both ends. Furthermore^ if the previously sold bonds were to go into default, as they certainly would if Britain and France were forced to accept peace on Germany's terms, the investors would sustain gigantic losses. Something had to be done. But what? Robert Ferrell hints at the answer:

In the mid thirties a Senate committee headed by Gerald P. Nye of North Dakota investigated the pre-1917 munitions trade and raised a possibility that the Wilson administration went to war because American bankers needed to protect their Allied loans.

1. Balfour MSS, FO/800/208, British Foreign Office records, Public Record Office, London, as cited by Robert H. Ferrell, Woodrow Wilson and World War I (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), p. 35.

2. Ferrell, p. 12.

3. William G. McAdoo, Crowded Years (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931; rpt. New York: Kennikat Press, 1971), p. 392.

4. Ferrell, p. 88.

rAs previously mentioned by William McAdoo, the American ambassador to England at that time was Walter Hines Page, a trustee of Rockefeller's social-engineering foundation called the General Education Board. It was learned by the Nye committee that, in addition to his government salary, which he complained was not high enough, Page also received an allowance of $25,000 a year (an enormous amount in 1917) from Cleveland Dodge, president of Rockefeller's National City Bank. On March 15, 1917, Ambassador Page sent a telegram to the State Department outlining the financial crisis in England. Since sources of new capital had dried up, the only way to keep the war going, he said, was to make direct grants from the U.S. Treasury. But, since this would be a violation of neutrality treaties, the United States would have to abandon its neutrality and enter the war. He said:

I think that the pressure of this approaching crisis has gone beyond the ability of the Morgan Financial Agency for the British and French Governments…. The greatest help we could give the Allies would be such a credit…. Unless we go to war with Germany, our Government, of course, cannot make such a direct grant of credit. 1

The Morgan group had floated one-and-a-half billion dollars in loans to Britain and France. With the fortunes of war turning against them, investors were facing the threat of a total loss. As Ferdinand Lundberg observed: "The declaration of war by the United States, in addition to extricating the wealthiest American families from a dangerous situation, also opened new vistas of profits." 2


One of the most influential men behind the scenes at this time was Colonel Edward Mandell House, personal adviser to Woodrow Wilson and, later, to F.D.R. House had close contacts with both J.P. Morgan and the old banking families of Europe. He had received several years of his schooling in England and, in later years, surrounded himself with prominent members of the Fabian Society. Furthermore, he was a man of great personal wealth, most of it acquired during the War Between the States. His father, Thomas William House, had acted as the confidential American agent of

1 Quoted by Ferdinand Lundberg, America's Sixty Families (New York: Vanguard Press, 1937), p. 141. Also see Link et al, eds., The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, Vol. 41 (1983), pp. 336-37, cited by Ferrell, p. 90.

2 Lundberg, pp. 141-42.

unknown banking interests in London. It was commonly believed he represented the Rothschilds. Although settled in Houston, Texas, the elder often remarked that he wanted his sons to "know and serve England." He was one of the few residents of a Confederate state who emerged from the War with a great fortune.

It is widely acknowledged that Colonel House was the man who selected Wilson as a presidential candidate and who secured his nomination. He became Wilson's constant companion, and the President admitted publicly that he depended on him greatly for instruction and guidance. Many of Wilson's important appointive posts in government were hand selected by House. He and Wilson even went so far as to develop a private code so they could communicate freely over the telephone. The President himself had written: "Mr. House is my second personality. He is my independent self. His thoughts and mine are one,"

George Viereck, an admiring biographer of House, tells us:

House had the Texas delegation in his pocket…. Always moving quietly in the background, he made and unmade several governors of Texas…. House selected Wilson because he regarded him as the best available candidate….

For seven long years Colonel House was Woodrow Wilson's other self. For six long years he shared with him all but the title of the Chief Magistracy of the Republic. For six years two rooms were at his disposal in the North Wing of the White House…. It was House who made the slate for the Cabinet formulated the first policies of the Administration and practically directed the foreign affairs of the United States. We had, indeed, two Presidents for one!… Super-ambassador, he talked to emperors and kings as an equal. He was the spiritual generalissimo of the Administration. He was the pilot who guided the ship.


As the presidential election neared for Wilson's second term, Colonel House entered into a series of confidential talks with Sir


1. The Columbia Encyclopedia (Third Edition, 1962, p. 2334) says the Democratic Party nomination went to Wilson when William Jennings Bryan switched his support to him "prompted by Edward M. House." For details, see Martin, p. 155-

2. Charles Seymour, The Intimate Papers of Colonel House (New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1926), Vol 1, pp. 114-15.

3. Seymour, Vol. I, p. 114.

4. George Sylvester Viereck, The Strangest Friendship in History: Woodrow Wilson and Colonel House (New York: Liveright Publishers, 1932), pp. 4,18-19,33,35.

William Wiseman, who was attached to the British embassy in Washington and who acted as a secret intermediary between House and the British Foreign Office. Charles Seymour writes: "Between House and Wiseman there were soon to be few political secrets." 1 his was upsetting to the Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan. Mrs. Bryan, as co-author of her husband's memoirs, writes:

While Secretary Bryan was bearing the heavy responsibility of the Department of State, there arose the curious conditions surrounding Mr. E.M. House's unofficial connection with the President and his voyages abroad on affairs of State, which were not communicated to Secretary Bryan…. The President was unofficially dealing with foreign governments.

What was the purpose of those dealings? It was nothing less than to work out the means whereby the United States could be brought into the war. Viereck explains:

Ten months before the election which returned Wilson to the White House in 1916 "because he kept us out of war," Colonel House negotiated a secret agreement with England and France on behalf of Wilson which pledged the United States to intervene on behalf of the Allies.

On March 9, 1916, Woodrow Wilson formally sanctioned the undertaking. If an inkling of the conversations between Colonel House and the leaders of England and France had reached the American people before the election, it might have caused incalculable revulsions of public opinion….

From this conversation and various conferences with Sir Edward Grey grew the Secret Treaty, made without the knowledge and consent of the United States Senate, by which Woodrow Wilson and House chained the United States to the chariot of the Entente…. After the War the text of the agreement leaked out. Grey was the first to tattle. Page discussed it at length. Colonel House tells its history. C. Hartley Grattan discusses it at length in his book, Why We FoughL But for some incomprehensible reason the enormous significance of the revelation never penetrated the consciousness of the American people. 3

l> Seymour, Vol. 11, p. 399.

|- William Jennings Bryan and Mary Baird Bryan, The Memoirs of William Jennings

Bryan (New York: Kennikat Press, 1925), Vol. II, pp. 404^5.

3 — Viereck, pp. 106-08. This matter, along with the complete text of Sir Grey's

memorandum, is discussed in The Memoirs of William Jennings Bryan Vol. 11, pp.

The basic terms of the agreement were that the United States government would offer to negotiate a peaceful settlement between Germany and the Allies and would then put forth a specific proposal for the terms of that settlement. If either side refused to accept the proposal, then the United States would come into the war as an ally of the other side. The catch was that the terms of the proposal were carefully drafted so that Germany could not possibly accept them. Thus, to the world, it would look as though Germany was at fault and the United States was humanitarian. As Ambassador Page observed in a memorandum dated February 9,1916:

House arrived from Berlin-Havre-Paris full of the idea of American intervention. First his plan was that he and I and a group of the British Cabinet (Grey, Asquith, Lloyd George, Reading, etc.) should at once work out a minimum programme of peace—the least that the Allies would accept, which, he assumed, would be unacceptable to the Germans; and that the President would take this programme and present it to both sides; the side that declined would be responsible for continuing the war…. Of course, the fatal moral weakness of the foregoing scheme is that we should plunge into the War, not on the merits of the cause, but by a carefully sprung trick.

On the surface it is a paradox that Wilson, who had always been a pacifist, should now enter into a secret agreement with foreign powers to involve the United States in a war which she could easily avoid. The key that unlocks this mystery is the fact that Wilson also was an internationalist. One of the strongest bonds between House and himself was their common dream of a world government. They both recognized that the American people would never accept such a concept unless there were extenuating circumstances. They reasoned that a long and bloody war was probably the only event that could condition the American mind to accept the loss of national sovereignty, especially if it were packaged with the promise of put-ting an end to all wars in the future. Wilson knew, also, that, if the United States came into the war early enough to make a real difference on the battlefield and if large amounts of American dollars could be loaned to the Allied powers, he would be in a position after the war to dictate the terms of peace. He wrote to Colonel House: "England and France have not the same views with regard to peace as we have by any means. When the war is over, we can force them

1. Quoted by Viereck, pp. 112-13.


lo our way of thinking, because by that rime they will among other things be financially in our hands." 1 And so Wilson tolerated the agony of mixed emotions as he plotted for war as a necessary evil to bring about what he perceived as the ultimate good of world government.

With the arrival of 1917, the President was planting hints of both war and world government in almost every public utterance. In a typical statement made in March of that year, he said: "The tragic ents of the thirty months of vital turmoil through which we have just passed have made us citizens of the world. There can be no turning back. Our own fortunes as a nation are involved, whether we would have it so or not/

It was about this same time that Wilson called together the Democratic leaders of Congress to a special breakfast meeting at the White House. He told them that, in spite of public sentiment, there were many sound reasons for the country to enter the war and he asked them to help him sell this plan to Congress and the voters. Harry Elmer Barnes tells us:

These men were opposed to war and, hence, rejected his proposals somewhat heatedly. Wilson knew that it was a poor time to split the party just before an election, so he dropped the matter at once and, with Col. House, mapped out a pacifist platform for the coming campaign. Governor Martin Glynn of New York and Senator Ollie James of Kentucky were sent to the St. Louis convention to make keynote speeches, which were based on the slogan: "He kept us out of war!.".. Before he had been inaugurated a second time, the Germans played directly into his hands by announcing the resumption of submarine warfare…. It was fortunate for Britain and the bankers that the Germans made this timely blunder, as Great Britain had overdrawn her American credit by some $450,000,000 and the bankers were having trouble in floating more large private loans. It was necessary now to_pass on the burden of financing the Entente to the Federal Treasury.

1 Quoted by Ferrell, p. 88.

2 Ferrell, p. 12.

3. Harry Elmer Barnes, In Quest of Truth and Justice: De-Bunkmg the War Guilt Myth (Chicago: National Historical Society, 1928; rpt. New York: Arno Press & The New York Times, 1972), p. 104. For an additional account of this meeting, see Viereck, pp. 180—83.


Through secret agreements and trickery, America had been committed to war, but the political and monetary scientists realized that something still had to be done to change public sentiment. How could that be accomplished?

Wall Street control over important segments of the media was considerable. George Wheeler tells us: "Around this time the Morgan firm was choosing the top executives for the old and troubled Harper & Brothers publishing house…. In the newspaper field, Pierpont Morgan at this period was in effective control of the New York Sun,… the Boston News Bureau, Barron's magazine, and the Wall Street Journal." 1

On February 9,1917, Representative Callaway from Texas took the floor of Congress and provided further insight. He said:

In March, 1915, the J. P. Morgan interests, the steel, shipbuilding, and powder interests, and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press…. They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers…. An agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought to be paid for by the month; an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies, and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers.

Charles S. Mellen of the New Haven Railroad testified before Congress that his Morgan-owned railroad had more than one-thousand New England newspapers on the payroll, costing about $400,000 annually. The railroad also held almost a half-million dollars in bonds issued by the Boston Herald. This web of control was multiplied by hundreds of additional companies which also were controlled by Morgan and other investment-banking houses.

In addition, the Morgan trust exercised media control by its power of advertising. Writing in 1937, Lundberg says: "More advertising is controlled by the J.P. Morgan junta than by any single


1. George Wheeler, Pierpont Morgan and Friends: The Anatomy of a Myth (Engle-wood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1973), pp. 283-84.

2. Congressional Record, Vol. 54, Feb- 9,1917, p. 2947

3. Lundberg, p. 257.

financial group, a factor which immediately gives the banking house the respectful attention of all alert independent publishers."

» Morgan control over the media at that time is well documented,

but he was by no means alone in this. During the 1912 hearings held by the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, it was revealed that Representative Joseph Sibley from Pennsylvania was acting as a funnel for Rockefeller money to various cooperative Congressmen. A letter was introduced to the Committee written by Sibley in 1905 to John D. Archbold, the man at Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company who provided the money. In that letter Sibley said: "An efficient literary bureau is needed, not for a day or a crisis but a permanent healthy control of the Associated Press and kindred

I avenues. It will cost money but will be the cheapest in the end." Lundberg comments further: So far as can be learned, the Rockefellers have given up their old policy of owning newspapers and magazines outright, relying now upon the publications of all camps to serve their best interests in return for the vast volume of petroleum and allied advertising under Rockefeller control. After the J.P. Morgan bloc, the Rockefellers have the most advertising of any group to dispose of. And when advertising alone is not sufficient to insure the fealty of a newspaper, the Rockefeller companies have been known to make direct payments in return for a friendly editorial attitude. It is not surprising, therefore, that a large part of the nation's press, particularly in the East, began to editorially denounce Germany. The cry spread across the land to take up arms against "the enemy of western civilization." Editors became eloquent on the patriotic duty of all Americans to defend world democracy. Massive "preparedness" demonstrations and parades were organized.

But it was not enough. In spite of this massive sales campaign, the American people still were not buying. Polls conducted at the time showed popular sentiment continuing to run ten-to-one in favor of staying out of Europe's war. Clearly, what was needed was something both drastic and dramatic to change public opinion.

1 Lundberg, p. 252.

2 Ibid.,pp.97,249.

3 ifctf.,p.247.



Banking was not the only business in which Morgan had a strong financial interest. Using his control over the nation's railroads as financial leverage, he had created an international shipping trust which included Germany's two largest lines plus one of the two in England, the White Star Lines. Morgan had attempted in 1902 to take over the remaining British line, the Cunard Company, but was blocked by the British Admiralty which wanted to keep Cunard out of foreign control so her ships could be pressed into military service, if necessary, in time of war. The Lusitania and the Mauretania were built by Cunard and became major competitors of the Morgan cartel. It is an interesting footnote of history, therefore, that, from the Morgan perspective, the Lusitania was quite dispensable. Ron Chernow explains:

Pierpont assembled a plan for an American-owned shipping trust that would transpose his "community of interest" principle—cooperation among competitors in a given industry—to a global plane. He created … the world's largest [fleet] under private ownership…. An important architect of the shipping trust was Albert Ballin, whose Hamburg-Amerika Steamship Line, with hundreds of vessels, was the world's largest shipping company…. Pierpont had to contend with a single holdout, Britain's Cunard Line…. After the Boer War, the Morgan combine and Cunard exhausted each other in debilitating rate wars." 1

As stated previously, Morgan had been retained as the official trade agent for Britain. He handled the purchasing of all war materials in the United States and coordinated their shipping as well. Following in the footsteps of the Rothschilds of centuries past, he quickly learned the profitable skills of war-time smuggling. Colin Simpson, author of The Lusitania, describes the operation:

Throughout the period of America's neutrality, British servicemen in civilian clothes worked at Morgan's. This great banking combine rapidly established such a labyrinthine network of false shippers, bank accounts and all the paraphernalia of smuggling that, although they fooled the Germans, there were also some very serious occasions when they flummoxed the Admiralty and Cunard, not to speak of the unfortunate passengers on the liners which carried the contraband. 2

1. Chernow, pp. 100-01.

2. Colin Simpson, The Lusitania (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1972), p. 50.


The Lusitania was a British passenger liner that sailed regularly between Liverpool and New York. She was owned by the Cunard Company, which, as previously mentioned, was the only major ship line which was a competitor of the Morgan cartel. She left New York harbor on May 1, 1915, and was sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland six days later. Of the 1,195 persons who lost their lives, 195 were Americans. It was this event, more than any other, that provided the advocates of war with a convincing platform for their views, and it became the turning point where Americans reluctantly began to accept, if not the necessity of war, at least its inevitability.

The fact that the Lusitania was a passenger ship is misleading. Although she was built as a luxury liner, her construction specifications were drawn up by the British Admiralty so that she could be converted, if necessary, into a ship of war. Everything from the horsepower of her engines and the shape of her hull to the placement of ammunition storage areas were, in fact, military designs. She was built specifically to carry twelve six-inch guns. The construction costs for these features were paid for by the British government. Even in times of peace, it was required that her crew include officers and seamen from the Royal Navy Reserve.

In May of 1913, she was brought back into dry dock and outfitted with extra armor, revolving gun rings on her decks, and shell racks in the hold for ammunition. Handling elevators to lift the shells to the guns were also installed. Twelve high-explosive cannons were delivered to the dry dock. All this is a matter of public record at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, but whether the guns were actually installed at that time is still hotly debated. There is no evidence that they were. In any event, on September 17, the Lusitania returned to sea ready for the rigors of war, and she was entered into the Admiralty fleet register, not as a passenger liner, but an armed auxiliary cruiser] From then on, she was listed in Jane's Fighting Ships as an auxiliary cruiser and in the British publication, The Naval Annual, as an armed merchant man.

Part of the dry dock modification was to remove all the passenger accommodations in the lower deck to make room for more

I. Simpson, pp. 17-28, 70.


military cargo. Thus, the Lusitania became one of the most important carriers of war materials—including munitions—from the United States to England. On March 8,1915, after several close calls with German submarines, the captain of the Lusitania turned in his resignation. He was willing to face the U-boats, he said, but he was no longer willing "to carry the responsibility of mixing passengers with munitions or contraband/'


From England's point of view, the handwriting on the wall was clear. Unless the United States could be brought into the war as her ally, she soon would have to sue for peace. The challenge was how to push Americans off their position of stubborn neutrality. How that was accomplished is one of the more controversial aspects of the war. It is inconceivable to many that English leaders might have deliberately plotted the destruction of one of their own vessels with American citizens aboard as a means of drawing the United States into the war as an ally. Surely, any such idea is merely German propaganda. Robert Ballard, writing in National Geographic, says: "Within days of the sinking, German sympathizers in New York came up with a conspiracy theory. The British Admiralty, they said, had deliberately exposed Lusitania to harm, hoping she would be attacked and thus draw the U.S. into the war."

Let's take a closer look at this conspiracy theory. Winston Churchill, who was First Lord of the Admiralty at that time, said:

There are many kinds of maneuvers in war…. There are maneuvers in time, in diplomacy, in mechanics, in psychology; all of which are removed from the battlefield, but react often decisively upon it…. The maneuver which brings an ally into the field is as serviceable as that which wins a great battle. The maneuver which gains an important strategic point may be less valuable than that which placates or overawes a dangerous neutral.

The maneuver chosen by Churchill was particularly ruthless. Under what was called the Cruiser Rules, warships of both England and Germany gave the crews of unarmed enemy merchant ships a

1. Sunpson, p. 87.

2. "Riddle of the Lusitania/' by Robert Ballard, National Geographic, AprU, 1994, p. 74.

3. Winston Churchill, The World Crisis (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1949), p. 300. This appears on p. 464 of the Barnes & Noble 1993 reprint.

chance to take to the lifeboats before sinking them. But, in October of 1914, Churchill issued orders that British merchant ships must no longer obey a U-boat order to halt and be searched. If they had armament, they were to engage the enemy, If they did not, they were to attempt to ram the sub. The immediate result of this change was to force German U-boats to remain submerged for protection and to simply sink the ships without warning.

Why would the British want to do such a stupid thing that would cost the lives of thousands of their own seamen? The answer is that it was not an act of stupidity. It was cold blooded strategy. Churchill boasted:

The first British countermove, made on my responsibility,… was to deter the Germans from surface attack. The submerged U-boat had to rely increasingly on underwater attack and thus ran the greater risk of mistaking neutral for British ships and of drowning neutral crews and thus embroiling Germany with other Great Powers. 1

To increase the likelihood of accidentally sinking a ship from a neutral "Great Power," Churchill ordered British ships to remove their names from their hulls and, when in port, to fly the flag of a neutral power, preferably that of the United States. As further provocation, the British navy was ordered to treat captured U-boat crew members not as prisoners of war but as felons. "Survivors/' wrote Churchill, "should be taken prisoner or shot—whichever is the most convenient." Other orders, which now are an embarrassing part of official navy archives, were even more ruthless: "In a)] actions, white flags should be fired upon with promptitude/

The trap was carefully laid. The German navy was goaded into a position of shoot-first and ask questions later and, under those conditions, it was inevitable that American lives would be lost


After many years of investigation, it is now possible to identify the cargo that was loaded aboard the Lusitania on her last voyage. It included 600 tons of pyroxyline (commonly called gun cotton), 4


I Churchill, pp. 274-75.

2. Taken from the Diaries of Admiral Sir Hubert Richmond, Feb. 27,1915, National

Maritime Museum, Greenwich, as quoted by Simpson, p. 37.

3- P.R.O., ADM/116/1359, Dec. 23,1914, quoted by Simpson, p. 37.

4. Gun cotton explodes with three-times the force of gunpowder in a confined

space and can be ignited at a much lower flash point. See Eissler, Manuel, Modern

High Explosives (New York John Wiley & Sons, 1914), pp. 110,112,372.


six-million rounds of ammunition, 1,248 cases of shrapnel shells (which may not have included explosive charges), plus an unknown quantity of munitions that completely filled the holds on the lowest deck and the trunkways and passageways of F deck. In addition, there were many tons of "cheese," "lard," "furs" and other items which were shown later to be falsely labelled. What they were is not now known, but it is certain they were at least contraband if not outright weapons of war. They were all consigned through the J.P. Morgan Company. But none of this was suspected by the public, least of all those hapless Americans who unknowingly booked a passage to death for themselves and their families as human decoys in a global game of high finance and low politics.

The German embassy in Washington was well aware of the nature of the cargo being loaded aboard the Lusitania and filed a formal complaint to the United States government, because almost all of it was in direct violation of international neutrality treaties. The response was a flat denial of any knowledge of such cargo. Seeing that the Wilson Administration was tacitly approving the shipment, the German embassy made one final effort to avert disaster. It placed an ad in fifty East Coast newspapers, including those in New York City, warning Americans not to take passage on the Lusitania. The ad was prepaid and requested to be placed on the paper's travel page a full week before the sailing date. It read as follows:


TRAVELERS intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or of any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travelers sailing in the war zone on ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.


Washington, D.C., April 22,1915.

Although the ad was in the hands of newspapers in time for the requested deadline, the State Department intervened and, raising the specter of possible libel suits, frightened the publishers into not printing it without prior clearance from State Department attorneys. Of the fifty newspapers, only the Des Moines Register carried the ad pn the requested date. What happened next is described by Simpson:

George Viereck [who was the editor of a German-owned newspaper at that time and who had placed the ads on behalf of the embassy] spent April 26 asking the State Department why his advertisement had not been published. Eventually he managed to obtain an interview with [Secretary of State, William Jennings] Bryan and pointed out to him that on all but one of her wartime voyages the Lusitania had carried munitions. He produced copies of her supplementary manifests, which were open to public inspection at the collector's office. More important, he informed Bryan, no fewer than six million rounds of ammunition were due to be shipped on the Lusitania the following Friday and could be seen at that moment being loaded on pier 54. Bryan picked up the telephone and cleared the publication of the advertisement. He promised Viereck that he would endeavor to persuade the President publicly to warn Americans not to travel. No such warning was issued by the President, but there can be no doubt that President Wilson was told of the character of the cargo destined for the Lusitania. He did nothing, but was to concede on the day he was told of her sinking that his foreknowledge had given him many sleepless hours.

It is probably true that Wilson was a pacifist at heart, but it is equally certain that he was not entirely the master of his own destiny. He was a transplanted college professor from the ivy-covered walls of Princeton, an internationalist at heart who dreamed of helping to create a world government and to usher in a millennium of peace. But he found himself surrounded by and dependent upon men of strong wills, astute political aptitudes, and powerful finan-

Icial resources. Against these forces, he was all but powerless to act on his own, and there is good reason to believe that he inwardly suffered over many of the events in which he was compelled to participate. We shall leave it to others to moralize about a man who, by his deliberate refusal to warn his countrymen of their mortal peril, sends 195 of them to their watery graves. We may wonder, also,

1. Simpson, p. 97.


about how such a man can commit the ultimate hypocrisy of condemning the Germans for this act and then doing everything possible to prevent the American public from learning the truth. It would be surprising if the extent of his private remorse was not greater than merely a few sleepless hours.


But we are getting slightly ahead of the story. While Morgan and Wilson were setting the deadly stage on the American side of the Atlantic, Churchill was playing his part on the European side. When the Lusitania left New York Harbor on May 1, her orders were to rendezvous with a British destroyer, the Jnno, just off the coast of Ireland so she would have naval protection as she entered hostile waters. When the Lusitania reached the rendezvous point, however, she was alone, and the captain assumed they had missed each other in the fog. In truth, the Juno had been called out of the area at the last minute and ordered to return to Queenstown. And this was done with the full knowledge that the Lusitania was on a direct course into an area where a German submarine was known to be operating. To make matters worse, the Lusitania had been ordered to cut back on the use of coal, not because of shortages, but because it would be less expensive. Slow targets, of course, are much easier to hit. Yet, she was required to shut down one of her four boilers and, consequently, was now entering submarine-infested waters at only 75% of her potential speed.

As the Lusitania drew closer to hostile waters, almost everyone knew she was in grave danger. Newspapers in London were alive with the story of German warnings and recent sinkings. In the map room of the British Admiralty, Churchill watched the play unfold and coldly called the shots. Small disks marked the places where two ships had been torpedoed the day before. A circle indicated the area within which the U-boat must still be operating. A larger disk represented the Lusitania travelling at nineteen knots directly into the circle. Yet, nothing was done to help her. Admiral Coke at Queenstown was given perfunctory instructions to protect her as best he could, but he had no means to do so and, in fact, no one even bothered to notify the captain of the Lusitania that the rendezvous with the Juno had been canceled.

One of the officers present in the high-command map room on that fateful day was Commander Joseph Kenworthy, who pre-


viously had been called upon by Churchill to submit a paper on w hat would be the political results of an ocean liner being sunk with American passengers aboard. He left the room in disgust at the cynicism of his superiors. In 1927, in his book, The Freedom of the Seas, he wrote without further comment: "The Lusitania was sent at considerably reduced speed into an area where a U-boat was known to be waiting and with her escorts withdrawn/' Further comment is not needed.

Colonel House was in England at that time and, on the day of the sinking, was scheduled to have an audience with King George V. He was accompanied by Sir Edward Grey and, on the way, Sir Grey asked him: "What will America do if the Germans sink an ocean liner with American passengers on board?" As recorded in House's diaries, he replied: "I told him if this were done, a flame of indignation would sweep America, which would in itself probably carry us into the war." 2 Once at Buckingham Palace, King George also brought up the subject and was even more specific about the possible target. He asked, "Suppose they should sink the Lusitania with American passengers on board…."


Four hours after this conversation, the black smoke of the Lusitania was spotted on the horizon through the periscope of the German submarine, 17-20. The ship came directly toward the U-boat, allowing it to full-throttle out of her path and swing around for a ninety-degree shot at her bow as she passed only 750 yards away. The torpedo struck nine feet below the water line on the starboard side slightly forward of the bridge. A second torpedo was readied but not needed. Quickly after the explosion of the impact, there was a second and much larger explosion that literally blew the side off of cargo hold number two and started the great ship immediately toward the bottom. And what a hole it must have been. The Lusitania, one of the largest ships ever built, sank in less than eight-n minutes!

| Joseph M. Kenworthy and George Young, The Freedom of the Seas (New York: Ayer Company, 1929), p. 211.

Seymour, Vol I, p. 432

&&., p. 432.

Survivors among the crew who were working in the boiler rooms during the attack have attested that the boilers did not blow at that time. Simpson tells us:

The G torpedo had failed to blow in the inner bulkhead of No l boiler room, but just further forward something blew out most of the bottom of the bow of the ship. It may have been the Bethlehem Company's 3-inch shells, the six million rounds of rifle ammunition or the highly dubious contents of the bales of furs or the small forty-pound boxes of cheese. Divers who have been down to the wreck unanimously testify that the bow was blasted by a massive internal explosion, and large pieces of the bow plating, buckled from the inside, are to be found some distance from the hull. 1

When a search team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute surveyed the wreckage in the summer of 1993, they reported: "When our cameras swept across the hold, we got a big surprise-There was no hole…. We found no evidence that U-20's torpedo had detonated an explosion, undermining one theory of why the liner sank.'

It is difficult to share the team's surprise. Photographs show that the wreck is resting on its starboard (right) side. Since that is where the torpedo struck, it is logical that the hole would not be visible. It would be on the side buried in the ocean floor. The team reported that they were able to inspect only part of the hull's underside. That is because most of it—plus the entire starboard side—is buried in the muck. Since the torpedo struck only nine feet below the waterline, the hole would not logically be anywhere near the bottom of the hull but at a point midway between the main deck and the bottom In other words, it would be at the midpoint of the side that is now facing down. Failure to see the hole does not undermine the theory of internal explosion. It is exactly what one would expect.

In any event, it should be obvious that the Lusitania would not have gone to the bottom in eighteen minutes without a hole some-ivhere. Even the search team had to acknowledge that fact indirectly when it addressed the question of what might have caused the second explosion. In an obvious effort to avoid giving support to a "conspiracy theory," the report concluded that the explosion probably was caused, not by munitions, but by coal dust.



1. Simpson, p. 157.

2. Ballard, "Riddle of the Lusitania/' pp. 74, 76.

In the final analysis, it makes little difference whether the explosion was caused by munitions or coal dust. The fact that it could have been caused by munitions is sufficient for the case.


An official inquiry, under the direction of Lord Mersey, was held to determine the facts of the sinking and to place the blame. It was a rigged affair from the beginning. All evidence and testimony was carefully pre-screened to make sure that nothing was admitted ffnto the record which would reveal duplicity on the part of British or American officials. Among the papers submitted to Lord Mersey prior to the hearings was one from Captain Richard Webb, one of the men chosen by the navy to assist in the cover up. It read: "I am directed by the board of Admiralty to inform you that it is considered politically expedient that Captain Turner, the master of the Lusitania, be most prominently blamed for the disaster."

The final report was a most interesting document. Anyone reading it without knowledge of the facts would conclude that Captain William Turner was to blame for the disaster. Even so, Mersey 'attempted to soften the blow. He wrote: ."..blame ought not to be imputed to the captain…. His omission to follow the advice in all respects cannot fairly be attributed either to negligence or incompetence." And then he added a final paragraph which, on the surface, appears to be a condemnation of the Germans but which, if read with understanding of the background, was an indictment of Churchill, Wilson, House and Morgan. He wrote:

The whole blame for the cruel destruction of life in this catastrophe must rest solely with those who plotted and with those L who committed the crime.

Did Lord Mersey know that there could be a dual meaning to his Words? Perhaps not, but, two days after delivering his judgment, he wrote to Prime Minister Asquith and turned down his fee for services. He added: "I must request that henceforth I be excused from pdministering His Majesty's Justice." In later years, his only comment on the event was: "The Lusitania case was a damn dirty business." 3

1- The Papers of Lord Mersey, Bignor Park, Sussex, as quoted by Simpson, p. 190.

2. Simpson, p. 241.

3. Ibid., p. 241.



The purposes of the Cabal would have been better served had an American ship been sunk by the Germans, but a British ship with 195 Americans drowned was sufficient to do the job. The players wasted no time in whipping up public sentiment. Wilson sent a note of outraged indignation to the Imperial German Government and this was widely quoted in the press.

By that time, Bryan had become completely disillusioned by the duplicity of his own government. On May 9, he sent a dour note to Wilson:

Germany has a right to prevent contraband going to the Allies and a sh ip carrying contraband should not rely upon passengers to protect her from attack-it would be like putting women and children in front of an army.

This did not deter Wilson from his commitment. The first note was followed by an even stronger one with threatening overtones which was intensely discussed at the Cabinet meeting on the first of June. McAdoo, who was present at the meeting, says:

I remember that Bryan had little to say at this meeting; he sat Uvoughout the proceedings with his eyes half closed most of the time After the meeting he told the President, as I learned later, that he could not sign the note…. Bryan went on to say that he thought his usefulness as Secretary of State was over, and he proposed to resign. 2 At the request of Wilson, McAdoo was dispatched to the Bryans' home to persuade the Secretary to change his mind, lest his resignation be taken as a sign of disunity within the President's Cabinet. Bryari agreed to think it over one more day but, the following morning his decision remained firm. In his memoirs, annotated by his wife, Mrs. Bryan reveals that her husband could not sleep that night He was so restless I suggested that he read a little rill he should become drowsy. He had in his handbag a copy of an old book printed in 1829 and called A Wreath of Appreciation of Andrew Jackson. He found it very interesting." 3

What irony. In chapter seventeen we shall review the total war waged by President Jackson against the Bank of the United States,

the predecessor of the Federal Reserve System, and we shall be reminded that it was Jackson who prophesied:

Is there no danger to our liberty and independence in a bank that in its nature has so little to bind it to our country?… [Is there not] cause to tremble for the purity of our elections in peace and for the independence of our country in war?… Controlling our currency, receiving our public monies, and holding thousands of our citizens in dependence, it would be more formidable and dangerous than a naval and military power of the enemy.

One can only wonder what thoughts went through Bryan's mind as he recalled Jackson's warning and applied it to the artificially created war hysteria that, at that very moment, was being generated by the financial powers on Wall Street and at the newly created Federal Reserve.

From England, Colonel House sent a telegram to President Wilson which he, in turn, read to his Cabinet It became the genesis of thousands of newspaper editorials across the land. He said piously:

America has come to the parting of the ways, when she must determine whether she stands for civilized or uncivilized warfare. We can no longer remain neutral spectators. Our action in this crisis will determine the part we will play when peace is made, and how far we may influence a settlement for the lasting good of humanity. We are being weighed in the balance, and our position amongst nations is being assessed by mankind.

In another telegram two days later, House reveals himself as the master psycho-politician playing on Wilson's ego like a violinist stroking the strings of a Stradivarius. He wrote:

If, unhappily, it is necessary to go to war, I hope you will give the world an exhibition of American efficiency that will be a lesson for a century or more. It is generally believed throughout Europe that we are so unprepared and that it would take so long to put our resources into action, that our entering would make but little difference.

In the event of war, we should accelerate the manufacture of munitions to such an extent that we could supply not only ourselves but the Allies, and so quickly that the world would be astounded.

1 — Bryan, Vol II, pp. 398-9.

2. McAdoo, p. 333.

3. Bryan, Vol. II, p. 424.

1 — Herman E. Krooss, ed., Documentary History of Banking and Currency in the Unites States (New York: Chelsea House, 1983), Vol. ni, pp. 26-27.

2. Seymour, p. 434.

3. JM.,p.435.


Congress could not resist the combined pressure of the press and the President On April 16, 1917, the United States officially declared war on the Axis powers. Eight days later, Congress dutifully passed the War Loan Act which extended $1 billion in credit to the Allies. The first advance of $200 million went to the British the next day and was immediately applied as payment on the debt to Morgan. A few days later, $100 million went to France for the same purpose. But the drain continued. Within three months the British had run up their overdraft with Morgan to $400 million dollars, and the firm presented it to the government for payment. The Treasury, however, was unable to put its hands on that amount of money without jeopardizing its own spendable funds and, at first, refused to pay. The problem was quickly solved, however, through a maneuver described at some length in chapter ten. The Federal Reserve System under Benjamin Strong simply created the needed money through the Mandrake Mechanism. "The Wilson Administration found itself in an extremely awkward position, having to bail out J.P. Morgan," wrote Ferrell, but Benjamin Strong "offered to help [Treasury-Secretary] McAdoo out of the difficulty. Over the following months in 1917-18 the Treasury quietly paid Morgan piecemeal for the overdraft." 1 By the time the war was over, the Treasury had loaned a total of $9,466,000,000 including $2,170,000,000 given after the Armistice.

That was the cash flow they had long awaited. In addition to saving the Morgan loans, even larger profits were to be made from war production. The government had been secretly preparing for war for six months prior to the actual declaration. According to Franklin D. Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the Navy Department began extensive purchasing of war supplies in the Fall of 1916. Ferdinand Lundberg adds this perspective:

By no accident all the strategic government posts, notably those concerned with buying, were reserved for the Wall Street patriots. On the most vital appointments, Wilson consulted with Dodge [President of Rockefeller's National City Bank], who … recommended the hitherto unknown [Bernard] Baruch, speculator in copper stocks, as chairman of the all-powerful War Industries Board….

1. Ferrell, p. 89,90.

2. Clarence W. Barron, They Told Barron- Notes of Clarence Walker Barron, edited 193$' 51 and SamUel Tayl ° r M ° 0re (NeW Y ° rk; Har P er and Br0 * e <S'

As head of the War Industries Board, Baruch spent government funds at the rate of $10,000,000,000 annually…. Baruch packed the War Industries Board and its committees with past and future Wall Street manipulators, industrialists, financiers, and their agents … who fixed prices on a cost-plus basis and, as subsequent investigations revealed, saw to it that costs were grossly padded so as to yield hidden profits….

The American soldiers fighting in the trenches, the people working at home,the entire nation under arms, were fighting, not only to subdue Germany, but to subdue themselves. That there is nothing metaphysical about this interpretation becomes clear when we observe that the total wartime expenditure of the United States government from April 6, 1917, to October 31, 1919, when the last contingent of troops returned from Europe, was $35,413,000,000. Net corporation profits for the period January 1,1916, to July, 1921, when wartime industrial activity was finally liquidated, were $38,000,000,000, or approximately the amount of the war expenditures. More than two-thirds of these corporation profits were taken by precisely those enterprises which the Pujo Committee had found to be under the control of the "Money Trust."

The banking cartel was able, through the operation of the Federal Reserve System, to create the money to give to England and France so they, in turn, could pay back the American banks— exactly as was to be done again in World War II and again in the Big Bailout of the 1980s and '90s. It is true that, in 1917, the recently enacted income tax was useful for raising a sizable amount of revenue to conduct the war and also, as Beardsley Ruml pointed out a few years later, to take purchasing power away from the middle class. But the greatest source of funding came, as it always does in wartime, not from direct taxes, but from the hidden tax called inflation. Between 1915 and 1920, the money supply doubled from $20.6 billion to $39.8 billion. Conversely, during World War I, the purchasing power of the currency fell by almost 50%. That means Americans unknowingly paid to the government approximately one-half of every dollar that existed. And that was in addition to their taxes. This massive infusion of money was the product of the Mandrake Mechanism and cost nothing to create. Yet, the banks were able to collect interest on it all. The ancient partnership


1. Lundberg, pp. 134,144-45.

2. "Deposits and Currency—Adjusted Deposits of All Banks and Currency Outside Banks, 1892-1941," Banking and Monetary Statistics, 1914-1942 (Washington, D.C.: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 1976), p. 34.


between the political and monetary scientists had performed its mission well.


To finance the early stages of World War I, England and France had borrowed heavily from investors in America and had selected the House of Morgan as sales agent for their bonds. Morgan also acted as their U.S. purchasing agent for war materials, thus profiting from both ends of the cash flow: once when the money was borrowed and again when it was spent. Further profits were derived from production contracts placed with companies within the Morgan orbit. But the war began to go badly for the Allies when Germany's submarines took virtual control of the Atlantic shipping lanes. As England and France moved closer to defeat or a negotiated peace on Germany's terms, it became increasingly difficult to sell their bonds. No bonds meant no purchases, and the Morgan cash flow was threatened. Furthermore, if the previously sold bonds should go into default, as they certainly would in the wake of defeat, the Morgan consortium would suffer gigantic losses.

The only way to save the British Empire, to restore the value of the bonds, and to sustain the Morgan cash flow was for the United States government to provide the money. But, since neutral nations were prohibited from doing that by treaty, America would have to be brought into the war. A secret agreement to that effect was made between British officials and Colonel House, with the concurrence of the President. From that point forward, Wilson began to pressure Congress for a declaration of war. This was done at the very time he was campaigning for reelection on the slogan "He kept us out of war." Meanwhile, Morgan purchased control over major segments of the news media and engineered a nation-wide editorial blitz against Germany, calling for war as an act of American patriotism.

Morgan had created an international shipping cartel, including Germany's merchant fleet, which maintained a near monopoly on the high seas. Only the British Cunard Lines remained aloof. The Lusitania was owned by Cunard and operated in competition with Morgan's carteL The Lusitania was built to military specifications and was registered with the British Admiralty as an armed auxiliary cruiser. She carried passengers as a cover to conceal her real mission, which was to bring contraband war materials from the United States. This fact was known to Wilson and others in his administra-

tion, but they did nothing to stop it. When the German en*assy Xd to publish a warning to American passengers, the Sta e Apartment intervened and prevented newspapers from printing it wC*e Lusitania left New York harbor on her final voyage, she

-^»^2S« States into the war

■ wo uld mean the difference between defeat and victory, and any-7Z that could accomplish that was proper-^ven the coldly calcu-SacrificeofoneofhergreatshipswithEngUshmenaboard^u

ht trick was to have Americans on board also in order to create the toper emotional climate in the United States. As the Lus^nn Cved -to hostile waters, where a German U-boat was known o "operating, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Church ordered her destroyer protection to abandon her. This, plus the fact SJ£ had been oVred to travel at reduced speed, made her an easy target. After the impact of one well placed torpedo, a mighty second explosion from within ripped her apart, and the ship that many believed could not be sunk, guxgled to the bottom in less than

ei ^hTd^tad been done, and it set in motion great waves of revulsion against the Germans. These waves eventually flooded through Washington and swept the United States into war. Within days of the declaration, Congress voted $1 bilhon in credit for England and France. $200 million was sent to England immediately and was applied to the Morgan account. The vast quantity of money needed to" finance the war was created by the Federal Reserve System, which means it was collected from Americans through that

fully one-half of all they had saved. The infinitely higher cost in

American blood was added to the bill. ™> rs0 nali-

Thus it was that the separate motives of such diverse personal! ties as Winston Churchill, J.P. Morgan, Colonel House, and Woodrow Wilson all found common cause in bringing America into World War I. Churchill maneuvered for military advantage Morean sought the profits of war, House schemed for political power, and Wilson Lamed of a chance to dominate a post-war League of Nations.



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The German Embassy attempted to place ads in 50 newspapers warning that the Lusitania was a target of war, but the U.S. government prevented them from being printed except for this one which was run in the Des Moines Register. When the ship was sunk off the coast of Ireland with 195 Americans aboard, it became the center of a national campaign to generate emotional support for coming into the war.

Chapter Thirteen


The secret society founded by Cecil Rhodes for the purpose of world dominion; the establishment in America of a branch of tluit group called the Council cm Foreign Relations; the role played by financiers representing both of these groups in financing the Russian revolution; the use of the Red Cross mission in Moscow as a caver for that maneuver.

One of the greatest myths of contemporary history is that the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia was a popular uprising of the downtrodden masses against the hated ruling class of the Tsars. As we shall see, however, the planning, the leadership, and especially the financing came entirely from outside Russia, mostly from ifinanciers in Germany, Britain, and the United States. Furthermore, we shall see that the Rothschild Formula played a major role in shaping these events.

This amazing story begins with the war between Russia and Japan in 1904. Jacob Schiff, who was head of the New York investment firm of Kuhn, Loeb, and Company, had raised the capital for large war loans to Japan. It was due to this funding that the Japanese were able to launch a stunning attack against the Russians at Port Arthur and, the following year, to virtually decimate the Russian fleet. In 1905, the Mikado awarded Jacob Schiff a medal, the Second Order of the Treasure of ]apan, in recognition of his important role in that campaign.

During the two years of hostilities, thousands of Russian soldiers and sailors were taken as prisoners. Schiff paid for the printing of one-and-a-half tons of Marxist propaganda and had it delivered to the prison camps. He also sent scores of Russian-speaking revolutionaries, trained in New York, to distribute the

pamphlets among the prisoners and to indoctrinate them into rebellion against their own government. When the war was ended, 50,000 officers and enlisted men returned home to become virtual seeds of treason against the Tsar. They were to play a major role a few years later in creating mutiny among the military during the Communist takeover of Russia.


One of the best known Russian revolutionaries at that time was Leon Trotsky. In January of 1916, Trotsky was expelled from France and came to the United States at the invitation of Schiff. His travel expenses aboard the Monserrat were paid by his host. He remained for several months while writing for a Russian socialist paper the Novy Mir (New World), and giving revolutionary speeches at mass meetings in New York City. According to Trotsky himself, on many occasions a chauffeured limousine was placed at the service of his family by a wealthy friend identified as Dr. M. In his book, My Life Trotsky wrote: '

The doctor's wife took my wife and the boys out driving and was very kind to them. But she was a mere mortal, whereas the chauffeur was a magician, a titan, a superman! With the wave of his hand he made the machine obey his slightest command. To sit beside him was the supreme delight. When they went into a tea-room, the boys would anxiously demand of their mother, "Why doesn't the chauffeur come in?

It must have been a curious sight to see the family of the great socialist radical, defender of the working class, enemy of capitalism, enjoying the pleasures of tea rooms and chauffeurs, the very symbols of capitalist luxury. In any event, it is now known that almost all of his expenses in New York, including the mass rallies, were paid for by Jacob Schiff.

On March 23,1917, a mass meeting was held at Carnegie Hall to celebrate the abdication of Nicholas II, which meant the overthrow of Tsanst rule in Russia. Thousands of socialists, Marxists, nihilists, and anarchists attended to cheer the event. The following day there was published on page two of the New York Times, a telegram from Jacob Schiff which had been read to this audience. He expressed regrets that he could not attend and then described the successful

I- Leon Trotsky, My Life (New York: Scribner's, 1930), p. 277.


Russian revolution as ."..what we had hoped and striven for these long years."

In the February 3,1949, issue of the New York Journal American, Schiff's grandson, John, was quoted by columnist Cholly Knickerbocker as saying that his grandfather had given about $20 million for the triumph of Communism in Russia.

When Trotsky returned to Petrograd in May of 1917 to organize the Bolshevik phase of the Russian Revolution, he carried $10,000 for travel expenses, a generously ample fund considering the value of the dollar at that time. The amount is known with certainty because Trotsky was arrested by Canadian and British naval personnel when the ship on which he was travelling, the S.S. Kristianiafjord, put in at Halifax. The money in his possession is now a matter of official record. Because Trotsky was a known enemy of the Tsar and because Germany was then at war with Russia, it was assumed that the $10,000 was German money given to him in New York. The evidence, however, is that this, too, came from Kuhn, Loeb and Company.

Trotsky was not arrested on a whim. He was recognized as a threat to the best interests of England, Canada's mother country in the British Commonwealth. Russia was an ally of England in the First World War which then was raging in Europe. Anything that would weaken Russia—and that certainly included internal revolution—would be, in effect, to strengthen Germany and weaken England. In New York, on the night before his departure, Trotsky had given a speech in which he said: "I am going back to Russia to overthrow the provisional government and stop the war with Germany." Trotsky, therefore, represented a real threat to England's war effort. He was arrested as a German agent and taken as a prisoner of war.

With this in mind, we can appreciate the great strength of those mysterious forces, both in England and the United States, that intervened on Trotsky's behalf. Immediately, telegrams began to come into Halifax from such divergent sources as an obscure

1 ■ "Mayor Calls Pacifists Traitors/' The New York Times, March 24,1917, p. 2. |t See Anthony C. Sutton, Ph.D., Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1974), pp. 21-24.

3. A full report on this meeting had been submitted to the U.S. Military Intelligence. See Senate Document No. 62, 66th Congress, Report and Hearings of t\\e Subcommittee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 1919, Vol. II, p. 2680.

attorney in New York City, from the Canadian Deputy Postmaster-General, and even from a high-ranking British military officer all mqu^nng into Trotsky's situation and urging his immediate release The head of the British Secret Service in America at the time was Sir Wilham Wiseman who, as fate would have it, occupied t^ apartment directly above the apartment of Edward Mandell House and who had become fast friends with him. House advised Wiseman that President Wilson wished to have Trotsky released Wiseman advised his government, and the British Admiralty' issued orders on April 21st that Trotsky was to be sent on his wa J It was a fateful decision that would affect, not only the outcome of war, but the future of the entire world. SCHIFF WAS NOT ALONE

It would be a mistake to conclude that Jacob Schiff acted alone m his drama. Trotsky could not have gone even as far as Halifax withou having been granted an American passport, and this was accomplished by the personal intervention of President Wilson. Professor Anthony Sutton says:

President Woodrow Wilson was the fairy godmother who provided Trotsky with a passport to return to Russia to Cry forward" the revolution…. At the same time careful State DeparmS bureaucrats, concerned about such revolutionaries entering RusTa were unilaterally attempting to tighten up passport procedure J

o U h£ilf ere T' 6 °^ eTS ' 3S WeU — ^ 1911 ' the SL L ™' s MP** was lat r i X ^ * ^^ ""^ Robert Minor. Mnor

and fn f t T 1 i*??"** RUSSia f ° r evolutionary activities and, in fact, was himself bankrolled by famous Wall Street finan-

cartoonT 7 "T i akly 3SSUme that hC ^ ** to P ic we "' ^ S£TT£ t *% ^ S c t0riCal inP***™*- » strays Karl Marx, with a book entitled Sialism under his arm, standing amid a

t^2r ^Jf Street Gathered ar0Und and 8^ng Hm

T^TT ( : UdS ^ eS are CharaCterS in Silk hats Stifled * D ' Rockefe "^ J-P. Morgan, John D. Ryan of National City


What emerges from this sampling of events is a clear pattern of strong support for Bolshevism coming from the highest financial and political power centers in the United States; from men who, supposedly, were "capitalists" and who, according to conventional wisdom, should have been the mortal enemies of socialism and communism.

Nor was this phenomenon confined to the United States. Trotsky, in his book, My Life, tells of a British financier who, in 1907, gave him a "large loan" to be repaid after the overthrow of the Tsar. Arsene de Goulevitch, who witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution first hand, has identified both the name of the financier and the amount of the loan. "In private interviews," he said, "I have been told that over 21 million roubles were spent by Lord [Alfred] Milner in financing the Russian Revolution,… The financier just mentioned was by no means alone among the British to support the Russian revolution with large financial donations." Another name specifically mentioned by de Goulevitch was that of Sir George Buchanan, the British Ambassador to Russia at the time.

It was one thing for Americans to undermine Tsarist Russia and, thus, indirectly help Germany in the war, because Americans were not then into it, but for British citizens to do so was tantamount to treason. To understand what higher loyalty compelled these men to betray their battlefield ally and to sacrifice the blood of their own countrymen, we must take a look at the unique organization to which they belonged.


Lord Alfred Milner was a key figure in organizing a secret society which, at the time of these events, was about sixteen years old. It was dedicated to nothing less than the quiet domination of the world. The conquest of Russia was seen as but the first phase of that plan. Since the organization is still in existence today and continues to make progress toward its goal, it is important to have its history included in this narrative.

One of the most authoritative reference works on the history of this group is Tragedy and Hope by Dr. Carroll Quigley. Dr. Quigley Was a professor of history at Georgetown University where President Clinton had been one of his students. He was the author of the

1 — See Arsene de Goulevitch, Czarism and Revolution (Hawthorne, California: Omni Publications, n.d v rpt. from 1962 French edition), pp. 224,230.

widely used textbook, Evolution of Civilization; he was a member of the editorial board of the monthly periodical Current History; and

7^,^ I f h,rer and consult ^ ^ such groups as the ndus^alCoUege of the Armed Forces, the Brooking Institution, the US. Naval Weapons Laboratory, the Naval College, the Smithsonian Institute, and the State Department But Dr. Quielev was no mere academic He also had been closely associated with many of the family dynasties of the super-rich. He was, by his own boast, an

sTucSre^ a fr0nt FOW ^ ° f ** W ° rId,S m ° ney P° wer When Dr. Quigley wrote his scholarly, 1300-page book of dry history, it was not intended for the masses. It was to be read by the intellectual elite and to that select readership he cautiously exposed one of the best-kept secrets of all time. He also made it dear however, that he was a friendly apologist for this group and that he supported its goals and purposes. Dr. Quigley said:

I know of the operation of this network because I have studied it tor twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the 1960s to exarn me lt s papers and secret record, I have no aversion toTor to mosl.ofits aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its mstruments…. In general, my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown. 1 F

As mentioned, Quigley's book was intended for an elite readership composed of scholars and network insiders. But, unexpectedly, it began to be quoted in the journals of the John Birch Sodety which correctly had perceived that his work provided a valuabfe insight to the inner workings of a hidden power structure That exposure triggered a large demand for the book by people who were opposed to the network and curious to see what LLfder had to say about it. That was not according to the original plan What

wSXi hT fa T o eSmbed by Q ^' "«*•£■ * a persona letter dated December 9,1975, he wrote:

brou^h? ^VVT ^^ ° f ^^ Und H °P e < a book "*** ^ 3 t 1 me ^ches as it apparently says something which

KS and^H e ° T ^^ kn ° Wn — ^ P ubl ^ her stoppedLlHng it Sh,? ^ he W ° Uld reprint ^ * 197 * ^ told my Wer that they had destroyed the plates in 1968). The rare-book price wIS



up to $135 and parts were reprinted in violation of copyright, but I could do nothing because I believed the publisher, and he would not take action even when a pirate copy of the book appeared. Only when I hired a lawyer in 1974 did I get any answers to my questions….

In another personal letter, Quigley commented further on the duplicity of his publisher:

Tliey lied to me for six years, telling me that they would reprint when they got 2,000 orders, which could never happen because they told anyone who asked that it was out of print and would not be reprinted. They denied this to me until I sent them Xerox copies of such replies in libraries, at which they told me it was a clerk's error. In other words, they lied to me but prevented me from regaining publication rights…. I am now quite sure that Tragedy and Hope was suppressed….

To understand why "powerful people" would want to suppress this book, note carefully what follows. Dr. Quigley describes the goal of this network of world financiers as:

.,. nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences….

Each central bank, in the hands of men like Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Benjamin Strong of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Charles Rist of the Bank of France, and HJalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, sought to dominate its government by its ability to control treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.

1. These letters were first published in the Summer, 1976, issue of Conspiracy Digest, published by Peter McAlpine (Alpine Press, Dearborn, Michigan). The originals cannot now be located. However, the author was able to locate the attorney, Mr. Paul Wolff (with the firm of Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C.) who represented Quigley in his legal action against the publisher. Mr. Wolff cannot vouch for the authenticity of the letters themselves, but has confirmed in phone conversations and later in writing that the essential details are correct. He writes: "It is my recollection that they withheld from me and the Professor for some time the information that they had in fact destroyed 'the plates/"

2. Quigley, Tragedy, p. 324.

That is the information that "powerful people" do not want the common man to know.

Notice that Quigley refers to this group as a "network." That is a precise choice of words, and it is important to an understanding of the forces of international finance. The network to which he refers is not the secret society. It is no doubt directed by it, and there are society members in key positions within the network, but we can be sure that there are many in the network who have little or no knowledge of hidden control. To explain how this can be possible, let us turn to the origin and growth of the secret society itself.


In 1870, a wealthy British socialist by the name of John Ruskin was appointed as professor of fine arts at Oxford University in London. He tjught that the state must take control of the means of production and organize them for the good of the community as a whole. He advocated placing control of the state into the hands of a small ruling class, perhaps even a single dictator. He said: "My continual aim has been to show the eternal superiority of some men to others, sometimes even of one man to all others."

This, of course, is the same intellectual appeal of Communism. Lenin taught that the masses could not be trusted to handle their own affairs and that a special group of disciplined intellectuals must assume this role for them. That is the function of the Communist Party, which never comprises more than about three per cent of the population. Even when the charade of free elections is allowed, only members of the Party—or those over whom the KGB has total control—are permitted to run for office. The concept that a ruling party or class is the ideal structure for society is at the heart of all collectivist schemes, regardless of whether they are called Socialism, Communism, Nazism, Fascism, or any other "ism" which may yet be invented to disguise it. It is easy, therefore, for adherents of this elitist mentality to be comfortable in almost any of these collectivist camps, a fact to which Dr. Quigley alluded when he wrote: "This network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so."

1. See Kenneth Clark, Ruskin Today (New York: Holt, Reinhart & Winston, 1964), p. 267.

2. Quigley, Tragedy, p. 950.


Returning to the subject of the origins of this group, however, t)r. Quigley tells us:

Ruskin spoke to the Oxford undergraduates as members of the privileged ruling class. He told them that they were the possessors of a magnificent tradition of education, beauty, rule of law, freedom, decency, and self-discipline, but that this tradition could not be saved, and did not deserve to be saved, unless it could be extended to the lower classes in England itself and to the non-English masses throughout the world.

Ruskin's message had a sensational impact. His inaugural lecture was copied out in long-hand by one undergraduate, Cecil Rhodes, who kept it with him for thirty years.

Cecil Rhodes made one of the world's greatest fortunes. With the cooperation of the Bank of England and financiers like Rothschild, he was able to establish a virtual monopoly over the diamond output of South Africa and most of the gold as well. The major portion of this vast income was spent to advance the ruling-class ideas of John Ruskin. Dr. Quigley explains:

The Rhodes Scholarships, established by the terms of Cecil Rhodes' seventh will, are known to everyone. What is not so widely known is that Rhodes in five previous wills left his fortune to form a secret society, which was to devote itself to the preservation and expansion of the British Empire. And what does not seem to be known to anyone is that this secret society was created by Rhodes and his principal trustee, Lord Milner, and continues to exist to this day…. In his book on Rhodes' wills, he [Stead, who was a member of the inner circle] wrote in one place: "Mr. Rhodes was more than the founder of a dynasty. He aspired to be the creator of one of those vast semi-religious, quasi-political associations which, like the Society of Jesus, have played so large a part in the history of the world. To be more strictly accurate, he wished to found an Order as the instrument of the will of the Dynasty. 2 …

In this secret society Rhodes was to be leader; Stead, Brett (Lord Esher), and Milner were to form an executive committee; Arthur (Lord) Balfour, (Sir) Harry Johnston, Lord Rothschild, Albert (Lord) Grey, and others were listed as potential members of a "Circle of Initiates;" while there was to be an outer circle known as the

|- Quigley, Tragedy, p. 130.

2 — Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden (N

Y °rk: Books in Focus, 1981), pp. ix, 36.



"Association of Helpers" (later organized by MiLner as the Round Table organization).


Here, then, was the classical pattern of political conspiracy. This was the structure that made it possible for Quigley to differentiate between an international "network" and the secret society within that network. At the center, there is always a tiny group in complete control, with one man as the undisputed leader. Next is a circle of secondary leadership that, for the most part, is unaware of an inner core. They are led to believe that they are the inner-most ring.

In time, as these conspiracies are built from the center out, they form additional rings of organization. Those in the outer echelons usually are idealists with an honest desire to improve the world. They never suspect an inner control for other purposes, and only those few who demonstrate a ruthless capacity for higher leadership are ever allowed to see it.

After the death of Cecil Rhodes, the inner core of his secret society fell under the control of Lord Alfred Milner, Governor-General and High Commissioner of South Africa. As director of a number of public banks and as corporate precursor of England's Midland Bank, he became one of the greatest political and financial powers in the world. Milner recruited into his secret society a group of young men chiefly from Oxford and Toynbee Hall and, according to Quigley:

Through his influence these men were able to win influential posts in government and international finance and became the dominant influence in British imperial and foreign affairs up to 1939…. In 1909-1913 they organized semi-secret groups, known as Round Table Groups, in the chief British dependencies and the United States….

Money for the widely ramified activities of this organization came … chiefly from the Rhodes Trust itself, and from wealthy associates such as the Beit brothers, from Sir Abe Bailey, and (after 1915) from the Astor family … and from foundations and firms associated with the international banking fraternity, especially the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, and other organizations associated with J.P. Morgan, the Rockefeller and Whitney families, and the associates of Lazard Brothers and of Morgan, Grenfell, and Company….

At the end of the war of 1914, it became clear that the organization of this system had to be greatly extended. Once again the task was entrusted to Lionel Curtis who established, in England and each dominion, a front organization to the existing local Round Table Group. This front organization, called the Royal Institute of International Affairs, had as its nucleus in each area the existing submerged Round Table Group. In New York it was known as the Council on Foreign Relations, and was a front for J.P. Morgan and Company in association with the very small American Round Table Group.

failure of the world's leaders at the end of World War I to embrace the League of Nations as a true world government. It became clear to the master planners that they had been unrealistic in their expectations for rapid acceptance. If their plan were to be carried forward, it would have to be done on the basis of patient gradualism symbolized by the Fabian turtle. Rose Martin says:

Colonel House was only one man, where a multitude was needed. He had set the pattern and outlined goals for the future, and he still had a scheme or two in mind. In particular, he foresaw it would be necessary for the Fabians to develop a top level Anglo-American , planning group in the field of foreign relations which could secretly

influence policy on the one hand and gradually "educate" public opinion on the other….

To the ambitious young Fabians, British and American, who had flocked to the peace conference as economists and junior officials, it soon became evident that a New World Order was not about to be produced at Paris…. For them, Colonel House arranged a dinner meeting at the Hotel Majestic on May 19,1919, together with a select group of Fabian-certified Englishmen—notably, Arnold Toynbee, R.H. Tawney and John Maynard Keynes. All were equally disillusioned, for various reasons, by the consequences of the peace. They made a gentlemen's agreement to set up an organization, with branches in England and America, "to facilitate the scientific study of international questions." As a result two potent and closely related opinion-making bodies were founded…. The English branch was called the Royal Institute of International Affairs. The American branch, first known as the Institute of International Affairs, was reorganized in 1921 as the Council on Foreign Relations. 2

1. Quigley, Tragedy, p. 131.

!■ Quigley, Tragedy, pp. 132,951-52. 2 — Martin, pp. 174-5.

It is through this front group, called the Council on Foreign Relations, and its influence over the media, tax-exempt foundations, universities, and government agencies that the international financiers have been able to dominate the domestic and foreign policies of the United States ever since.

We shall have more to say about the CFR, but our focal point for now is Great Britain and, in particular, the help given to Communism in Russia by Lord Alfred Milner and his web of secret societies.


In Russia, prior to and during the revolution, there were many local observers, tourists, and newsmen who reported that British and American agents were everywhere, particularly in Petrograd, providing money for insurrection. One report said, for example, that British agents were seen handing out 25-rouble notes to the men at the Pavlovski regiment just a few hours before it mutinied against its officers and sided with the revolution. The subsequent publication of various memoirs and documents made it clear that this funding was provided by Milner and channeled through Sir George Buchanan who was the British Ambassador to Russia at that time. It was a repeat of the ploy that had worked so well for the cabal many times in the past. Round Table members were once again working both sides of the conflict to weaken and topple a target government Tsar Nicholas had every reason to believe that, since the British were Russia's allies in the war against Germany, British officials would be the last persons on Earth to conspire against hirru Yet, the British Ambassador himself represented the hidden group which was financing the regime's downfall.

The Round Table agents from America did not have the advantage of using the diplomatic service as a cover and, therefore, had to be considerably more ingenious. They came, not as diplomats or even as interested businessmen, but disguised as Red Cross officials on a humanitarian mission. The group consisted almost entirely of financiers, lawyers, and accountants from New York banks and investment houses. They simply had overpowered the American Red Cross organization with large contributions and, in

1. See de Goulevitch, p. 230.


effect, purchased a franchise to operate in its name. Professor

Sutton tells us:

The 1910 [Red Cross] fund-raising campaign for $2 million, for example, was successful only because it was supported by these wealthy residents of New York City. J.R Morgan himself contributed $100,000…. Henry P. Davison [a Morgan partner] was chairman of the 1910 New York Fund-Raising Committee and later became chairman of the War Council of the American Red Cross…. The Red Cross was unable to cope with the demands of World War I and in effect was taken over by these New York bankers.

For the duration of the war, the Red Cross had been made, nominally, a part of the armed forces and subject to orders from the proper military authorities. It was not clear who these authorities were and, in fact, there were never any orders, but the arrangement made it possible for the participants to receive military commissions and wear the uniform of American army officers. The entire expense of the Red Cross Mission in Russia, including the purchase of uniforms, was paid for by the man who was appointed by President Wilson to become its head, "Colonel" William Boyce Thompson.

Thompson was a classical specimen of the Round Table network. Having begun his career as a speculator in copper mines, he soon moved into the world of high finance. He refinanced the American Woolen Company and the Tobacco Products Company-launched the Cuban Cane Sugar Company; purchased controlling interest in the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company; organized the Submarine Boat Corporation and the Wright-Martin Aeroplane Company; became a director of the Chicago Rock Island & Pacific Railway, the Magma Arizona Railroad, and the Metropolitan Life insurance Company; was one of the heaviest stockholders in the Chase National Bank; was the agent for J.P. Morgan's British securities operation; became the first full-time director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the most important bank in the Federal Reserve System; and, of course, contributed a quarter-million dollars to the Red Cross.

When Thompson arrived in Russia, he made it clear that he was not your typical Red Cross representative. According to Hermann Hagedorn, Thompson's biographer:

1. Sutton, Revolution, p. 72.


He deliberately created the kind of setting which would be expected of an American magnate: established himself in a suite in the Hotel de I'Europe, bought a French limousine, went dutifully to receptions and teas and evinced an interest in objects of art. Society and the diplomats, noting that here was a man of parts and power, began to flock about him. He was entertained at the embassies, at the houses of Kerensky's ministers. It was discovered that he was a collector, and those with antiques to sell fluttered around him, offering him miniatures, Dresden china, tapestries, even a palace or two. 1

When Thompson attended the opera, he was given the imperial box. People on the street called him the American Tsar. And it is not surprising that, according to George Kennan, "He was viewed by the Kerensky authorities as the 'real' ambassador of the United States/' 2

It is now a matter of record that Thompson syndicated the purchase on Wall Street of Russian bonds in the amount of ten-million roubles. In addition, he gave over two-million roubles to Aleksandr Kerensky for propaganda purposes inside Russia and, with J.P. Morgan, gave the rouble equivalent of one-million dollars to the Bolsheviks for the spreading of revolutionary propaganda outside of Russia, particularly in Germany and Austria. A photograph of the cablegram from Morgan to Thompson advising that the money had been transferred to the National City Bank branch in Petrograd is included in this book.


At first it may seem incongruous that the Morgan group would provide funding for both Kerensky and Lenin. These men may have both been socialist revolutionaries, but they were miles apart in their plans for the future and, in fact, were bitter competitors for control of the new government. But the tactic of funding both sides in a political contest by then had been refined by members of the

1. Hermann Hagedorn, The Magnate: William Boyce Thompson and His Time (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1935), pp. 192-93.

2. George R Kennan, Russia Leaves the War; Soviet-American Relations, 1917-1920 (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1956), p. 60.

3. Hagedorn,p. 192.

4. Sutton, Revolution, pp. 83,91. It was the agitation made possible by this funding that led to the abortive German Sparticus Revolt of 1918. See "W.B. Thompson, Red Cross Donor, Believes Parry Misrepresented," Washington Post, Feb. 2,1918.

Round Table into a fine art. A stunning example of this occurred in South Africa during the outset of Boer War in 1899.

The British and Dutch had been active in the settlement of Southern Africa for decades. The Dutch had developed the provinces of Transvaal and the Orange Free State, while the British had colonized such areas as Rhodesia, Cape Hope, Basutoland, Swaziland, and Bechuanaland. Conflict was inevitable between these two groups of settlers whenever they found themselves in competition for the resources of the same territory, but it was the discovery of gold in the Whitewater area of the Transvaal that provided the motive for war.

Politically, the Transvaal was in the hands of the Boers, who were the descendants of the Dutch settlers. But, after the discovery of gold in that area, the mine fields had been developed primarily by the British and became solidly under their control. Not surprisingly, one of the largest players in that game was Cecil Rhodes who already had monopolized the diamond fields under British control to the South. Historian Henry Pike tells us:

With the discovery of gold in the Transvaal, Rhodes' greed became passionate. His hatred of Paul Kruger, the Afrikaner President of the Transvaal, knew no limits. He was bitterly opposed to Kruger's independent Transvaal, and viewed this as the main obstacle to his efforts to sweep all Southern Africa under British rule.

In 1895, Rhodes set in motion a plan to overthrow Kruger's government by organizing an uprising among the British inhabitants in Johannesburg. The uprising was financed by himself and was to be led by his brother, Frank, and other loyal supporters. This was to be followed by a military invasion of the Transvaal by British troops from Bechuanaland and Rhodesia led by Sir Leander Jameson, The uprising fizzled and ended in Jameson's arrest and public disgrace.

But Rhodes was determined to have the Transvaal, and began immediately to prepare a second, more patient ploy. Through Rhodes' influence, Lord Alfred Milner was appointed as the British High Commissioner of South Africa. In London, Lord Esher— another member of the secret society—became the chief political adviser to King Edward and was in daily contact with him

L Henry R. Pike, Ph.D., A History of Communism in South Africa (Germiston, South Africa: Christian Mission International of South Africa, 1985), p. 39.

throughout this period. That took care of the British side of this contest. With regard to the Boers' side, Professor Quigley tells the amazing story:

By a process whose details are still obscure, a brilliant young graduate of Cambridge, Jan Smuts, who had been a vigorous supporter of Rhodes and acted as his agent in Kimberly [South Africa's largest diamond mine] as late as 1895 and who was one of the most important members of the Rhodes-Milner group in the period 1908-1950, went to the Transvaal and, by violent anti-British agitation, became state secretary of that country (although a British subject) and chief political adviser to President Kruger; Milner made provocative troop movements on the Boer frontiers in spite of the vigorous protests of his commanding general in South Africa, who had to be removed; and, finally, war was precipitated when Smuts drew up an ultimatum insisting that the British troop movements cease and when this was rejected by Milner.

And so, as a result of careful engineering by Round Table members on both sides—one making outrageous demands and the other responding to those demands in pretended indignation—the war finally began with a British invasion in October of 1899. After 2 l /i years of fierce fighting, the Boers were forced to surrender, and Milner administered the former republic as a militarily occupied territory. Round Table members, known to the public as "Milner's Kindergarten," were placed into all key government posts, and the gold fields were finally secured.


On the other side of the world, in New York City, the same tactic of playing both sides against each other was being applied with brilliant precision by Round Table member J.P. Morgan. Professor Quigley tells us:

To Morgan all political parties were simply organizations to be used, and the firm always was careful to keep a foot in all camps. Morgan himself, Dwight Morrow, and other partners were allied with Republicans; Russell C. Leffingwell was allied with the Democrats; Grayson Murphy was allied with the extreme Right; and Thomas W. Lamont was allied with the Left. 2

1. Quigley, Tragedy, pp. 137-38.

2. m,p.945.


Although it is true that Thomas Lamont was the father of Corliss Lamont, a well-known Communist, and was himself widely regarded as a man of leftist persuasions, it must also be remembered that he felt equally at home among the Fascists and, in fact, served as an unofficial business consultant for Mussolini in the 1920s. 1

At the same time that Morgan was funding pro-Bolshevik groups, he founded what was probably the most virulent anti-Bolshevik organization ever to exist in America. It was called United Americans and it set about to frighten everyone into believing that a Red mob was at that very moment poised to capture New York City. It issued shocking reports warning about a pending financial collapse, widespread starvation, and a desperate working class being maneuvered into accepting Communist slogans and rhetoric as a last resort. Ironically, the officers of this organization were Allen Walker of the Guarantee Trust Company, which was then acting as the Soviet's fiscal agent in the U.S.; Daniel Willard, president of the Baltimore & Ohio Railway, which was then active in the development of Soviet railways; H.H. Westing-house of Westinghouse Air Brake Company which was then operating a major plant in Russia; and Otto H. Kahn of Kuhn, Loeb & Company, which was one of the principal financial backers of the fledgling Soviet regime.

Even inside Russia itself, the Round Table was spreading its bets. In addition to the funding, previously mentioned, which was given to the Bolsheviks and to their opponents, the Mensheviks, Morgan also financed the military forces of Admiral Kolchak who was fighting against the Bolsheviks in Siberia. Not surprisingly, Kolchak also received funding from a consortium of British financiers, including Alfred Milner.

It is commonly stated that the original intent of the Red Cross mission to Moscow was to prevent the Russian government from making a separate peace with Germany which would release German troops to fight against England and France. According to that version of the story—which portrays the actors as patriots

1. See John P. Diggins, Mussolini and Fascism: The View from America (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1972).

2. Sutton, Revolution, pp. 163-68. fe. Ibid., pp. 102,146,166-67.

merely doing what was best for the war effort—the first goal was to support the Tsar. When the Tsar was overthrown, they supported the Mensheviks because they had pledged to stay in the war. When the Mensheviks were ousted, they continued to support the Bolsheviks in order to gain sufficient influence to convince them not to give aid to Germany. It takes a great deal of gullibility to swallow that line. A far more plausible reading is that the Morgan interests were merely doing what they had always done: placing bets on all horses so that, no matter which one crossed the finish line, the winner would be obligated to them.


After the Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia, Sir George Buchanan was recalled as the British Ambassador and replaced by a member of Milner's Kindergarten, a young man by the name of Bruce Lockhart. In his book, British Agent, Lockhart describes the circumstances of his assignment. Speaking of a meeting with Prime Minister Lloyd George, he wrote:

I saw that his own mind was made up. He had been greatly impressed, as Lord Milner told me afterwards, by an interview with Colonel Thompson of the American Red Cross, who had just returned from Russia and who had denounced in blunt language the folly of the Allies in not opening up negotiations with the Bolsheviks….

Three days later all my doubts were put at rest. I was to go to Russia as head of a special mission to establish unofficial relations with the Bolsheviks…. I had been selected for this Russian mission not by the Foreign Secretary but by the War Cabinet—actually by Lord Milner and Mr. Lloyd George….

Lord Milner I saw almost daily. Five days before my departure I dined alone with him at Brook's. He was in his most inspiring mood. He talked to me with a charming frankness about the war, about the future of England, about his own career, and about the opportunities of youth…. He was, too, very far from being the Jingo and the Conservative reactionary whom popular opinion at one time represented him to be. On the contrary, many of his views on society were startling modern. He believed in the highly organized state, in which service, efficiency, and hard work were more important than titles or money-bags.

1. R.H. Bruce Lockhart, British Agent (New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1933), pp. 198-99,204,206-07.



When Thompson returned to the United States, the man he selected to replace himself as head of the American Red Cross Mission was his second-in-command, Raymond Robins. Not much is known about Robins except that he was the protege of Col. Edward Mandell House, and he might have remained an obscure player in this drama had it not been for the fact that he became one of the central characters in Bruce Lockhart's book. It is there that we get this inside view:

Another new acquaintance of these first days in the Bolshevized St. Petersburg was Raymond Robins, the head of the American Red Cross Mission…. He had been a leading figure in Roosevelt's "Bull Moose" campaign for the American Presidency in 1912. Although a rich man himself, he was an anti-capitalist…. Hitherto, his two heroes had been Roosevelt and Cecil Rhodes. Now Lenin had captured his imagination..., Robins was the only man whom Lenin was always willing to see and who ever succeeded in imposing his own personality on the unemotional Bolshevik leader.

In a less official sense Robins had a similar mission to my own. He was the intermediary between the Bolsheviks and the American Government and had set himself the task of persuading President Wilson to recognize the Soviet regime.

What an amazing revelation is contained in those words. First, we learn that Robins was a leader in the team effort that threw the election of 1912 to Woodrow Wilson. Then we learn that he was an anti-capitalist. Third, we discover that an anti-capitalist can hero-worship Cecil Rhodes. Then we see the tremendous power he wielded over Lenin. And finally, we are told that, although he was part of a private group financed by Wall Street bankers, he was in reality the intermediary between the Bolsheviks and the American Government One will look in vain for a better summary.

The fact that Cecil Rhodes was one of Robin's great heroes has special significance for this story. It was not merely an intellectual infatuation from college days. On the night before he left Russia, Robins dined with Lockhart. Describing the occasion, Lockhart says: "He had been reading Rhodes' life and after dinner he gave us a wonderful exposition of Rhodes' character." Thus, both Lockhart

1. Lockhart, p. 220.

2. JM.,p.270.

and Robins were dedicated disciples of Cecil Rhodes and both were undoubtedly part of the international network to which Professor Quigley alluded—possibly even members of the Round Table. Lockhart reported to the British group while Robins reported to the American group, but both were clearly working for identical objectives and doing the work of the unseen hand.

The Bolsheviks were well aware of the power these men represented, and there was no door closed to them. They were allowed to attend meetings of the Central Executive Committee 1 , and were consulted regarding important decisions. 2 But perhaps the best way to appraise the extent of the influence these "capitalists" had over the "anti-capitalists" is to let Lockhart tell his own story. In his memoirs, he wrote:

I returned from our interview to our flat to find an urgent message from Robins requesting me to come to see him at once. I found him in a state of great agitation. He had been in conflict with Saalkind, a nephew of Trotsky and then Assistant Commissar for Foreign Affairs. Saalkind had been rude, and the American, who had a promise from Lenin that, whatever happened, a train would always be ready for him at an hour's notice, was determined to exact an apology or to leave the country. When I arrived, he had just finished telephoning to Lenin. He had delivered his ultimatum, and Lenin had promised to give a reply within ten minutes. I waited, while Robins fumed. Then the telephone rang and Robins picked up the receiver. Lenin had capitulated. Saalkind was dismissed from his post. But he was an old member of the Party. Would Robins have any objection if Lenin sent him as a Bolshevik emissary to Beme? Robins smiled grimly. "Thank you, Mr. Lenin/' he said. "As I can't send the son of a bitch to hell, 'burn' is the next best thing you can do with him." 3

Such was the raw power over the leaders of Communism that was concealed behind the innocent facade of the American Red Cross Mission. And yet, the world—even today—has no inkling of its reality. It has been a carefully guarded secret, and even many of those who were close to it were unable to see it. The assistant to William Thompson in Russia was Cornelius Kelleher. In later years, reflecting on the naivete of Dr. Franklin Billings, who was head of the mission's medical team, Kelleher wrote:

1. Ibid., p. 253.

2. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/3449.

3. Lockhart, pp. 225-26.


Poor Mr. Billings believed he was in charge of a scientific mission for the relief of Russia…. He was in reality nothing but a mask—the Red Cross complexion of the mission was nothing but a mask.

The purpose of a mask, of course, is to conceal. And so we are led to ask the question, what was behind that mask? What were the true motives and goals of the masqueraders?

We shall turn to that subject next.


The Bolshevik revolution was not a spontaneous uprising of the masses. It was planned, financed, and orchestrated by outsiders. Some of the financing came from Germany which hoped that internal problems would force Russia out of the war against her. But most of the money and leadership came from financiers in England and the United States. It was a perfect example of the Rothschild formula in action.

This group centered mainly around a secret society created by Cecil Rhodes, one of the world's wealthiest men at the time. The purpose of that group was nothing less than world dorninion and the establishment of a modern feudalist society controlled by the world's central banks. Headquartered in England, the Rhodes inner-most directorate was called the Round Table. In other countries, there were established subordinate structures called Round-Table Groups. The Round-Table Group in the United States became known as the Council on Foreign Relations. The CFR y which was initially dominated by J.P. Morgan and later by the Rockefellers, is the most powerful group in America today. It is even more powerful than the federal government, because almost all of the key positions in government are held by its members. In other words, it is the United States government.

Agents of these two groups cooperated closely in pre-revolu-tionary Russia and particularly after the Tsar was overthrown. The American contingent in Russia disguised itself as a Red Cross mission allegedly doing humanitarian work. Cashing in on their close friendship with Trotsky and Lenin, they obtained profitable business concessions from the new government which returned their initial investment many times over.

1. Kennan, Russia, p. 59.

Courtesy of Edward Warded

Above is the "Red Cross Mission" in Moscow shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution. (L-R) J.W. Andrews, Raymond Robins, Allen Wardell, D. Heywood Hardy. Under the pretense of humanitarianism, the Misson's key personnel were Wall Street financiers following their own agenda for acquiring profitable commercial concessions from the new government. They heavily financed all factions of the revolutionary movement to be sure of gaining influence with whatever group should come out on top.

Below is a cablegram from J.P. Morgan to William Boyce Thompson-head of the Red Cross Mission prior to Robins-advising that one million dollars had been transferred to Thompson via the National City Bank. There were many such infusions of "Capitalist" money into the new Communist regime. The process continues to this day.

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Chapter Fourteen


The coup d'etat in Russia in which the Bolshevik minority seized control from the revolutionary majority; the role played by New York financiers, masquerading as Red Cross officials, in supporting the Bolsheviks; the unbroken record since their of American assistance in building Russia's war-making potential; the emergence of a "credible enemy" in accordance with the Rothschild Formula.

In the previous section we saw that the Red Cross Mission in revolutionary Russia was, in the words of its own personnel, "nothing but a mask/' This leads to the logical question, what were the true motives and goals that were hidden behind that mask.

In later years, it would be explained by the participants themselves that they simply were engaged in a humanitarian effort to keep Russia in the war against Germany and, thus, to help the cause of freedom for England and her allies. For Jacob Schiff and other Jewish financiers in New York, there was the additional explanation that they opposed the Tsar because of his anti-Semitism. These, of course, are admirable motives, and they have been uncritically accepted by mainstream historians ever since. Unfortunately, the official explanations do not square with the facts.


The facts are that there were two revolutions in Russia that year, not one. The first, called the February Revolution, resulted in the establishment of a provisional socialist government under the leadership of Aleksandr Kerensky. It was relatively moderate in its policies and attempted to accommodate all revolutionary factions including the Bolsheviks who were the smallest minority. When


the February Revolution occurred, neither Lenin nor Trotsky were even in Russia. Lenin was in Switzerland and didn't arrive until April. Trotsky was still in New York writing propaganda and giving speeches.

The second revolution, called the October Revolution, was the one through which the Bolsheviks came to power. It was, in fact, no revolution at all. It was a coup d'etat. The Bolsheviks simply took advantage of the confusion and indecisiveness that existed among the various groups that comprised the new government and caught them by surprise with a lightening strike of force. With a combination of bribes and propaganda, they recruited several regiments of soldiers and sailors and, in the early morning darkness of October 25, methodically took military possession of all government buildings and communication centers. No one was prepared for such audacity, and resistance was almost non-existent. By dawn, without the Russian people even knowing what had happened—much less having any voice in that action, their country had been captured by a minority faction and become the world's first so-called "people's republic." Within two days, Kerensky had fled for his life, and all Provisional Government ministers had been arrested. That is how the Communists seized Russia and that is how they held it afterward. Contrary to the Marxian myth, they have never represented the people. They simply have the guns.

The basic facts of this so-called revolution are described by Professor Leonard Schapiro in his authoritative work, The Russian Revolutions of 1917:

All the evidence suggests that when the crisis came the great majority of units of the Petrograd Garrison did not support the government but simply remained neutral…. The Cossack units rejected its call for support, leaving the government with only a few hundred women soldiers and around two thousand military cadets on its side. The Bolsheviks, on the other hand, could count on several regiments to carry out their orders. Units of the Baltic Fleet also supported them….

In the event, the Bolshevik take-over was almost bloodless: in contrast with what had happened in February, nothing could have been less like a city in the throes of revolution than Petrograd on 25 October. Crowds of well-dressed people thronged the streets in the evening. Theaters and restaurants were open, and at the opera, Shaliapin sang in Boris Godunov. The principal stations and services

had all been taken over by the morning of 25 October without a shot being fired….

A battleship and several cruisers, including the Aurora, had reached Petrograd from Kronstadt and were anchored with their guns trained on targets in the city….

The Provisional Government inside the Winter Palace…received an ultimatum calling for surrender of its members, under threat of bombardment of the palace by Aurora and by the guns of the Peter and Paul Fortress…. It was only at 9:40 P.M. that the Aurora was ordered to fire—and discharged one blank shell. The main effect of this was to accelerate the thinning out of the cadet defenders of the palace, who had already begun to dwindle. The women soldiers, who had formed part of its defense force, also left before the palace was invaded. At 11P.M. some live shells were fired, and the palace was slightly damaged.,..

The story of the dramatic storming of the Winter Palace, popular with Soviet historians and in the cinema, is a myth. At around 2 A.M. on 26 October, a small detachment of troops, followed by an unruly crowd and led by two members of the MRC [Military Revolutionary Committee], entered the palace. The remaining officer cadets were, apparently, prepared to resist, but were ordered to surrender by the ministers. In the end, the total casualties were three officer cadets wounded.


Eugene Lyons had been a correspondent for United Press in revolutionary Russia. He began his career as highly sympathetic to the Bolsheviks and their new regime, but six years of actual living inside the new socialist Utopia shattered his illusions. In his acclaimed book, Workers' Paradise host, he summarizes the true meaning of the October Revolution:

Lenin, Trotsky, and their cohorts did not overthrow the monarchy. They overthrew the first democratic society in Russian history, set up through a truly popular revolution in March, 1917…. They represented the smallest of the Russian radical movements…. But theirs was a movement that scoffed at numbers and frankly mistrusted the multitudes. The workers could be educated for their role after the revolution; they would not be led but driven to their terrestrial heaven. Lenin always sneered at the obsession of competing socialist groups with their "mass base." "Give us an organization of

& Leonard Shapiro, The Russian Revolutions ofl917 (New York: Basic Books, 1984), pp. 135-36.

professional revolutionaries," he used to say, "and we will turn Russia upside down/'…

Even these contingents were pathetically duped, having not the remotest notion of the real purposes for which they were being used. They were striking out, they thought, for the multi-party Soviets, for freedom, equality, and other goals which their organizers regarded as emotional garbage….

On the brink of the dictatorship, Lenin dared to promise that the state will fade away, since "all need of force will vanish/' Not at some remote future, but at once: "The proletarian state begins to wither immediately after its triumph, for in a classless society a state is unnecessary and impossible…. Soviet power is a new kind of state, in which there is no bureaucracy, no police, no standing army." Also: "So long as the state exists, there is no freedom. When there is freedom, there will be no state."

Within a few months after they attained power, most of the tsarist practices the Leninists had condemned were revived, usually in more ominous forms: political prisoners, convictions without trial and without the formality of charges, savage persecution of dissenting views, death penalties for more varieties of crime than in any other modern nation. The rest were put into effect in the following years, including the suppression of all other parties, restoration of the internal passport, a state monopoly of the press, along with repressive practices the monarchy had outlived for a century or more.

All of this, of course, is a departure from the main narrative, but it has been necessary to illustrate a fact that has been obscured by the passage of time and the acceptance of myth by mainstream historians. The fact is that Lenin and Trotsky were not sent to Russia to overthrow the anti-Semitic Tsar. Their assignment from Wall Street was to overthrow the revolution.


That this was the prevailing motive of the New York money powers was clearly brought to light in the diary of Lincoln Steffens, one of America's best-known leftist writers of that time. Steffens was on board the SS. Kristianwfjord when Trotsky was taken off and arrested in Halifax. He carefully wrote down the conversations he had with other passengers who also were headed to strife-torn Russia. One of these was Charles Crane, vice president of the Crane Company. Crane was a backer of Woodrow Wilson and former

1. Eugene Lyons, Workers' Paradise Lost (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1967) pp. 13-29.


chairman of the Democratic Party's finance committee. He also had organized the Westinghouse Company in Russia and had made no less than twenty-three prior visits. His son, Richard Crane, was confidential assistant to then Secretary of State, Robert Lansing. It is instructive, therefore, to read Steffens' notes regarding the views of these traveling companions. He wrote: .".. all agree that the revolution is in its first phase only, that it must grow. Crane and the Russian Radicals on the ship think we shall be in Petrograd for the re-revolution."

Precisely. Re-revolution was the expectation and the goal, not the elimination of anti-Semitism.

With regard to Thompson's claim that he was merely trying to keep Russia in the war against Germany, here again, the logic of actual events speak against it. Kerensky and the provisional government were for the war effort. Yet, the Red Cross masquerad-ers eventually threw their strongest support to the Bolsheviks who were against it. Their excuse was that it was obvious the Bolsheviks would soon control the new government and they were merely looking to the future. They did not like the Bolsheviks, they said, but had to deal with them pragmatically. So they became staunch supporters merely to gain influence with the inevitable victors and, hopefully, to persuade them to change their position on the war.

Alas, it didn't work out that way. Influence they had, as we have seen, but the Bolsheviks never wavered in their views. After seizing control in the October coup d'etat, they did exactly what they claimed all along they would do. They signed a peace treaty with Germany and confiscated private property. They also began one of the world's greatest bloodbaths to eliminate their opposition. None of this could be blamed on the masqueraders, you understand. It was all the fault of Wilson and the other politicians at home who, .by not following Thompson's recommendation to send U.S. tax dollars to the Bolsheviks, forced them into such drastic action. That, at least, is the accepted view.

In reality, a Bolshevik victory at that time was anything but certain, and there was little reason—beyond the support given by the New York financiers themselves—to believe they would become the dominant voice of Russia. But, even if we grant the

1. Lincoln Steffens, The Let ters of Lincoln Steffens (New York Harcourt, Brace, 1941), p. 396.

assumption that these men were unusually astute political observers who were truly able to foresee the future course, we are still faced with serious obstacles^ not the least of which are the thoughts and words of the masqueraders themselves. For example, in February of 1918, Arthur Bullard was in Russia as head of the Russian branch of the Committee on Public Information, which was the war-propaganda arm of the U.S. government. Bullard was aptly described by historian George Kennan as a "liberal socialist, free lance writer, and private eye of Colonel House/ In his official capacity he had many occasions to consult with Raymond Robins and, in a report describing one of these conversations, Bullard wrote:

He [Robins] had one or two reservations—in particular, that recognition of the Bolsheviks was long overdue, that it should have been effected immediately, and that had the U.S. so recognized the Bolsheviks, "I believe that we would now be in control of the surplus resources of Russia and have control officers at all points on the frontier." 2


The following year, the U.S. Senate conducted an investigation into the role played by prominent American citizens in supporting the Bolshevik's rise to power. One of the documents entered into the record was an early communique from Robins to Bruce Lockhart. In it Robins said:

You will hear it said that I am an agent of Wall Street; that I am the servant of William B. Thompson to get Altai Copper for him; that I have already got 500,000 acres of the best timber land in Russia for myself; that I have already copped off the Trans-Siberian Railway; that they have given me a monopoly of the platinum in Russia; that this explains my working for the soviet…. You will hear that talk Now, I do not think it is true, Commissioner, but let us assume it is true. Let us assume that I am here to capture Russia for Wall Street and American business men. Let us assume that you are a British wolf and I am, an American wolf, and that when this war is over we are going to eat each other up for the Russian market; let us do so in perfectly frank, man fashion, but let us assume at the same time that we are fairly intelligent


wolves, and that we know that if we do not hunt together in this hour the German wolf will eat us both up.

Professor Sutton has placed all this into perspective. In the following passage, he is spealcing specifically about William Thompson, but his remarks apply with equal force to Robins and all of the other financiers who were part of the Red Cross Mission in Russia.

Thompson's motives were primarily financial and commercial. Specifically, Thompson was interested in the Russian market, and how this market could be influenced, diverted, and captured for postwar

(exploitation by a Wall Street syndicate, or syndicates. Certainly Thompson viewed Germany as an enemy, but less a political enemy than an economic or a commercial enemy. German industry and German banking were the real enemy. To outwit Germany, Thompson was willing to place seed money on any political power vehicle that would achieve his objective. In other words, Thompson was an American imperialist fighting against German imperialism, and this struggle was shrewdly recognized and exploited by Lenin and Trotsky…. Thompson was not a Bolshevik; he was not even pro-Bolshevik. Neither was he pro-Kerensky. Nor was he even pro-American. The overriding motivation was the capturing of the postwar Russian market. This was a commercial objective. Ideology could sway revolutionary operators like Kerensky, Trotsky, Lenin et al., but not financiers.

Did the wolves of the Round Table actually succeed in their goal? Did they, in fact, capture the surplus resources of Russia? The answer to that question will not be found in our history books. It must be tracked down along the trail of subsequent events, and what we must look for is this. If the plan had not been successful, we would expect to find a decline of interest on the part of high

I finance, if not outright hostility. On the other hand, if it did succeed, we would expect to see, not only continued support, but some evidence of profit taking by the investors, a payback for their efforts and their risk. With those footprints as our guide, let us turn

«r\ow to an overview of what has actually happened since the Bolsheviks were assisted to power by the Round Table network.

1. George F. Kennan, The Decision to Intervene: Soviet-American Relations, 1917-1920 (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1958), pp. 190,235.

2. Bullard ms., U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-11-1265, March 19,1918.

1 ■ U.S. Cong., Senate, Bolshevik Propaganda, Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, 65th Cong., 1919, p. 802. % Sutton, Revolution, pp. 97-98.

ITEM: After the October Revolution, all the banks in Russia were taken over and "nationalized" by the Bolsheviks—except one: the Petrograd branch of Rockefeller's National City Bank.

ITEM: Heavy industry in Russia was also nationalized— except the Westinghouse plant, which had been established by Charles Crane, one of the dignitaries aboard the S.S. Kristianiafjord who had traveled to Russia with Trotsky to witness the re-revolution.

ITEM: In 1922, the Soviets formed their first international bank. It was not owned and run by the state as would be dictated by Communist theory, but was put together by a syndicate of private bankers. These included, not only former Tsarist bankers, but representatives of German, Swedish, and American banks. Most of the foreign capital came from England, including the British government itself. The man appointed as Director of the Foreign Division of the new bank was Max May, Vice President of Morgan's Guaranty Trust Company in New York.

ITEM: In the years immediately following the October Revolution, there was a steady stream of large and lucrative (read non-competitive) contracts issued by the Soviets to British and American businesses which were directly or indirectly run by the Round Table network. The largest of these, for example, was a contract for fifty million pounds of food products to Morris & Company, Chicago meat packers. Helen Swift was married to Edward Morris who was the brother of Harold Swift Harold Swift had been a "Major" at the Red Cross Mission in Russia.

ITEM: In payment for these contracts and to return the "loans" of the financiers, the Bolsheviks all but drained their country of its gold—which included the Tsarist government's sizable reserve— and shipped it primarily to American and British banks. In 1920 alone, one shipment came to the U.S. through Stockholm valued at 39,000,000 Swedish kroner; three shipments came direct involving 540 boxes of gold valued at 97,200,000 gold roubles; plus at least one other direct shipment bringing the total to about $20 million. (Remember, these are 1920 values!) The arrival of these shipments was coordinated by Jacob Schiff's Kuhn, Loeb & Company and deposited by Morgan's Guaranty Trust.

1. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.516/129, August 28,1922.

2. U.S. State Dept., Decimal File, 861.51 /815,836,837, October, 1920. Also Sutton, Revolution, pp. 159-60,165.



ITEM: It was at about this time that the Wilson Administration sent 700,000 tons of food to the Soviet Union which, not only saved the regime from certain collapse, but gave Lenin the power to consolidate his control over all of Russia. The U.S. Food Administration, which handled this giant operation, was handsomely profitable for those commercial enterprises that participated. It was headed by Herbert Hoover and directed by Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss, married to Alice Hanauer, daughter of one of the partners of Kuhn, Loeb & Company.

ITEM: U.S., British, and German wolves soon found a bonanza of profit in selling to the new Soviet regime. Standard Oil and General Electric supplied $37 million worth of machinery from 1921 to 1925, and that was just the beginning. Junkers Aircraft in Germany literally created Soviet air power. At least three million slave laborers perished in the icy mines of Siberia digging ore for Britain's Lena Goldfields, Ltd. W. Averell Harriman—a railroad magnate and banker from the United States who later was to become Ambassador to Russia—acquired a twenty-year monopoly over all Soviet manganese production. Armand Hammer—close personal friend of Lenin—made one of the world's greatest fortunes by mining Russian asbestos.


In those early years, the Bolsheviks were desperate for foreign goods, services, and capital investment. They knew that they would be gouged by their "capitalist" associates, but what of it? It wasn't their money. All they cared about was staying in power. And that was not as easy as it may have seemed. Even after the coup d'etat in which they seized control of the mechanism of government, they still did not control the country at large. In fact, in 1919, Lenin had almost given up hope of expanding beyond Petrograd and a part of Moscow. Except for Odessa, all of Southern Russia and the Crimea were in the hands of General Deniken who was strongly anti-Communist. Speaking before the Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party, Lenin laid it out plainly:

1 See George F. Kennan, Russia and the West under Lenin and Stalin (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1961), p. 180.


Without the assistance of capital it will be impossible for us to retain proletarian power in an incredibly ruined country in which the peasantry, also ruined, constitutes the overwhelming majority—and, of course, for this assistance capital will squeeze hundreds per cent out of us. This is what we have to understand. Hence, either this type of economic relations or nothing….

On another occasion Lenin further explained his rationale for accepting Wall Street's terms. He said:

The Capitalists of the world and their governments, in pursuit of conquest of the Soviet market, will close their eyes to the indicated higher reality and thus will turn into deaf mute blindmen. They will extend credits, which will strengthen for us the Communist Party in their countries; and giving us the materials and technology we lack, they will restore our military industry, indispensable for our future victorious attack on our suppliers. In other words, they will labor for the preparation of their own suicide.

Arthur Bullard, mentioned previously as the representative in Russia of the U.S. Committee on Public Information, apparently understood the Bolshevik strategy well. Even as early as March of 1918, he sent a cablegram to Washington warning that, while it is true we ought to be ready to help any honest government in need, nevertheless, he said, "men or money sent to the present rulers of Russia will be used against Russians at least as much as against Germans…. I strongly advise against giving material help to the present Russian government. Sinister elements in Soviets seem to be gaining control/'

Unfortunately, Mr. Bullard was a minor player in this game, and his opinion was filtered by others along the way. This cablegram was sent to his superior, none other than Col. Edward Mandell House, in hopes that it would be relayed to the President. The message did not get through.


Returning to the trail of actual events since that time, let us pause briefly to take a short side trip through World War II.

1. V.I. Lenin, Report to the Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party, March 15,1921. Quoted by Sutton, Revolution, p. 157.

2. Quoted by Joseph Finder, Red Carpet (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1983), p. 8.

3. Arthur Bullard papers, Princeton University, cited by Sutton, Revolution, p. 46.

Financing and profiting from both sides in a conflict has never been more blatant.

ITEM: From the beginning of Hitler's rise to power, German industry was heavily financed by American and British bankers. Most of the largest U.S. Corporations were knowingly invested in war industries. I.G. Farben was the largest of the industrial cartels and was a primary source of political funding for Hitler. It was Farben that staffed and directed Hitler's intelligence section and ran the Nazi slave labor camps as a supplemental source of manpower for Germany's factories. Farben even hired the New York public relations firm of Ivy Lee, who was John D. Rockefeller's PR specialist, to help improve Hitler's public image in America. Lee, incidentally, had also been used to help sell the Soviet regime to the American public in the late 1920s.

ITEM: Much of the capital for the expansion of I.G. Farben came from Wall Street, primarily Rockefeller's National City Bank; Dillon, Read & Company, also a Rockefeller firm; Morgan's Equitable Trust Company; Harris Forbes & Company; and, yes, the predominantly Jewish firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Company.

ITEM: During the Allied bombing raids over Germany, the factories and administrative buildings of I.G. Farben were spared upon instructions from the U.S. War Department. The War Department was liberally staffed with men, who in civilian life, had been associates of the investment firms previously mentioned. For example, the Secretary of War at that time was Robert P. Patterson. James Forrestal was Secretary of the Navy and later became Secretary of Defense. Both men had come from Dillon Read and, in fact, Forrestal had been president of that firm.

ITEM: During World War II, under the Lend-Lease program, the United States sent to the Soviets more than $11 billion in aid, including 14,000 aircraft, nearly half a million tanks and other military vehicles, more than 400 combat ships, and even half of the entire U.S. supply of uranium which then was critically needed for the development of the atomic bomb. But fully one-third of all the Lend-Lease shipments during this period comprised industrial equipment and supplies to be used for the development of the

3- Anthony Sutton, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler (Seal Beach, California: '76 Press, 1976),. 15-18,33^3, 67-97,99-113. Also Revolution, p. 174. 2. Sutton, Hitler, pp. 23-61.


Russian economy after the war. And when the war did end, the Lend-Lease program continued to flow into the Soviet Union for over a year. As late as the end of 1946, Russia was still receiving twenty-year credit terms at 2 3 /g per cent interest, a far lower rate than returning GIs could obtain.


With the termination of the Lend-Lease program, it was necessary to invent new mechanisms for the support of Soviet Russia and her satellites. One of these was the sale of much-needed commodities at prices below the world market and, in fact, below the prices that Americans themselves had to pay for the same items. This meant, of course—as it did in the case of Lend Lease—that the American taxpayer had to make up the difference. The Soviets were not even required to have the money to buy these goods. American financial institutions, the federal government, and international agencies which are largely funded by the federal government, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank— lent the money to them. Furthermore, the interest rates on these loans also are below the market requiring still additional subsidy by American citizens. And that is not all. Almost all of these loans have been guaranteed by the United States government, which means that if—no, make that when —these countries default in their payments, the gullible American public is once again called upon to make them good. In other words, the new mechanism, innocently and deceptively referred to as "trade," is little more than a thinly disguised means by which members of the Round Table who direct our national policies have bled billions of dollars from American citizens for an ongoing economic transfusion into the Soviet bloc—and continue to do so now that the word Soviet has been changed to the less offensive Democratic Socialism. This enables those regimes to enter into contracts with American businessmen to provide essential services. And the circle is complete: From tlte American taxpayer to the American government to the "socialist" regime to the American businessman and, ultimately, to tlte American financier who funded the project and provided the political influence to make it all possible.

1. Anthony C. Sutton, National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union (New Rochelle. New York: Arlington House, 1973), p: 24.

This is the key to understanding the transfusion mechanism. Many Americans have looked at this process and have jumped to the conclusion that there must be a nest of Communist agents within our government. In an exam on reality politics, they would receive half credit for that answer. Yes, there undoubtedly have been, and continue to be, Red agents and sympathizers burrowed deep into our government woodwork, and they are all too happy to help the process along. But the main motive force has always come from the non-Communist, non-Democratic Socialist, non-American, non-anything members of the Round Table network who, as Lenin said, in the pursuit of profit are laboring for the preparation of their own suicide.

These men are incapable of genuine patriotism. They think of themselves, not as citizens of any particular country, but as citizens of the world. They can do business just as easily with bloodthirsty dictatorships as with any other government—especially since they are assured by the transfer mechanism that the American taxpayer is going to make good on the deal.

When David Rockefeller was asked about the propriety of providing funding for Marxist and Communist countries which are openly hostile to the United States, he responded: "I don't think an international bank such as ours ought to try to set itself as a judge about what kind of government a country wishes to have."

Wishes to have? He was talking about Angola where the Marxist dictatorship was forced upon the people with Cuban soldiers and Soviet weapons!

Thomas Theobald, Vice President of Citicorp, was asked in 1981 about his bank's loans to Poland. Was he embarrassed by making loans to a Communist country, especially following the regime's brutal repression of free-trade unions? Not at all. "Who knows which political system works?" he replied. "The only test we care about is, can they pay their bills." What he meant, of course, was

kcan the American taxpayer pay Poland's bills. ITEM: The following item, taken directly from the Los Angeles Times just a few months after Theobald's statement, tells the story: WASHINGTON—For months, the Reagan Administration has been using federal funds to repay Polish loans owed to U.S. banks, and the bill for this fiscal year may amount to $400 million, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Richard E. Lyng said Monday…. "They (the Polish authorities) have not been making payments for at least the last

half of the last year/' Lyng said. "When they don't make a payment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture makes a payment.."..

Lyng said the U.S. Government paid $60 million to $70 million a month on guaranteed Polish loans in October, November, December, and January—and "we will continue to pay them."

This, remember, was precisely at the time the Polish government had declared martial law and was using military force to crush workers' demonstrations for political reform. The Polish default on this $1.6 billion loan was by no means an isolated event. Communist Rumania and a multitude of Latin American countries were soon to follow.

The hard fact is that American taxpayers unknowingly have been making monthly bank payments on behalf of Communist, socialist, and so-called Third-World countries for many years. And, with the more recent staging of apparent reform within the former Soviet bloc, Congress has tripped all over itself to greatly accelerate that trend.

Americans, of course, want to believe that the Evil Empire is crumbling, and the Soviets-turned-Democrats play directly to that desire. Since the end of World War II, their primary objectives have been (1) to disarm us and (2) to get our money. The facade of Perestroika and Glasnost has been merely a ploy to accomplish both objectives at once. All they have had to do is get rid of a few of the old hard-liners, replace them with less well-known personalities who are essentially the same (all of the new leaders come from the ranks of the old leadership), change their labels from "Communists" to "Social Democrats," and then sit back while we happily tear down our military defenses and rush billions of dollars to their failing economies. There undoubtedly will be some progress allowed in the area of free speech, but the military and security organizations continue in full readiness. The iron fist beneath the velvet glove remains ready to strike when the time comes that the facade is no longer necessary.

Even if the entire ploy were genuine, there is no reason to believe that these Social Democracies will ever become better investment risks. The primary thing that has held them back economically in the past is their socialist system, and that most

1. "U.S. Repaying Loans Owed by Poland to American Banks/' by William J. Eaton, Los Angeles Times, February 2,1982.



definitely will not be changed. All of the new "anti-Communist Social Democrats" have pledged their loyalty to the principles of Marx and have said in plain language that they will use our money to develop, not abandon socialism. These countries will continue to be unproductive and will continue to be unable to pay their loans. The American taxpayers will continue to be forced by the Cabal to


the bill.

ITEM: Before the Bolshevik coup d'etat, Russia was one of the most productive agricultural nations in the world. The great wheat fields in Ukraine justly earned her the title of the Bread Basket of Europe. But when the people's Utopia arrived, agriculture came to a standstill, and famine stalked the land. Even after Stalin, when the regime is said to have adopted more humane and productive policies, Russia never produced enough food for itself. A nation that cannot feed its citizens cannot develop its industry and it certainly cannot build a potent military force. It is not surprising, therefore, that for decades, the United States has annually "sold" tens of millions of tons of wheat—and other food stuffs—to Russia. The quote marks are to emphasize the underlying transfusion mechanism previously described.

ITEM: The American government-industrial complex provided the Soviets with the money, technology, and the actual construction of two of the world's largest and most modern truck plants. The Kama River plant and the Zil plant produce over 150,000 heavy-duty trucks per year—including armored personnel carriers and missile launchers—plus 250,000 diesel engines, many of which are used to power Soviet tanks. Forty-five per cent of the cost of this project came from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, an agency of the federal government, and an equal amount from David Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan Bank. The Soviets put up only ten per cent. The loan, of course, was taxpayer-guaranteed by the U.S. Export-Import Bank which, at the time, was under the direction of

I William Casey. Casey later was appointed as head of the CIA. to protect America from global Communism. (Are you beginning to get the picture?) ITEM: Almost every important facet of Eastern-Bloc heavy industry could well be stamped "Made in the USA." With the f

1- "U.S. Builds Soviet War Machine/' Industrial Research & Development, July, 1980, Pp. 51-54.


specific approval of each successive president, we have provided the latest oil-drilling equipment, chemical processing plants, air-traffic radar systems, equipment to produce precision bearings, large-craft helicopter engines, laser technology, highly advanced computer systems, and nuclear power plants. We have trained hundreds of their technicians in American institutions and factories and have provided their astronauts with the space suits developed by NASA. We have even trained their pilots at U.S. Air Force bases and paid for their military officers to attend our War College. All of this has been used by the Russian government—as Lenin predicted it would—to build their military industry in preparation for an attack on their suppliers. The great pretense of crumbling Communism, has not altered that strategy. It may even be the implementation of it.

ITEM: When Boris Yeltsin seized control of the former Soviet government, one of his first official acts was to decree that foreign businesses had the right to take their profits out of the country. From a purely business perspective, that was a sound move because it would provide incentive for foreign investment. But there was more to it than that Recall from a previous chapter that the lion's share of that investment was to be funded by American taxpayers in the form of direct aid, bank-loan bailouts, and government insurance through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Jane Ingraham provides the details:

During 1992 Yeltsin wheeled and dealed with Royal Dutch/Shell, British Petroleum, Amoco, Texaco, and Exxon. The Chevron joint venture to develop the Tengiz oil field was signed. McDermott International, Marathon Oil, and Mitsui signed a contract with the Russian government to develop oil and natural gas off Sakhalin Island. Chevron and Oman formed a consortium to build a huge pipeline to carry crude oil from Kazakhstan to the Black Sea, Mediterranean, and Persian Gulf. Occidental Petroleum signed a joint venture with Russia to modernize two oil fields in Siberia…. Newmont mining signed a joint venture to extract gold in Uzbekistan. Merrill Lynch's chairman, William Schreyer (CFR), signed up as financial adviser to "aid in privatizing" the Ukrainian State Property Fund. AT&T CEO Robert Allen (CFR, TC ) signed a huge contract to supply switching systems for all of Kazakhstan….

US West joined with the Hungarian government to own and operate a national cellular telephone system; GM Vice President Marina Whitman (CFR, TC) joined the governments of Hungary and Yugoslavia to make cars; GE CEO John Welch (CFR) and vice chairman of the board, Lawrence Bossidy (TC), bought a majority stake in Hungary's lighting industry; Ralston-Purina, Dow Chemical, Eastman Kodak, SC Johnson & Son, Xerox, American Express, Procter & Gamble, Woolworth, Philip Morris, Ford, Compaq Computer—hardly a single American brand name was missing.

ITEM: In February of 1996, the Clinton Administration made a $1 billion loan of US taxpayers' money to Russia's state-controlled Aeroflot company so it could more effectively compete with American companies such as Boeing in the building of jumbo jets. By the end of that year, the former Soviet Bloc countries had received transfusions from the World Bank of over $3 billion.

ITEM: Now the action has spread to China. American banks and businessmen—with taxpayers standing by with guarantees— have provided power-generating equipment, modern steel mills, and military hardware including artillery shells, anti-submarine torpedoes, and high-tech electronic gear to update Russian-made jet fighters. All of this is explained as a means of weaning the Red Chinese away from mother Russia and encouraging them to move closer to free-enterprise capitalism. Yet, in 1985, at the height of the frenzy over building trade bridges to China, the regime signed a $14 billion trade pact with Russia and, in 1986, sent a $20 million interest-free loan to the Communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Even after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, when U.S. officials were publicly condemning China for human-rights violations, business quietly continued as usual. "The United States cannot condone the violent attacks and cannot ignore the consequence for our relationship with China," said President Bush. Yet, within only a few weeks of the bloodshed, and at the very time that student leaders were being executed, the Administration approved a $200 million, low-interest loan for delivery of four of Boeing's newest jumbo-jet aircraft. In 1993, forty-seven more jetliners were sold with a projected sale of 800 more over the next fifteen years. Amoco is spending $1.5 billion to develop oil fields in the China Sea. A joint venture between the Chinese government and Chrysler

1. Trilatera 1 Commission.

ft "The Payoff/' by Jane H. Ingraham, The New American, June 28,1993, pp. 25-6.


is building military jeeps. A similar joint project is being used to upgrade their F-8 fighter planes. Three communications satellites were cleared for delivery. AT&T contracted a $30 million cellular communications network. Even the President's brother, Prescott Bush, resumed his plan to set up a satellite-linked computer network and to build a golf course near Shanghai.

China's interest in military technology is revealing. In addition to the advanced hardware purchased from the United States, the Chinese have bought MIG-31 and SU-27 jet fighters from Russia and an aircraft carrier constructed in Ukraine. In May of 1992, China set off its biggest underground nuclear blast In 1997, the purchase list was extended to include self-propelled gun-mortar systems and Russia's most advanced diesel-electric submarines.

Although it is known that China maintains a slave-labor work force in excess of a million people—they call them "convicts"—and although the Tariff Act of 1930 prohibits the United States from importing any goods made even in part by convicts or other forced labor, every administration starting with Nixon has renewed the "most-favored-nation" trade status for China.

How is China expected to pay for all this "trade"? Very simple. By 1996, China had become the largest single recipient of guaranteed loans and subsidies from the World Bank.

ITEM: In addition to these decades of global trade, credit, and taxpayer guarantees, the United States government has transferred tens of billions of dollars in direct foreign-aid grants with no pretense at all regarding expectation of repayment.

The trail leads to Wall Street, and the tracks are fresh. The Round Table network did succeed in exploiting the markets of Eastern Europe and continues to do so today. The cast of characters has changed, but the play remains the same. In the beginning, the Council on Foreign Relations was dominated by J.P. Morgan. It is still controlled by international financiers. The Morgan group gradually has been replaced by the Rockefeller consortium, and the roll call of participating businesses now reads like the Fortune 500. The operation no longer pretends to be a Red Cross mission; it now masquerades under the cover of "East-West Trade."

Politicians are fond of talking about the necessity of preserving world peace, and trade, we are told, is one of the best ways to do it. The implication is that this is a time of peace. In truth, we live in one of the most war-torn eras the world has ever seen. No continent

today, except Antarctica, is free from war. There are from 25 to 40 military struggles going on somewhere every day of the year. There have been more than 150 armed conflicts since the end of World War II with the death count already in excess of 20 million and rising. We cannot help noticing that this also has been a period of rising government debt and the global creation of fiat money.


The alchemists of ancient times vainly sought the philosophers' stone which they believed would turn lead into gold. Is it possible that such a stone actually has been found? Can it be that the money alchemists of our own time have learned how to transmute war into debt, and debt into war, and both into gold for themselves?

In a previous section, we theorized a strategy, dubbed the Rothschild Formula, in which the world's money cabal deliberately encourages war as a means of stimulating the profitable production of armaments and of keeping nations perpetually in debt. This is not profit seeking, it is genocide. It is not a trivial matter, therefore, to inquire into the possibility that our elected and non-elected leaders are, in fact, implementing the Rothschild Formula today.

ITEM: In his address to the graduating class at Annapolis in 1983, Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman, said: "Within weeks, many of you will be looking across just hundreds of feet of water at some of the most modern technology ever invented in America. Unfortunately, it is on Soviet ships/'

As Professor Sutton observed in his book, The Best Enemy Money Can Buy, the guns, the ammunition, the weapons, and the transportation systems that killed Americans in Korea and Vietnam came from the American-subsidized economy of the Soviet Union. The trucks that carried these weapons down the Ho Chi Minh Trail were manufactured in American-built plants. The ships that carried the supplies to Sihanoukville and Haiphong and later to Angola and Nicaragua came from NATO allies and used propulsion systems that our State Department could have kept out of Soviet hands. Sutton concludes: "The technical capability to wage the

1- These figures are taken from United Nations publication E/CN5/1985/Rev.l, 1985 Report on the World Social Situation (New York: United Nations, 1985), p. 14. The January 1993 revision of that document does not give cumulative figures but shows that the number of conflicts has been accelerating. So the current numbers, whatever they may be, are even worse.


Korean and Vietnamese wars originated on both sides in Western, mainly American, technology, and the political illusion of "peaceful trade" promoted by the deaf mute blindmen was the carrier for this war-making technology."

ITEM: That leads us to the more recent wars in the Middle East and the rise of "Islamic Fundamentalism." Iran, Iraq, Syria, Algeria, the PLO, the Muslim Brotherhood, and similar anti-American groupings have all received weapons, funding, and clandestine support from the U.S. government. In the Gulf War, every effort was made to insure that Hussein's regime was contained but not destroyed (shades of the Korean and Vietnam wars). Most of his bacterial-weapons factories were spared. After the cease fire, he was allowed to keep his fleet of helicopter gunships, which he promptly used to put down a large-scale internal revolt.

The big pill to swallow is that Saddam Hussein has been an asset to the global planners in the West, and they have done everything possible to keep him in power. This strategy has lately become so obvious that there is no longer any serious attempt to conceal it. The task now is how to explain it to the gullible public so as to make it sound like a good idea.

As mentioned previously, the think-tank and talent pool for the implementation of this strategy has been the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1996, the Managing Editor of the CFR's monthly journal, Foreign Affairs, was Fareed Zakaria, who offered the following rationalization:

Yes, it's tempting to get rid of Saddam. But his bad behavior actually serves America's purposes in the region…. If Saddam Hussein did not exist, we would have to invent him…. The end of Saddam Hussein would be the end of the anti-Saddam coalition. Nothing destroys an alliance like the disappearance of the enemy…. Maintaining a long-term American presence in the gulf would be difficult in the absence of a regional threat.

That is about as clear a statement of the Rothschild Formula as one is apt to find. Yet, many people cannot believe it is real, even Congressmen. For example, Representative James Traficant from Ohio, speaking before the House on April 29,1997, exclaimed:

1. Anthony Sutton, The Best Enemy Money Can Buy (Billings, Montana: Liberty House Press, 1986), p. 191.

2. "Thank Goodness for a Villain," Newsweek, Sept. 16,1996, p. 43.

America gives billions to Russia. With American cash, Russia builds missiles. Russia then sells those missiles to China. And China, who gets about $45 billion in trade giveaways from Uncle Sam, then sells those Russian-made missiles to Iran.

Now Iran, with those Russian-made missiles sold to them by China, threatens the Mideast. So Uncle Sam, who is concerned about about Iran threatening the Mideast because of those Russian-made missiles sold to them by China that we financed by American cash sends more troops and sends more dollars…. Mr. Speaker, this is not foreign policy. This is foreign stupidity.

Traficant is on target with his analysis of the problem, but he missed the bull's eye regarding the cause. American leaders are not stupid. They merely are implementing the Rothschild Formula. To justify world government, it is necessary to have wars and the threat of wars. Wars require enemies with frightful weapons. Saddam Hussein is one of the best enemies money can buy.

If it is true that Western leaders are deliberately funding their own enemies, we must assume they have considered Lenin's prediction that, by so doing, they are preparing their own suicide— ours, also, by the way. We must also conclude that they are confident of avoiding that destiny. Whether they are right or wrong is not the issue here. The point is they believe they are correct and, further, they are building a world order which they are confident of being able to control. How they plan to bring that to pass is the subject of a later section, but perpetual war is an important part of it Unless we are able to break the grip of these strategists, the Rothschild Formula will continue to play a major role in our future.


There are few historians who would challenge the fact that the funding of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War was accomplished by the Mandrake Mechanism through the Federal Reserve System. An overview of all wars since the establishment of the Bank of England in 1694 suggests that most of them would have been greatly reduced in severity, or perhaps not even fought at all, without fiat money. It is the ability of governments to acquire money without direct taxation that makes Modern warfare possible, and a central bank has become the preferred method of accomplishing that.

Congressional Record, April 29,1997.

One can argue the necessity, or at least the inevitability, of fiat money in time of war as a means of raw survival. That is the primal instinct of both individuals and governments, all other considerations aside. We shall leave that for the philosophers. But there can be no debate over the fact that fiat money in time of peace has no such justification. Furthermore, the ability of governments and banking institutions to use fiat money to fund the wars of other nations is a powerful temptation for them to become embroiled in those wars for personal profit, political advancement, or other reasons which fall far short of a moral justification for bloodshed.

The Federal Reserve System has always served that function. The on-going strategy of building up the military capabilities of America's potential enemies leaves us no reason to believe we have seen the last of war. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that the Federal Reserve System encourages war. There can be no better reason for the Creature to be put to sleep.


The Bolshevik Revolution was a coup d'etat in which a radical minority captured the Russian government from the moderate revolutionary majority. They accomplished this through deception, organization, discipline, and surprise. The Red Cross Mission of New York financiers threw support to the Bolsheviks and, in return, received economic rewards in the form of rights to Russia's natural resources plus contracts for construction and supplies. The continued participation in the economic development of Russia and Eastern Europe since that time indicates that this relationship has survived to the present day. These financiers are not pro-Communist nor pro-anything else. Their motivation is profit and power. They are now working to bring both Russia and the United States into a world government which they expect to control. War and threats of war are tools to prod the masses toward the acceptance of that goal. It is essential, therefore, that the United States and the industrialized nations of the world have credible enemies. As these words are being written, Russia is wearing the mask of peace and cooperation. But we have seen that before. We may yet see a return of the Evil Empire when the timing is right. U.S. government and megabank funding, first of Russian, and now of Chinese and Middle-East military capabilities, cannot be understood without this insight.

Section IV


It has been said that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. It may come as a surprise to learn that the Federal Reserve System is America's fourth central bank, not its first. We have been through all this before and, each time, the result has been the same. Interested in what happened? Then let's set the coordinates of our time machine to the colony of Massachusetts and the year 1690. To activate, turn the page.

Chapter Fifteen


The bitter experience of the American colonies with fiat money; the resolve of the founding fathers to prohibit the new nation from resorting to paper money without backing; the drafting of the Constitution to that end; the creation of a true American dollar; the prosperity that followed.

In the golden days of radio, on the Edgar Bergen Show, the ventriloquist would ask his dummy, Mortimer Snerd, "How can you be so stupid?" And the answer was always the same. After a moment of deep thought on the part of Mortimer, he would drawl his reply, "Well, it ain't easy!"

When we look at the monetary chaos around us today—the evaporating value of the dollar and the collapsing financial institutions—we are compelled to ask: How did we get into this fix? And, unfortunately, Mortimer's response would be quite appropriate.

To find out how we got to where we are, it will be necessary to know where we started, and a good place to begin that inquiry is with the Constitution of the United States. Article I, Sections 8 and 10 say:

Congress shall have the power —

To borrow money … to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;… [and] to provide for the punishrnent of counterfeiting….

No state shall … coin money; emit bills of credit; [or] make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.

The delegates were precise in their use of these words. Congress was given the power to "coin money," not to print it. Thomas M. Cooley's Principles of Constitutional Law explains that 'to coin money is to stamp pieces of metal for use as a medium of exchange in commerce according to fixed standards of value."

What was prohibited was to "emit bills of credit" which, according to the speeches and writings of those who drafted the document, meant the printing of paper IOUs which were intended to be circulated as money—in other words, the printing of fiat money not backed by gold or silver.

At first, it would seem that nothing could be more clear. Yet, these two simple clauses have become the basis for literally thousands of pages of conflicting interpretation. The crux of the problem is that, while the Constitution clearly prohibits the states from issuing fiat money, it does not specifically prevent the federal government from doing so. That was truly an unfortunate oversight on the part of the document's framers, but they probably never dreamed in their wildest nightmares that their descendants "could be so stupid" as to not understand their intent.

Furthermore, "it ain't easy 7 ' to miss their intent. All one has to do is look at the monetary history that led up to the Constitutional Convention and to read the published letters and debates of the men who affixed their signatures to that founding document.

As one reads through the debates on the floor of the convention, one is struck by the passion that these delegates held on the subject of money. Every one of them could remember from his personal experience the utter chaos in the colonies caused by the issuance of fiat money. They spoke out against it in no uncertain terms, and they were adamant that it should never be tolerated again in America—at either the state or federal level.


The first colonial experience with fiat money was in the period from 1690 to 1764. Massachusetts was the first to use it as a means of financing its military raids against the French colony in Quebec. The other colonies were quick to follow suit and, within a few years, were engaging in a virtual orgy of printing "bills of credit." There was no central bank involved. The process was simple and direct, as was the reasoning behind it. As one colonial legislator explained it:

Do you think, gentlemen, that I will consent to load my constituents with taxes when we can send to our printer and get a wagon load of money, one quire of which will pay for the whole?

1. See William ML Gouge, A Short History of Paper Money and Banking in the United States (Philadelphia: T.W. Ustick, 1833), Part II, p. 27.

The consequences of this enlightened statesmanship were classic. Prices skyrocketed, legal tender laws were enacted to force the colonists to accept the worthless paper, and the common man endured great personal losses and hardship. By the late 1750s, Connecticut had price inflated by 800%, the Carolinas had inflated 900%, Massachusetts 1000%, Rhode Island 2300%. 1

The situation was so out of hand that, beginning in 1751, the British Parliament stepped in and, in one of those rare instances where interference from the mother country actually benefited the colonies, it forced them to cease the production of fiat money. Henceforth, the Bank of England would be the only source.

What followed was unforeseen by the promoters of fiat money. Amid great gloom about "insufficient money/ 7 a miracle boom of prosperity occurred. The forced use of fiat money had compelled everyone to hoard their real money and use the worthless paper instead. Now that the paper was in disgrace, the colonists began to use their English and French and Dutch gold coins once again, prices rapidly adjusted to reality, and commerce returned to a solid footing. It remained so even during the economic strain of the Seven-Years War (1756-1763) and during the period immediately prior to the Revolution. Here was a perfect example of how an economic system in distress can recover if government does not interfere with the healing process.


But all of this came to a halt with the onset of colonial rebellion. Not only did open hostilities throw England deeper into the cogs and wheels of the central-bank mechanism, it also was the compelling motive for the colonies to return to their printing presses. The following figures speak eloquently for themselves:

• At the beginning of the war in 1775, the total money supply for the federated colonies stood at $12 million.

In June of that year, the Continental Congress issued another $2 million. Before the notes were printed, another $1 million was authorized.

By the end of the year, another $3 million.


1 Paul and Lehrman, p. 23.

2 Roger W. Weiss, "The Colonial Monetary Standard of Massachusetts/ History Review 27 (November 1974), p. 589.



• $19 million in 1776.

• $13 million in 1777.

• $64 million in 1778.

• $125 million in 1779.

• A total of $227 million in five years on top of a base of $12 million is an increase of about 2000%.

• On top of this "federal" money, the states were doing the same in an approximately equal amount.

• And still more: the Continental Army, unable to get enough money from Congress, issued "certificates" for the purchase of supplies totalling $200 million.

• $650 million created in five years on top of a base of $12 million is an expansion of the money supply of over SOOO^o. 1

Although the economy was devastated by this flood of fiat money, most victims were totally unaware of the cause. In 1777, the sentiment of a large segment of the population was expressed by the words of one patriotic old lady who said: "What a shame it is that Congress should let the poor soldiers suffer when they have power to make just as much money as they choose." 2

The immediate result of this money infusion was the appearance of prosperity. After all, everyone had more money and that was perceived as a very good thing. But this was quickly followed by inflation as the self-destruct mechanism began to roll. In 1775, the colonial monetary unit, called the Continental, was valued at one-dollar in gold. In 1778, it was exchanged for twenty-five cents. By 1779, just four years from its issue, it was worth less than a penny and ceased to circulate as money at all. It was in that year that George Washington wrote: "A wagon-load of money will scarcely purchase a wagon-load of provisions." 3

The saying "Not worth a Continental" has its origin in this gloomy period.

1. For an overview of expenditures, see Paul and Lehrman, pp. 26-27.

2. Gouge, p. 28. The naivite of this lady may be humorous, but are Americans any more enlightened today? Would she not feel at home among our modern-day electorate who clamor for legislation to pump Federal-Reserve fiat money into projects to alleviate hardship among the poor and unemployed?

3. Quoted by Bolles,Vol.i,p.l32.

The true nature of the inflation effect has never been more accurately perceived or more vividly described than it was by Thomas Jefferson:

It will be asked how will the two masses of Continental and of State money have cost the people of the United States seventy-two millions of dollars, when they are to be redeemed now with about six million? I answer that the difference, being sixty-six millions, has been lost on the paper bills separately by the successive holders of them. Every one, through whose hands a bill passed, lost on that bill what it lost in value during the time it was in his hands. This was a real tax on him; and in this way the people of the United States actually contributed those sixty-six millions of dollars during the war, and by a mode of taxation the most oppressive of all because the most unequal of all. 1


It was natural that people struggled to find ways to escape the destruction of their savings, and the two most obvious methods were (1) to regularly adjust prices upward as the value of the money went downward or (2) exchange their goods and services only for gold coins. In response, the colonial legislatures and the Continental Congress did what governments always do to prevent it They resorted to wage and price controls and to legal-tender laws with harsh penalties for non-compliance. Under one such law, those who refused to accept worthless money were even described as traitors. It declared:

If any person shall hereafter be so lost to all virtue and regard for his Country as to refuse to accept its notes, such person shall be deemed an enemy of his Country.

Rhode Island not only leveled a substantial fine for non-acceptance of its notes but, upon a second offense, an individual lost his citizenship. When this was declared unlawful by a panel of judges, the legislature reacted by dismissing the judges from office. 3

P Thomas Jefferson, Observations on the Article Etats-Unis Prepared for the Encyclopedia, June 22,1786, Writings, Vol. IV, p. 165.

2 F- Tupper Saussy, The Miracle on Mainstreet (Sewanee, Tennessee Spencer Judd, 9fi 0), p. 12. Also see Anthony Sutton, The War on Gold (Seal Beach, Calif.: 76 Press,

1 W), pp. 47,48.

3 Jensen, p. 324.


Then, as now, those who suffered the most from fiat money were those who held the most trust in government. In 1777 these were mostly the Whigs, for it was they who patriotically held paper money and, as a result, lost their livelihoods and their life savings. The Tories, on the other hand, mistrusting both government and its paper money, passed the bills as quickly as possible in trade for real assets, especially gold. Consequently, as a group, they weathered the storm fairly well. But they often were derided by their less prudent neighbors as "Torie speculators," "hoarders," and even "traitors."

All of this was painfully fresh in the memories of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention and, as the opening session convened in Philadelphia in 1787, there were angry mobs in the streets threatening the legislators. Looting was rampant. Businesses were bankrupt, Drunkenness and lawlessness were everywhere to be seen. The fruit of fiat money had ripened, and the delegates did not enjoy its taste.

In October of 1785, George Washington wrote: "The wheels of government are clogged, and … we are descending into the vale of confusion and darkness." A year later, in a letter to James Madison, he said: "No day was ever more clouded than the present. We are fast verging to anarchy."

In February of 1787, Washington wrote to Henry Knox: "If any person had told me that there would have been such formidable rebellion as exists, I would have thought him fit for a madhouse."

Just three months prior to the opening of the convention, Washington voiced his reasons for rejecting the notion of fiat money. In answer to the complaint that there was not enough gold coin (specie) to satisfy the needs of commerce, he replied:

The necessity arising from a want of specie is represented as greater than it really is. I contend that it is by the substance, not the shadow of a thing, we are to be benefited. The wisdom of man, in my humble opinion, cannot at this time devise a plan by which the credit of paper money would be long supported; consequently, depreciation keeps pace with the quantity of the emission, and articles for which it is exchanged rise in a greater ratio than the sinking value of the money. Wherein, then, is the farmer, the planter, the artisan benefited?

1. Quoted by Atwood, p. 3.

2. Ibid., p. 4.

3. Ibid., p. 4.

An evil equally great is the door it immediately opens for speculation, by which the least designing and perhaps most valuable part of the community are preyed upon by the more knowing and crafty speculators. THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION

This was the prevailing view held by the great majority of delegates to the Convention. They were adamant in their resolve to create a constitution which would prevent any state, and especially the federal government itself, from ever again issuing fiat money. And they said so in unmistakable terms.

Oliver Ellsworth from Connecticut, who later was to become our third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, said:

This is a favorable moment to shut and bar the door against paper money. The mischief of the various experiments which have been made are now fresh in the public mind and have excited the disgust of all the respectable parts of America.

George Mason from Virginia told the delegates he had a "mortal hatred to paper money." Previously he had written to George Washington: "They may pass a law to issue paper money, but twenty laws will not make the people receive it. Paper money is founded upon fraud and knavery."

James Wilson from Pennsylvania said: "It will have the most salutary influence on the credit of the United States to remove the possibility of paper money/'

John Langdon from New Hampshire warned that he would rather reject the whole plan of federation than to grant the new gpvernment the right to issue fiat money.

George Reed from Delaware declared that a provision in the Constitution granting the new government the right to issue fiat money "would be as alarming as the mark of the beast in


Thomas Paine, although not a delegate to the Convention, had written the previous year that he was strongly opposed to fiat money, which he called counterfeiting by the state, and he especially abhorred legal tender laws which force people to accept the

2 "


1. Washington to Stone, 16 February, 1787. Quoted by Bancroft, pp. 231-32.

2- For the context of this and the following statements expressing a similar

sentiment, see Bancroft, pp. 30,43-44,82; also Paul and Lehrman, p. 168.

counterfeit. He said: "The punishment of a member [of a legislature] who should move for such a law ought to be death/'

An interesting thought.

If any further evidence is needed that the Founding Fathers intended to prohibit the federal government from issuing "bills of credit/' consider this. The first draft of the Constitution was copied in large measure from the original Articles of Confederation. When it was taken up for consideration by the delegates, therefore, it contained the old provision that had caused so much chaos. It stated: "The legislature of the United States shall have the power to borrow money and emit bills of credit." But, after a lively discussion on the matter, the offending provision was voted to be removed from the Constitution by an overwhelming margin. 1 Voicing the sentiment of the majority of the delegates, Alexander Hamilton said: "To emit an unfunded paper as the sign of value ought not to continue a formal part of the Constitution, nor ever hereafter to be employed; being, in its nature, repugnant with abuses and liable to be made the engine of imposition and fraud." 2

The journal of the Convention for August 16 contains this notation:

It was moved and seconded to strike out the words "and emit bills of credit/' and the motion … passed in the affirmative. [The vote cleared by a margin of better than four to one.] 3

The Tenth Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The power to issue bills of credit is definitely not delegated to the United States, and it is specifically prohibited to the States. Therefore, if any power to issue fiat money legally exists at all, it is reserved for the people. In other words, individuals and private institutions, such as banks, have the right to issue lOUs and hope that the public will use them as money, but government, at any level is clearly prohibited by the Constitution from doing so.

1. For an excellent summary of the interplay of ideas between the delegates, see Edwin Vieira, Jr., Pieces of Eight: The Monetary Pozvers and Disabilities of the United States Constitution (New Jersey: Sound Dollar Committee, 1983), pp. 71-76.

2. Alexander Hamilton, Works, Part II, p. 271, as cited by Bancroft, p. 26.

3. Quoted by Bancroft, pp. 39, 40.



Incidentally, the Constitution has never been amended on this point, nor has the provision that only silver and gold can be used as lawful money. It would be interesting if each reader of this book would send copies to his or her elected representatives in Washington, or at least a photocopy of this section. Every member of Congress has sworn to uphold the Constitution, and you might attach a short note asking them when they intend to begin.

Do not be disappointed if your reply is less than satisfactory. Politicians have a similar problem to that which judges have. It is permissible to rock the boat from time to time, but they are not supposed to sink it. Suits against the government challenging the constitutionality of our monetary system seldom get to court. It is safer for the justices to decline to accept these cases or to dismiss them as supposedly "frivolous." Otherwise they would face a difficult choice. Either they would have to mutilate logic in order to uphold the present inconsistencies—thus, opening themselves to possible ridicule—or they would have to declare in favor of the Constitution and literally cause the collapse of the entire deficit-

» spending, central-bank mechanism. Such an act would take a

considerable amount of courage. Not only would they suffer the wrath of the Establishment that is nourished by that mechanism, they also would have to face a bewildered public which, because of lack of knowledge about the Constitution or the nature of money, could easily be convinced that the judges had lost their minds. Likewise, it is safer for politicians to respond to inquiries of this kind merely by quoting some self-serving government document which makes our fiat monetary system sound quite legal and marvelously constitutional.

Unfortunately, that is reality. Until the public becomes considerably better informed than it is at present, we cannot expect too much from the courts or from Congress. Bringing this matter to the attention of your elected representatives, however, is still well worth the effort, because the process of education has to start somewhere, and Washington is an excellent place to begin.

Returning to the point of this digression, however, it is impor-

Ltant to know that the federal government was given a precisely limited monetary function: "to coin money" and to "regulate the

specifically defined as the only kind of money to be allowed, there can be no doubt of what was meant by the first half of that power. To coin money meant to mint precious-metal coins. Period.

The second half is equally clear. Both in the Constitution and in the discussions among the delegates, the power to regulate the value of gold and silver coin was closely tied to the power to determine weights and measures. They are, in fact, one and the same. To regulate the value of coin is exactly the same as to set the nationally accepted value of a mile or a pound or a quart. It is to create a standard against which a thing may be measured. The wording of this section of the Constitution can be traced to the original Articles of Confederation which further clarifies the meaning that was generally understood at that time:

The United States in congress assembled shall … have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective states—fixing the Standard of Weights and Measures throughout the United States.

The intent, therefore, was simply for Congress to determine the exact weight of a precious metal that would constitute the national monetary unit.


At the time of these deliberations, Spanish silver coins, called pieces of eight, had already become the de facto monetary unit. An official commission had been established by the Continental Congress to sample the circulating coins in the country and determine their average value by weight and purity. Charts were published, and all coins of various origin were listed by comparative value. Congress was already "regulating the value of" the nation's money by the time the Constitution was drafted. How these coins became dollars is an interesting story. Edwin Vieira tells us:

Monetary historians generally first associate the dollar with one Count Schlick, who began striking such silver coins in 1519 in Joachim's Thai, Bavaria. Then called " Schlicktenthalers" or "joachimsthalers," the coins became known simply as "thalers," which transliterated into "dollars." Interestingly, the American colonies did not adopt the dollar from England, but from Spain. Under that country's monetary reform of 1497, the silver real became the Spanish money-unit, or unit of account. A new coin consisting of eight teaks also appeared. Variously known as pesos, duros, piezas de ocho ("pieces of eight"), or Spanish dollars (because of their similarity in weight and fineness to the thaler), the coins quickly achieved predominance in financial markets of the New World because of Spain's then-important commercial and political position.

In 1785, Thomas Jefferson urged the adoption of the Spanish silver dollar as the nation's official monetary unit. In a pamphlet submitted to the delegates of the Continental Congress, he said:

Taking into our view all money transactions, great and small, I question if a common measure, of more convenient size than the dollar, could be proposed…. The unit or dollar is a known coin, and the most familiar of all to the minds of people. It is already adopted from south to north; has identified our currency, and therefore happily offers itself as an unit already introduced.

On July 6, 1785, Congress unanimously voted to adopt the Spanish dollar as the official monetary unit of the United States. Jefferson realized, however, that this was not sufficient. Although the coin had been one of the most dependable in terms of weight and quality, it still varied in content between issues, and a way had to be found to rate one coin in value against another. That was, after all, the service that Congress was required to render when it was given the power to "regulate the value" of money. Jefferson came directly to the point when he said: "If we determine that a dollar shall be our unit, we must then say with precision what a dollar is. This coin as struck at different times, of different weight and fineness, is of different values."

The logic voiced by Jefferson could not be ignored. Two years later, after carefully examining the actual weight and fineness of the Spanish dollars currently in circulation, Congress defined the dollar. After ratification of the Constitution, a dollar would contain 371.25 grains of fine silver, and all items in commerce, including other coins, were to be measured in value against that standard.

As the Spaniards continued to reduce the silver content of their coins, the pressure for the minting of an American dollar of predictable value began to mount. Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, in his 1791 report to Congress, urged the

1- Vieira, p. 66.

2. Propositions Respecting the Coinage of Gold, Silver, and Copper (printed pamphlet

Presented to the Continental Congress on May 13,1785), pp. 9-10. Cited by Vieira,


3 — Ihid., p. 11.

establishment of a federal mint and also presented a powerful case for maintaining an inviolable standard for the coins to be produced by that mint. He said:

The dollar originally contemplated in the money transactions of this country, by successive diminutions of its weight and fineness, has sustained a depreciation of five per cent, and yet the new dollar has a currency in all payments in place of the old, with scarcely any attention to the difference between them. The operation of this in depredating the value of property depending upon past contracts, and … of all other property is apparent. Nor can it require argument to prove that a nation ought not to suffer the value of the property of its citizens to fluctuate with the fluctuations of a foreign mint, or to change with the changes in the regulations of a foreign sovereign….

The quantity of gold and silver in the national coins, corresponding with a given sum, cannot be made less than heretofore without disturbing the balance of intrinsic value, and making every acre of land, as well as every bushel of wheat, of less actual worth than in time past…. [This] could not fail to distract the ideas of the community, and would be apt to breed discontent as well among those who live on the income of their money as among the poorer classes of the people to whom the necessities of life would … become dearer. 1


Note in the preceding quotation that Hamilton referred to both gold and silver coins, not merely silver. That is because it was precisely at this time that Congress began to consider a bimetallic coinage. In retrospect, this was a mistake for, throughout history, bimetallism has never worked well very long. It always has led to confusion and, ultimately, the disappearance as money of one of the metals. This is because there is always a subtle shifting of the relative values between gold and silver—or any other two metals for that matter—depending on constantly changing supply and demand. We may set a value ratio of one to the other that is quite acceptable today but, eventually, that ratio will no longer reflect reality. The metal which grows in value over the other will be hoarded or possibly even melted down because it will bring a higher price as metal than it will as money.

That is precisely what happened in the early days of our Republic. It was determined after careful analysis of the free-

1. Vie Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (J. Gales, compil. 1834), Appendix, pp. 2059,2071-73. Cited by Vieira, pp. 95,97.

market that the value of gold at that time was approximately fifteen times the value of silver. The Coinage Act of 1792 accordingly set the relative value of gold-to-silver at fifteen-to-one. It then authorized the federal government to mint gold coins called Eagles, and it specified that their value was ten dollars. In other words, the gold courts would be equal in value to ten silver coins. Ten silver coins, each of 371.25 grains of fine silver, would contain a total of 3,712.5 grains. The content of the Eagle, therefore, was one-fifteenth that amount, or 247.5 grains of fine gold.

Contrary to popular misconception/ Congress did not create a "gold dollar." (It didn't do that until fifty-seven years later in The Coinage Act of 1849.) In fact it reaffirmed that "the money of account of the United States shall be expressed in dollars or units" and again defined those units as coins containing 371.25 grains of pure silver. What Congress did do was authorize the minting of a gpld coin and arbitrarily fix the value of the gold in that coin at fifteen times the value of the dollar. And it also stated that all silver and gold coins produced in the federal mint were to be legal tender in accordance with their value, based on weight and purity, relative to the standard of the silver dollar.

Oh yes, another thing. It set the death penalty for anyone who debases the nation's coinage; a law which, if enforced today, would wipe out the House of Representatives, the Senate, the managerial level of the Treasury Department, and the Presidency as well.


Perhaps the most important provision of this Act, however, was the establishment of what is called free coinage. Under free coinage, any citizen may take raw silver or gold to the mint and, for a nominal fee, have it converted into coins for personal use. The government merely performs a technical function of creating the coin and stamping it with its insignia to certify the correct weight and purity. The state's role in this is exactly the same as inspecting the scales in a grocery store or the meter on a gasoline pump. It is merely fulfilling the Constitutional requirement to set standards and verify the accuracy of weights and measures.

Free coinage was to become an important part of the American success story, and it lasted until the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 which, not only terminated it, but even made it illegal for citizens to possess gold. We shall take a closer look at that dismal period in a

later section but, for now, it is important to recall the greatness of our monetary system as it once was. Elgin Groseclose explains:

The principle of free coinage has proved its practical worth as a deterrent to debasement and depreciation. Where coinage is on private account there is no profit to the state in tampering with the standard, and there is no opportunity for such practice by the individual. The circulation of coins of similar appearance and denomination but of uncertain standard, the arbitrary and unpredictable modifications in the standard by autocratic government, the temptations to profit which were constantly dangled before despotic rulers—these were evils which had perplexed and harassed society and hindered the natural growth of economy since the days when coined money first appeared. By a stroke they were swept away. At the same time, the institution of free coinage, by giving stability and character to one of the chief instruments of organized economy, made possible a more vigorous and healthy commercial life and gave prestige and increased substance to the government adopting it.


This was, indeed, an auspicious beginning for the new nation, and the result was immediately observable in an upsurge in prosperity. The December 16, 1789 edition of the Pennsylvania Gazette declared: "Since the federal constitution has removed all danger of our having a paper tender, our trade is advanced fifty per cent." But that was just the beginning. Historian Douglass North says that "the years 1793-1808, were years of unparalleled prosperity/ Louis Hacker describes the period as one "of unexampled business expansion, one of the greatest, in fact, the United States has had…. The exports of the country mounted from $19 millions in 1791 to $93 millions in 1801." 4 Furthermore, the federal deficit, which amounted to twenty-eight per cent of expenditures in 1792, dropped to twenty-one per cent in 1795. By 1802, the deficit had disappeared altogether and had been replaced by a surplus that was almost as large as the governments, total spending.

George Washington watched this economic miracle with great satisfaction and, in correspondence to his friend, LaFayette, the

1. Groseclose, Money and Man, p. 167.

2. Quoted by Saussy, p. 36.

3. Douglass C. North, The Economic Growth of the United States (New York: W.W-Norton, 1966), p. 53.

4. Louis M. Hacker, American Capitalism (New York: Anvil, 1957), p. 39.

French statesman and former General in the Continental Army, Washington commented: "Our country, my dear sir,… is fast progressing in its political importance and social happiness." In a letter to Catherine Macaulay Graham, he said: "The United States enjoys a sense of prosperity and tranquility under the new government that could hardly have been hoped for." And in a letter to the American poet and diplomat, David Humphreys, Washington exclaimed: "Our public credit stands on that high ground which three years ago it would have been considered as a species of madness to have foretold/'

On the specific subject of paper money without backing by gold or silver, Washington wrote:

We may one day become a great commercial and flourishing nation. But if in the pursuit of the means we should unfortunately stumble again on unfunded paper money or any similar species of fraud, we shall assuredly give a fatal stab to our national credit in its infancy.

This, then, was the monetary blueprint laid down by the men who drafted our Constitution. In retrospect, about the only flaw one can find was the attempt to set a fixed ratio between the value of gold and silver. Rather than placing a dollar value on a gold coin, the mint should have imprinted the gold value in terms of weight and fineness. The free market then would have assigned it an exchange value in terms of goods and services, and that automatically would have determined its correct monetary value as a ratio to the silver dollars which were bidding for the purchase of the same items. It was inevitable, therefore, that soon after the "ten-dollar" Eagle was created, the value of gold over silver began to climb higher than the prescribed ratio of fifteen-to-one, and the Eagles ceased to circulate. In later years, with the discovery of the great gold fields in California and Australia, the process reversed itself, and silver dollars disappeared from commerce. But, even though this bimetallism led to a discrepancy between the actual conversion ratio and that which the government had prescribed, nevertheless, it took place in the open market and no one was greatly injured by the inconvenience. Throughout it all, there was just one standard:

1 These letters were written in 1790 and 1791, quoted by Atwood, pp. 5-6.

2 Written in 1789, quoted by Louis Basso, A Treatise on Monetary Reform (St. Louis, Missouri: Monetary Realist Society, 1982), p. 5.

the defined silver content of a dollar. Furthermore, both the silver and gold coins were of intrinsic value and totally honest in their measure. No nation could do more for the prosperity of its citizens than that.


The Constitution prohibits both the states and the federal government from issuing fiat money. This was the deliberate intent of the Founding Fathers who had bitter experience with fiat money before and especially during the Revolutionary War. In response to the need to have a precisely defined national monetary unit, Congress adopted the Spanish dollar then currently in use and defined the content of that dollar to be 371.25 grains of pure silver. With the establishment of a federal mint, American silver dollars were issued in accordance with that standard, and gold Eagles also were produced which were then equal in value to ten silver dollars. Most importantly, free coinage was established wherein Americans were able to convert their raw silver and gold into national coins officially certified by the government as to their intrinsic value. The product of these measures was a period of sound money and great economic prosperity, a period that would come to an end only when the next generation of Americans forgot to read their history and returned to the use of paper money and "bills of credit."

The monetary plan laid down by the Founding Fathers was the product of collective genius. Nowhere in history can one find so many men in one legislative body who understood the fraud inherent in fiat money and the hidden-taxation nature of inflation. There was never such an assembly of scholars and statesmen determined to set a safe course for the nation of their own creation. Literally, they handed us a treasure map. All we had to do was follow it to economic security and national prosperity. But, as we shall see in the following sections, that map was discarded when the lessons of history died out with tiV/se who had lived it.

Chapter Sixteen


The story of the Bank of North America, the nation's first central bank, which was formed even before the Constitution was drafted; the story of the First Bank of the United States, the nation's second central bank, which was formed in 1791; the massive inflation caused by both banks; the causes of their demise.

It is a surprising fact that the United States had its first central bank even before the Constitution was drafted. It was chartered by the Continental Congress in the Spring of 1781 and opened its doors the following year. There were great expectations at that time that the province of Canada would soon join the rebel colonies to form a union extending across the entire North American continent. In anticipation of that, the new financial institution was called the Bank of North America.

The Bank was organized by Robert Morris, a member of Congress, who was a leader of a group of politicians and merchants who wanted the new nation to imitate the mercantilism of England. They wanted high taxes to support a powerful, centralized government, high tariffs to subsidize domestic industry, a large army and navy, and the acquisition of colonial outposts to expand into foreign lands and markets. He was a wealthy Philadelphia mer-

Lchant who had profited greatly from war contracts during the Revolution. He had carefully studied the secret science of money and, by 1781, was widely considered to be the financial wizard of Congress. The Bank of North America was modeled closely after the Bank °f England. Following the practice of fractional reserve, it was allowed to issue paper promissory notes in excess of actual deposits, but, since some gold and silver had to be held in the vault,


there were definite limits to how far that process could go. Bank notes were not forced on the people as legal tender for all debts, public and private, but the government did agree to accept them at their face value in payment of all taxes and duties, which made them as good as gold for that specific purpose. Furthermore, unlike the central banks of today, the Bank of North America was not given the power to directly issue the nation's money.


On the other hand, the Bank was given the right of monopoly in its field, which means there were no other bank notes allowed to circulate in competition. This, plus the fact that they were accepted at face value in payment of all federal and state taxes, plus the further fact that the federal government did not at that time have a functioning money of its own, made these bank notes attractive for use as a circulating medium of exchange. The intended result was that the Bank's paper would be accepted as money, which for a while, it was. Furthermore, the Bank was made the official depository for all federal funds and it almost immediately loaned $1.2 million to the government, much of which was created out of nothing for that purpose. So, in spite of the limitations placed upon the Bank, and in spite of the fact that it was essentially a private institution, it was intended to be and, in fact, did function as a central bank.

The Bank of North America was fraudulent from the very start. The charter required that private investors provide $400,000 for the initial subscription. When Morris was unable to raise that money, he used his political influence to make up the shortfall out of government funds. In a maneuver that was nothing less than legalized embezzlement, he took the gold that had been loaned to the United States from France and had it deposited in the Bank. Then, using this as a fractional-reserve base, he simply created the money that was needed for the subscription and loaned it to himself and his associates. Such is the power of the secret science.

It is hard to reconcile the fact that the same men who adopted the brilliant monetary restraints of the Constitution a few years later would have allowed the Bank of North America to exist. It must be remembered, however, that the war was still in progress

1. See Murray N- Rothbard, Conceived in Liberty: The Revolutionary War, 1775-1784 (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1979), Vol. IV, p. 392.

Ivtfhen the charter was issued, and even the wisest of statesmen are often obliged to follow expediency in such times. One also must conclude that, while the founding fathers were wise on the nature of fiat money created by the government's printing press, they had not yet had extensive experience with the same mechanism hidden behind the obscurities of fractional-reserve banking.

In any event, the Bank was not to have its charter renewed by Congress and it did not survive beyond the end of the war. Murray Rothbard details its demise:

Despite the monopoly privileges conferred upon the Bank of North America and its nominal redeemability in specie, the market's lack of confidence in the inflated notes led to their depreciation outside the Bank's home base in Philadelphia. The Bank even tried to bolster the value of its notes by hiring people to urge redeemers of its notes not to insist on specie—a move scarcely calculated to improve the long-run confidence in the Bank.

After a year of operation, Morris's political power slipped, and he moved quickly to shift the Bank of North America from a central bank to a purely commercial bank chartered by the state of Pennsylvania. By the end of 1783,… the first experiment with a central bank in the United States had ended.

A fitting epilogue to this story was written two hundred years later when, in 1980, the First Pennsylvania Bank of Philadelphia, the "oldest bank in the nation/ 7 was bailed out by the FDIC


It will be recalled that, after the Bank of North America was tenninated and after the Constitutional Convention "closed the door on paper money/' the United States enjoyed a period of unparalleled economic growth and prosperity. But, while the door may have been closed, the window was still open. Congress was denied the power to print money, but it was not denied the power to borrow it.

In the vocabulary of the common man, to borrow is to accept a loan of something that already exists. He is confused, therefore, when the banker issues money out of nothing and then says he is lending it. He appears to be lending but, in reality, he is creating.

Then, as now, the mysteries of banking vocabulary were not revealed to the average man, and it was difficult to understand

1- Rothbard, Mystery, pp. 194-95.

how privately-issued bank notes could serve precisely the same purpose as printing-press money—with precisely the same disastrous results. That being the case, the monetary and political scientists decided to end run the Constitution. Their plan was to establish a bank, to give that bank the power to create money, to lend most of that money to the government, and then to make sure the IOUs are accepted as money by the public. Congress, therefore, would not be emitting bills of credit. The bank would do that. Thus, the First Bank of the United States was conceived. The proposal was submitted to Congress in 1790 by Alexander Hamilton who, at that time, was Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton, incidentally, was a former aide to Robert Morris, founder of the Bank of North America, so in that sense his role in this matter is not surprising. What is surprising is the fact that Hamilton had been a staunch supporter of a sound currency during the Constitutional Convention. This is hard to reconcile, and one must suspect that, even the most well intentioned of men can become corrupted by the temptations of wealth and power. It is possible that Hamilton, Morris, and other Federalist leaders had hoped to keep the government out of the money-making business, not because it was the constitutional thing to do, but because that would leave the field clear for a central-bank mechanism which, because it was further from public view and political control, could become their own private engine of profit. It would appear that the only other explanation is that these men were fickle in their views and did not really understand the implications of their acts. In view of their brilliance in all other matters, however, it is difficult to muster enthusiasm for that interpretation.


Hamilton's proposal was strongly opposed by Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, and this was the beginning of a heated political debate that would preoccupy Congress for many decades to come. In fact, it was one of the central issues that led to the creation of our first political parties. The Federalists gathered around the ideas of Hamilton. The anti-Federalists, later called the Republicans, were attracted to the ideas of Jefferson. 1

1. Curiously, the present Democratic Party traces its origin to Jefferson's Republi-

Jefferson pointed out that the Constitution did not grant to Congress the power to create a bank or anything similar. That means such power is reserved to the states or to the people. In a rebuttal to Hamilton's proposal, he said: "To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition." Furthermore, he said, even if the Constitution had granted such power, it would be an extremely unwise thing to do, because allowing banks to create money could only lead to national ruin.

Hamilton, on the other hand, argued that debt was a good thing, if kept within reason, and that the nation needed more money in circulation to keep up with expanding commerce. Only the Bank, he said, would be able to provide that. Furthermore, while it is true the Constitution did not specifically grant the power to create such a bank, it was, nevertheless, an implied power, because it was needed to accomplish other functions which were granted in the Constitution.

That was the end run.

Nothing could be more polarized than the opposing ideas of these two men:

JEFFERSON: "A private central bank issuing the public currency is a greater menace to the liberties of the people than a standing army." "We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt"

HAMILTON: "No society could succeed which did not unite the interest and credit of rich individuals with those of the state." "A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing."


After a year of intense debate, Hamilton's views prevailed and, in 1791, Congress granted a twenty-year charter to the Bank of the

: I- "Opinion of Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State/' February 15,1791, quoted by Krooss, pp. 147-48.

2. The comparison between private banks and standing armies can be found in many of Jefferson's letters and public utterances. For example, see The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (New York: G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1899), Vol. X, p. 31. ©. The Basic Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Willey Book Company, 1944), p. 749. |k Quoted by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Jackson (New York: Mentor Books, 1945), pp. 6-7.

5. Written on April 30, 1781, to his mentor, Robert Morris. Quoted by John H. Makin, The Global Debt Crisis: America's Growing Involvement (New York: Basic Books, 1984), p. 246.

United States. It was modelled closely after the Bank of England, which means it was almost an exact replica of the previous Bank of North America. In fact, as evidence of continuity with the past, the president of the new bank was Thomas Willing, the same man who had been a partner of Robert Morris and president of the old bank.

As before, the new Bank was given a monopoly in the issuance of bank notes. Once again, these notes were not forced on the people as legal tender for private debts and contracts, but they were legal tender at face value for all debts to the government in the form of taxes and duties, which made them attractive for use as common money. And once again, the Bank was made the official depository of all federal funds.

The charter specified that the Bank was required at all times to redeem its notes in gold or silver specie upon demand by the depositor. That was an admirable provision but, since the Bank was not also required to keep specie in its vaults in the full amount of its note obligations, it was a mathematical impossibility to uphold.

As with the old Bank of North America, the new Bank of the United States was to have eighty per cent of its capital provided by private investors with the federal government putting up only twenty per cent. That was a mere bookkeeping sleight-of-hand, however, because it had been prearranged for the Bank to immediately loan back to the federal government exactly that same amount. Reminiscent of the Morris scheme in capitalizing the Bank of North America, this federal ''investment" was essentially a means whereby federal funds could be used to make up the short-fall of the private investors. "Call it by what name you please/' said Jefferson, this was not a loan or an investment but an outright gift. And he was certainly right. The Bank was able to open its doors with less than nine per cent of the private capital required by its charter. The total capitalization was specified at $10 million, which means that $8 million was to come from private stockholders. However, as John Kenneth Galbraith wryly observed: "Numerous thrifty participants confined themselves to a modest down payment, and the bank began operations on around $675,000 in hard cash/' 2

1. It is interesting to note that, as a member of the Continental Congress, Willing had been one of those who voted against the Declaration of Independence-

2. Galbraith, p. 72


THE CREATURE COMES FROM EUROPE Who were these private investors? Their names do not appear in the published literature, but we can be certain they included the Congressmen and Senators—and their associates—who engineered the charter. But there is an interesting line in Galbraith's text that hints at another dimension to the composition of this group. On page 72 of Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went, he states matter-of-factly: "Foreigners could own shares but not vote them/ 7 What a story is hidden behind that innocuous statement. The blunt reality is that the Rothschild banking dynasty in Europe was the dominant force, both financially and politically, in the formation of the Bank of the United States. Biographer, Derek Wilson, explains:

Over the years since NJM [Rothschild], the Manchester textile manufacturer, had bought cotton from the Southern states, Rothschilds had developed heavy American commitments. Nathan … had made loans to various states of the Union, had been, for a time, the official European banker for the US government and was a pledged supporter of the Bank of the United States.

Gustavus Myers, in his History of the Great American Fortunes, is more pointed. He says:

Under the surface, the Rothschilds long had a powerful influence in dictating American financial laws. The law records show that they were the power in the old Bank of the United States.

The Rothschilds, therefore, were not merely investors nor just an important power. They were the power behind the Bank of the United States! The significance of the Rothschild power in American finance and politics was the subject of extensive comment in a previous section, so there is no need to cover that ground again. It is important here, however, to at least make a mental note of the fact that the Creature from Jekyll Island is descended from a species that is not native to this land.


iFrom the beginning, the primary purpose of the Bank was to create money for the federal government. Money for the private 1. Derek Wilson, p. 178. 2. Gustavus Myers, History of the Great American Fortunes (New York: Random House, 1936), p. 556.

sector was strictly secondary. That was made clear by the fact that the maximum rate of interest it was allowed to charge was six per cent That made it impractical to make loans to anyone except the federal government and a few large, prime-rate borrowers. And the government wasted no time putting its new central-bank mechanism to work. Having "invested" $2 million at the start, it converted that into $8.2 million borrowed within the next five years. Which means that $6.2 million was created specifically for its use.

Anyone familiar with the history of money as outlined in the previous section could easily write the following paragraph.

The creation of millions of new fractional-reserve dollars, which the government pushed into the economy through spending programs, caused an imbalance between the supply of money and the supply of goods and services. Prices appeared to go up as the relative value of the dollar went down. In that same five-year period, wholesale prices rose by 72%, which is another way of saying that 42% of everything people had saved in the form of money was quietly confiscated by the government through the hidden tax called inflation.

The same inflation effect that previously had plagued the colonies now returned to plague the new generation. This time, instead of being caused by printing-press money, it was fractional-reserve money. The cog that linked the two mechanisms together and caused them to function as one was federal debt. It was federal debt that allowed the political and monetary scientists to violate the intent of the founding fathers, and it was this same federal debt that prompted Jefferson to exclaim:

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.

Like so many things in the real world, the Bank of the United States was a mixture of evil with some good. It certainly was not all bad. In colonial times, the state governments printed as much paper money as they pleased, and the loss of purchasing power was, in many cases, total. The Bank, on the other hand, was

1. Letter to John Taylor, November 26, 1789. Quoted by Martin A. Larson, The Continuing Tax Rebellion (Old Greenwich, Connecticut: Devin-Adair, 1979), p. xii.


required to maintain some gold and specie as a base for its pyramid of money. Even though it was an inverted pyramid with reserves being smaller than the quantity of bank notes, it still represented a boundary to just how far the money supply could be expanded. And that was good.

Furthermore, it is apparent that the bank's directors were imbued with a certain amount of enlightened self interest in that they actually wanted to keep the creation of new money within some kind of control. They could profit from the central-bank mechanism only so long as the economy as a whole was productive enough to support it. They did not want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. So, like their counterparts in the Federal Reserve System of our modern day, they spoke the language of restraint and, in a few instances, even acted with restraint as well.


For example, it was during this period that "wildcat banks'' began to flourish. They were given that name not because they were untamed—although that would have been another good reason to do so—but because they were located in areas so remote in the frontier that it was said their only customers were wildcats.

Wildcat banks were not noted for meticulous accounting or business practices. Like all banks at that time, they were required to keep a certain portion of their deposits on hand in the form of gold or silver coin. To engender public confidence in their faithfulness to that obligation, it was common practice to keep the vault door open so a keg or two of gold coins could be viewed during business hours—not altogether different from the modern practice of financial institutions advertising how many billions in assets they hold but never mentioning the size of their liabilities. The wildcatters, however, were not reluctant to sprinkle a few precious-metal coins over the top of nails and let that take care of public relations. In some cases, as state examiners went from bank to bank to check the reserves, the gold would arrive only a few minutes ahead of them, having been rushed from the vault of the bank previously audited.

The point is that the Bank of the United States was able to place considerable restraint upon the practices of all banks, both wildcat and urban. It did this simply by refusing to accept the notes of any other bank unless it had a reputation for redeeming those notes in specie on demand. The public reacted accordingly. If the notes


were not good enough for the Bank of the United States, they were not good enough for them either. This served as an indirect force of moderation that affected all banks of that time. And that too, was good.

Some historians have said that the Bank was a positive force in yet another way. Galbraith, for example, writes admiringly:

On occasion, the Bank of the United States came to the assistance of good state banks that were being besieged by their note holders or other creditors. So, besides enforcing restraint, it served also as the lender of last resort. Thus in its short span of life it went far to perceive and develop the basic regulatory functions of a central bank.

One who is less enamored with the idea of a central bank would be tempted to ask: If those state banks were so "good/' why did they need assistance in keeping faith with their depositors? The whole idea of a "lender of last resort/ 7 which is accepted as sacred dogma today, is based on the assumption that it is perfectly acceptable for the entire banking system to be fraudulent. It is assumed that any single bank or cluster of banks could at any time become "besieged by their note holders or other creditors." Therefore, it is prudent to have a central bank to take what meager reserves there are within the system and rush them from bank to bank, if not minutes before the examiner arrives, at least before the customers do.

As for the much talked about restraint exercised over other banks, it is not unreasonable to think that this same effect would have developed even without the presence of a government bank. If the free market had been left to operate, it is certain that, before long, one or more banks would gain a deserved reputation for honesty and full faith with their depositors. They would become the most popular banks and, therefore, the most prosperous. In order to accomplish this, however, they would have to reject the worthless notes of other banks. The public would react as expected, and even the most unscrupulous banks would have to toe the line if they wanted to survive. Moderation would be forced on the entire banking system as a result of open competition within a free market. To assume that only a federally-chartered central bank could have brought moderation into the monetary system is to

1. Galbraith, p. 73.


believe that only politicians, bureaucrats, and agencies of government can act with integrity, a shaky notion at best. AN INSTRUMENT OF PLUTOCRACY In any event, there is no denying the fact that the Bank of the United States did provide some braking force to the runaway tendencies of many of the nation's private banks. So it could have been worse. The inflation that it caused by its own activities could have been enlarged even further by the activities of the other banks as well. But, that it could have been worse does not make it good. As it was, the Bank was the means by which the American people lost forty-two per cent of the value of all the money they earned or possessed during just those five years. We must not forget, either, that this confiscation of property was selective. It did not work against the wealthy classes which were able to ride the wave of inflation aboard the raft of tangible property which they owned. And it especially did not work against those elite few, the political and monetary scientists, who were making huge profits from the enterprise. The Bank had done precisely what Hamilton had advocated: .".. unite the interest and credit of rich individuals with those of the state."

The development of this plutocracy was well described by Governeur Morris, the former delegate from New York who had helped to draft the Constitution into its final form. He had been an assistant to Robert Morris (not related) and was a champion of the concept of a natural aristocracy. So he knew his subject well when he warned:

The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest. They always did. They always will…. They will have the same effect here as elsewhere, if we do not, by such a government, keep them within their proper spheres. We should remember that the people never act from reason alone. The rich will take advantage of their passions, and make these the instruments for oppressing them. The result of the contest will be a violent aristocracy, or a more violent despotism.

The tide of political pressure against the Bank was steadily rising during these years. It is tempting for critics of the central-bank mechanism to attribute that to the awakening common sense

1. Written on July 2, 1787, in a letter to James Madison. Quoted in "Prosperity Economics/' by W. Cleon Skousen, Freeman Digest, February, 1985, p. 9.

of the American public. Unfortunately, the picture is not that pleasing. It is true that the Jeffersonian Republicans were eloquently holding forth against the Creature's progenitor, and their influence was substantial. But there was another group that joined with them which had almost exactly opposite ideas and goals. The Jeffersonians opposed the Bank because they believed it was unconstitutional and because they wanted a monetary system based only upon gold and silver coin. The other group was made up of the wildcatters, the land speculators, and the empire-building industrialists. They opposed the Bank because they wanted a monetary system with no restraints at all, not even those associated with fractional reserve. They wanted every local bank to be free to create as much paper money as the public would swallow^ because they would then use that money for their own projects and profit. Indeed, politics does produce strange bedfellows.

As the time approached for renewal of the Bank's charter, the battle lines inched toward each other. They were of equal force. The halls of Congress echoed with the cannon roar of angry debate. The vote was deadlocked. Another attack and counter attack. Again a deadlock. Into the night the forces clashed.

When the smoke of battle lifted, the bill for charter renewal had been defeated by one vote in the House and one vote, cast by Vice-President George Clinton to break the tie, in the Senate. And so, on January 24, 1811, the Bank of the United States closed its doors.

The battle may have been decided, but the war was far from over. The losers, bitter with defeat, merely regrouped their forces and began to prepare for the next encounter. Unfortunately, the events that followed were ideally suited for their plans.

With the moderating effect of the Bank now removed from the scene, the nation's banking system passed wholly into the hands of the state-chartered corporations, many of which were imbued with the wildcat mentality. Their numbers grew rapidly, and so did the money supply which they created. Inflation followed in their footsteps. Public dissatisfaction began to rise.

If the free market had been allowed to operate, it is likely that competition soon would have weeded out the wildcatters and restored balance to the system, but it was never given a chance. The War of 1812 saw to that


I THE WAR OF 1812 The War of 1812 was one of the most senseless wars in history. The primary cause, we are told, was the British impressment into their navy of American sailors on the high seas to assist in the war against Napoleonic France. But the French had done exactly the same thing to assist in the war against England, yet their acts were ignored. Furthermore, the British had already rescinded their policy regarding American seamen before the war was underway, which means that the cause of the war had been removed, and peace could have been restored in honor if Congress had so wanted. One must conclude that the pro-banking interests in the United States actually wanted the conflict because of the profits that could be realized from it. As evidence of this is the fact that the New England states, which were home to the seamen who had been impressed into service, were firmly against the war, while the Western and inland Southern states, which were home to the myriad of wildcat banks, howled loudly for a clash of arms.

In any event, the war was unpopular with the average citizen, and it was out of the question for Congress to obtain funding for armaments through an increase in taxes. So the government needed the state banks to create that money outside the tax structure and came to their rescue to protect them from the discipline of the free market. It was a classic case of the unholy alliance, the cabal, that always develops between political and monetary scientists. Professor Rothbard gives the details:

The U.S. government encouraged an enormous expansion in the number of banks and in bank notes and deposits to purchase the growing war debt. These new and recklessly inflationary banks in the Middle Atlantic, Southern, and Western states, printed enormous quantities of new notes to purchase government bonds. The federal government then used these notes to purchase arms and manufactured goods in New England….

By August 1814, it became clear that the banks of the nation apart from New England could not pay [in specie], that they were insolvent. Rather than allow the banks of the nation to fail, the governments, state and federal, decided in August 1814 to allow the banks to continue in business while refusing to redeem their obligations in specie. In other words, the banks were allowed to refuse to pay their solemn contractual obligations….

This general suspension was not only highly inflationary at the time; it set a precedent for all financial crises from then on. Whether

the U.S. had a central bank or not, the banks were assured that if they inflated together and then got in trouble, government would bail them out 1

The state banks had created enough instant money for the federal government to raise the debt from $45 million to $127 million, a staggering sum for the fledgling nation. Tripling the money supply, with no appreciable increase in goods, means the value of the dollar shrank to about one-third its former purchasing power. By 1814, when the depositors began to awake to the scam and demanded their gold instead of paper, the banks closed their doors and had to hire extra guards to protect officials and employees from the angry crowds. Once again, the monetary and political scientists had succeeded in fleecing the American public of approximately 66% of all the money they held during that period, and that was on top of the 42% fleecing they got a few years earlier by the Bank of the United States.


Leaning against the storm of paper money all this time was Thomas Jefferson, by now, past-President of the United States. Trying to bring the nation to its senses, he never ceased speaking out against the evil of dishonest money and debt:

Although all the nations of Europe have tried and trodden every path of force and folly in a fruitless quest of the same object, yet we still expect to find in juggling tricks and banking dreams, that money can be made out of nothing, and in sufficient quantity to meet the expense of heavy war. …

The toleration of banks of paper discount costs the United States one-half of their war taxes; or, in other words, doubles the expenses of every war. …

The crisis, then, of the abuses of banking is arrived. The banks have pronounced their own sentence of death. Between two and three hundred millions of dollars of their promissory notes are in the hands of the people, for solid produce and property sold, and they [the banks] formally declare that they will not pay them…. Paper was received on a belief that it was cash [gold], and such scenes are now to take place as will open the eyes of credulity and of insanity itself to the

1. Rothbard, Mystery, pp. 198-99.

2. Writings, Library Edition, Vol. XIV, p. 227.

3. Writings, Library Edition, Vol. XIII, p. 364.


dangers of a paper medium abandoned to the discretion of avarice and of swindlers. …

It is a wise rule never to borrow a dollar without laying a tax at the same instant for paying the interest annually and the principal within a given term. 2 … We shall consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves. … The earth belongs to the living, not the dead…. We may consider each generation as a distinct nation with a right to … bind themselves, but not the succeeding generation. …

The modern theory of the perpetuation of debt has drenched the earth with blood, and crushed its inhabitants under burdens ever accumulating.

And still, Congress did not listen.


America had its first central bank even before the Constitution was drafted. It was called the Bank of North America and was chartered by the Continental Congress in 1781. Modeled after the Bank of England, it was authorized to issue more paper promissory notes than it held in deposits. In the beginning, these notes were widely circulated and served as a national currency. Although the bank was essentially a private institution, it was designed for the purpose of creating money to lend to the federal government, which it did from the start.

The Bank of North America was riddled with fraud, and it quickly fell into political disfavor. Its inflated bank notes eventually were rejected by ordinary citizens and ceased to circulate outside of the Bank's home city of Philadelphia. Its charter was allowed to expire and, in 1783, it was converted into a purely commercial bank chartered by the state of Pennsylvania.

The advocates of fiat money did not give up. In 1791, the First Bank of the United States (America's second central bank) was created by Congress. The new bank was a replica of the first, including fraud. Private investors in the Bank were among the nation's most wealthy and influential citizens, including some Congressmen and Senators. But the largest investment and the

I Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, Sept. 10,1814, Writings, Library Edition, Vol. XIV, pp. 187-89.

2. Writings, Library Edition, Vol. XIII, p. 269.

3. Ibid, p. 358.

4. Ibid., p. 270.

5. Ibid., p. 272.

most powerful influence in the new Bank came from the Rothschilds in Europe.

The Bank set about immediately to serve its function of creating money for the government. This led to a massive inflation of the money supply and rising prices. In the first five years, 42% of everything people had saved in the form of money was confiscated through the hidden tax called inflation. This was the same phenomenon that had plagued the colonies less than two decades earlier, but instead of being caused by printing-press money, it was now fueled by fractional-reserve bank notes created by a central bank.

As the time for renewal of the Bank's charter approached, two groups with opposite intentions became strange political allies against it: the Jeffersonians who wanted sound money; and the frontier banks, called wildcatters, who wanted unlimited license to steal. On January 24, 1811, the charter was defeated by one vote in the Senate and one in the House. The central bank was gone, but the wildcatters were everywhere.

The War of 1812 was not popular among the American public, and funding would have been impossible through taxes alone. The government chose to fund the war by encouraging wildcat banks to purchase its war-debt bonds and convert them into bank notes which the government then used to purchase war material. Within two years, the nation's money supply had tripled, and so had prices. Once again, the monetary and political scientists had succeeded in fleecing the American public of approximately 66% of all the money they held during that period. And that was on top of the 42% fleecing they got a few years earlier by the Bank of the United States.

Chapter Seventeen


The story of the Second Bank of the United States, the nation's third central bank; the election of Andrew Jackson on an anti-bank -platform; the battle between President Jackson and the head of the bank, Nicholas Biddle; the deliberate creation of a depression to frighten the public into keeping the bank; Jackson's ultimate victory.

The monetary chaos that existed at the end of the War of 1812, outlined in the previous chapter, was caused by an almost universal fraud within the banking industry. Depositors in good faith placed their gold and silver into banks for safekeeping and for the convenience of using paper money in their everyday transactions. The banks, in turn, promised them they could exchange the paper for their coins whenever they wished. At the same time, however, through the mechanism of fractional-reserve banking, paper money was created far in excess of the value of the coins held in reserve. Since the new money had just as much claim to the coins as the old, the bankers knew that, if a sizable percentage of their customers were to request a withdrawal of their coins, that solemn promise simply could not be kept. This, in fact, is precisely what happened over and over again during that period.

By 1814, Thomas Jefferson had retired to Monticello and had bitterly resigned himself to defeat on the issue of money. In a letter to John Adams he said:

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 them? For these are to ruin both 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. 1

Jefferson was right. Congress had neither the wisdom nor the courage to let the free market clean up the mess that remained after the demise of the first bank of the U.S. If it had, the fraud soon would have become understood by the public, the dishonest banks would have folded, the losses would have been taken, and the suffering would have been ended, perhaps forever. Instead, Congress moved to protect the banks, to organize the fraud, and to perpetuate the losses. All of this was accomplished in 1816 when a twenty-year charter was given to the Second Bank of the United States.


In every respect the new bank was a carbon copy of the old, with one minor exception. Congress unashamedly extracted from the private investors what amounted to nothing less than a bribe in the form of $1.5 million "in consideration of the exclusive privileges and benefits conferred by this Act." 2 The bankers were glad to pay the fee, not only because it was a modest price for such a profitable enterprise, but also because, as before, they received an immediate government deposit of one-fifth the total capitalization which then was used as the base for manufacturing much of the remaining startup capital. The charter required the Bank to raise a minimum of $7 million in specie, but even in its second year of operation, its specie never rose above $2.5 million. 3 Once again, the monetary and political scientists had carved out their profitable niches, and the gullible taxpayer, his head filled with sweet visions of "banking reform," was left to pick up the tab.

Another important continuity between the old and the new Bank was the concentration of foreign investment. In fact, the largest single block of stock in the new Bank, about one-third in all, was held by this group. It is certainly no exaggeration to say that

I u L T e \L^Fr P ^ ed 7 The Adams -fflerson Letters (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971), Vol. II, p. 424.

2. Act of 1816, Section 20,3 Stat, at 191.

3. Rothbard, Mystery, p. 203.

4. Krooss, p. 25.

the Second Bank of the United States was rooted as deeply in pritain as it was in America.

The nation's third central bank ran into deep trouble from the start. It had promised to continue the tradition of moderating the other banks by refusing to accept any of their notes unless they were redeemable in specie on demand. But when the other banks returned the gesture and required that the new Bank also pay out specie on their demand, it frequently lost its resolve. There was also the tiny matter of corruption. As the Bank's major historian writes: "So many influential people were interested [in the state banks] as stockholders that it was not advisable to give offense by demanding payment in specie, and borrowers were anxious to keep the banks in the humor to lend."

In economics, every policy carries a consequence, and the consequence of the loose monetary policy of the Second Bank of the United States was that America was introduced to her first experience with what now is called the "boom-bust" cycle. Galbraith tells us: "In 1816, the postwar boom was full on; there was especially active speculation in western lands. The new Bank joyously participated.

The Bank had the advantage over its competitors of a federal charter plus the government's agreement to accept its notes in the payment of taxes. But the state banks were by no means left out of the game. It was still within their power to create money through fractional-reserve banking and, thus, to further inflate the amount of the nation's circulating currency. Anxious to get in on this action, Pennsylvania chartered thirty-seven new banks in 1817. That same year, Kentucky followed suit with forty new charters. The total number of banks grew by 46% in just the first two years after the central bank was created. Any spot along the road that had "a church, a tavern, or a blacksmith shop was deemed a suitable place for setting up a bank." In that same time frame, the money supply was expanded by an additional $27.4 million; another taxpayer fleecing of over forty per cent

1 Ralph C.H. Catterall, The Second Bankofthe United States (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1902), p. 36.

2. Galbraith, p. 77.

3. Norman Angell, The Story of Money (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1929), 1279.



In the past, the effect of this inflationary process always had been the gradual evaporation of purchasing power and the continuous transfer of property from those who produced it to those who controlled the government and ran the banks. This time, however, the process took on a new twist Gradualism was replaced by catastrophism. The monetary scientists, with their hands firmly on the controls of the money machine, now began to throw the levers, first one way, and then the other. The expansion and then deliberate contraction of the money supply literally threw the nation into economic convulsions. Why wait for the apples to fall when the harvest can be hastened simply by shaking the tree?

In 1818, the Bank suddenly began to tighten its requirements for new loans and to call in as many of the old loans as possible. This contraction of the money supply was justified to the public then exactly as it is justified today. It was necessary, they said, to put the brakes on inflation. The fact that this was the same inflation the Bank had helped to create in the first place, seems to have gone unnoticed.

There is no doubt that many bankers and politicians act in good faith in their attempt to bring under control the inflation they themselves have caused. Not everyone who benefits from the central-bank mechanism fully understands it. Like Frankenstein, they create a monster without realizing they cannot control it. Their crime is one of stupidity, not malice. But stupidity is not a characteristic of the average banker, especially a central banker, and we must conclude that many of the monetary scientists are well aware of the monster's power for destruction. At best, they just don't care as long as they are safe. And at worst, they perceive that they are in the apple-harvesting business. They deliberately tease and prod the monster in anticipation of his rampage through the village orchards. In the final analysis, of course, it is of little importance whether the shaking of the trees is out of innocence or malice. The end result is the same. My, how the apples do fall.

The country's first experience with a deliberately created monetary contraction began in 1818 when the Bank became concerned about its own ability to survive. Professor Rothbard says:

Starting in July 1818, the government and the BUS [Bank of the United States] began to see what dire straits they were in; the

enormous inflation of money and credit, aggravated by the massive fraud, had put the BUS in danger of going under and illegally failing to maintain specie payments. Over the next year, the BUS began a series of enormous contractions, forced curtailment of loans, contractions of credit in the south and west…. The contraction of money and credit swiftly brought to the United States its first widespread economic and financial depression. The first nationwide "boom-bust" cycle had arrived in the United States….

The result of this contraction was a rash of defaults, bankruptcies of business and manufacturers, and a liquidation of unsound investments during the boom.


It is widely believed that panics, boom-bust cycles, and depressions are caused by unbridled competition between banks; thus the need for government regulation. The truth is just the opposite. These disruptions in the free market are the result of government prevention of competition by the granting of monopolistic power to a central bank. In the absence of a monopoly, individual banks may operate in a fraudulent manner only to a limited extent and for a short period of time. Inevitably, they will be exposed by their more honest competitors and will be forced out of business. Yes, their depositors will be injured by the bankruptcy, but the damage will be limited to a relatively few and will occur only now and then. Even geographical regions may be hard hit on occasion, but it will not be a national tragedy with everyone brought to their knees. The overall economy will absorb the losses, and commerce at large will continue to prosper. Within an environment of prosperity, even those who have been injured by fraudulent banking would have a good chance for rapid recovery. But, when a central bank is allowed to protect the fraudulent operators and to force all banks to function the same, the forces of competition can no longer dampen the effect The expansion becomes universal and gigantic. And, of course, so does the contraction. Except for the bankers and the politicians, everyone is injured at the same time; depression is everywhere; and recovery is long delayed.

This is exactly what happened in the so-called panic of 1819. In the Documentary History of Banking and Currency, Herman Krooss writes:


1. Rothbard, Mystery, pp. 204-05. Also see Galbraith, p. 77.

The Bank, as the largest creditor [to the state banks], had two alternatives: it could write off its debts which of course would wipe out the stockholders' equity and result in bankruptcy, or it could force the state banks to meet their obligations which would mean wholesale bankruptcy among state banks. There was no doubt about the choice…. The pressure placed upon state banks deflated the economy drastically, and as the money supply wilted, the country sank into severe depression.

As historian William Gouge observed: "The Bank was saved, and the people were ruined/'

Competition between the national Bank and the state banks during this period had been moved from the open field of the free market to the closed arena of politics. Free-market competition had been replaced by government favoritism in the form of charters which granted the right of monopoly. A federal charter was clearly better than one issued by a state, but the states fought back fiercely with what weapons they possessed, and one of those was the power to tax. Several states began to levy a tax on the paper notes issued by any bank doing business within their borders which was not also locally chartered. The intent, although pretended to be the raising of state revenue, was really to put the federal Bank out of business.


When the Bank refused to pay such a tax to the state of Maryland, the issue was taken to the Supreme Court in 1819 as the celebrated case of McCulloch v. Maryland. The Chief Justice at that time was John Marshall, a leading Federalist and advocate of a strong, centralized federal government. As was expected, the Marshall Court carefully tailored its decision to support the federal government's central bank.

The narrow issue upon which the constitutionality of the Bank was decided was not whether Congress had the power to directly or indirectly emit bills of credit or otherwise convert debt into money. If that had been the issue, the Court would have been hard pressed to uphold the Bank, for that not only is expressly prohibited by the Constitution, it is precisely what the Bank had been doing all along, and everyone knew it. Instead, the Court focused upon the narrow question of whether or not the Bank was a "necessary and proper" means for Congress to execute any other constitutional powers it might have. From that perspective, it was unanimously held that the Bank was, indeed, constitutional.

1. Krooss, pp. 190-91.

2. William M. Gouge, A Short History of Paper Money and Banking in the United States (New York: Augustus M. Kelly, 1968), p. 110.

Were the Bank's paper notes the same as Bills of Credit? No, because they were backed by the credit of the Bank, not the federal government. True, the Bank created money, and most of it was used by the government Never mind all that. The Treasury did not print it, therefore, it was not government money.

Was not the Bank the same as an agency of government? No, because merely granting it a national monopoly and enforcing that monopoly with the power of the state does not necessarily make it "state action/'

Furthermore, the states cannot tax the federal government or any of its instruments, including the Bank of the United States, because, as Marshall stated: "The power to tax is the power to destroy/'

Here was another end run around the Constitution, executed this time by the very men who were assumed to be its most loyal defenders.

The Supreme Court had spoken, but the Court of Public Opinion had not yet disposed of the case. During the 1820s, popular sentiment shifted back to the laissez-faire and sound-money principles espoused by the Jeffersonian Republicans. But since the Republican Party had by then abandoned those principles, a new coalition was formed, headed by Martin Van Buren and Andrew Jackson, to resurrect them. It was called the Democratic Party, and one of its agenda items was to abolish the Bank of the United States. After Jackson was elected to the Presidency in 1828, he wasted no time in attempting to build Congressional support for that goal.


By this time, the Bank had come under the direction of Nicholas Biddle who was a formidable adversary to Jackson, not only because of the power of his position, but because of his strong will and sense of personal destiny. He was the archetype of the new Eastern Establishment: wealthy, arrogant, ruthless, and brilliant. He had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania at the age


of only thirteen, and, as a young man entering business, had fully mastered the secret science of money.

With the ability to control the flow of the nation's credit, Biddle soon became one of the most powerful men in America. This was brought out dramatically when he was asked by a Senate Committee if his bank ever took advantage of its superior position over the state banks. He replied: "Never. There are very few banks which might not have been destroyed by an exertion of the powers of the Bank. None has ever been injured." As Jackson publicly noted a few months later, this was an admission that most of the state banks existed only at the pleasure of the Bank of the United States, and that, of course, meant at the pleasure of Mr. Biddle.

The year was 1832. The Bank's charter was good for another four years. But Biddle decided not to wait that long for Jackson to build his forces. He knew that the President was up for reelection, and he reasoned that, as a candidate, he would hesitate to be too controversial. To criticize the Bank is one thing, but to come down squarely for its elimination altogether would surely cost him many votes. So, Biddle requested Congress to grant an early renewal of the charter as a means of softening Jackson's campaign against it. The bill was backed by the Republicans led by Senator John Clay and was passed into law on July 3, just before the election campaigns began in earnest.


It was brilliant strategy on Biddle's part but it didn't work. Jackson decided to place his entire political career on the line for this one issue and, with perhaps the most passionate message ever delivered to Congress by any President, before or since, he vetoed the measure. The President's biographer, Robert Remini, says: "The veto message hit the nation like a tornado. For it not only cited constitutional arguments against recharter—supposedly the only reason for resorting to a veto—but political, social, economic, and nationalistic reasons as well."

Jackson devoted most of his veto message to three general topics: (1) the injustice that is inherent in granting a government-

1. J.D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1908 (Washington: Bureau of National Literature and Art, 1908), Vol. II, p. 581.

2. Robert V. Remini, The Life of Andrew Jackson (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), pp. 227-28.

sponsored monopoly to the Bank; (2) the unconstitutionality of the Bank even if it were not unjust; and (3) the danger to the country in having the Bank heavily dominated by foreign investors.

Regarding the injustice of a government-sponsored monopoly, he pointed out that the stock of the Bank was owned only by the richest citizens of the country and that, since the sale of stock was limited to a chosen few with political influence, the common man, not only is unfairly excluded from an opportunity to participate, but he is forced to pay for his banking services far more than they are worth. Unearned profits are bad enough when they are taken from one class of citizens and given to another, but it is even worse when the people receiving those benefits are not even citizens at all but are, in fact foreigners. Jackson said:

It is not our own citizens only who are to receive the bounty of our Government. More than eight millions of the stock of this bank are held by foreigners. By this act the American Republic proposes virtually to make them a present of some millions of dollars…. It appears that more than a fourth part of the stock is held by foreigners and the residue is held by a few hundred of our own citizens, chiefly of the richest class. For their benefit does this act exclude the whole American people from competition in the purchase of this monopoly and dispose of it for many millions less than it is worth.

Regarding the issue of constitutionality, he said that he was not bound by the previous decision of the Supreme Court, because the President and Congress had just as much right to decide for themselves whether or not a particular law is constitutional This view, incidentally, was not novel at that time. It is only in relatively recent decades that people have begun to think of the Supreme Court as being specifically authorized to pass on this question. In fact, as Jackson correctly pointed out in his veto message, the founding fathers created a government with power divided between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and that the purpose of this division was, not merely to divvy up the chores, but to balance one branch against the other. The goal was not to make government efficient but to deliberately make it inefficient. Each President and each legislator is morally bound, even by oath, to uphold the Constitution. If each of them does not have the power to


1- Krooss, pp. 22-23.


decide in conscience what is constitutional, then taking an oath to uphold it has little meaning.


Regarding the danger to our national security, Jackson returned to the fact that a major portion of the Bank's stockholders were foreigners. Even though foreign investors technically were not allowed to vote their shares, their financial power was so great that the American investors were clearly beholden to them and would likely follow their instructions. Jackson concluded:

Is there no danger to our liberty and independence in a bank that in its nature has so little to bind it to our country?… [Is there not] cause to tremble for the purity of our elections in peace and for the independence of our country in war?… Of the course which would be pursued by a bank almost wholly owned by the subjects of a foreign power, and managed by those whose interests, if not affections, would run in the same direction there can be no doubt…. Controlling our currency, receiving our public monies, and holding thousands of our citizens in dependence, it would be more formidable and dangerous than a naval and military power of the enemy.

Jackson saved the greatest passion of his argument for the end. Speaking now, not to Congress, but to the voters at large, he said:

It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth cannot be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society—the farmers, mechanics, and laborers—who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favor alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing. In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles.

The veto did not defeat the Bank. It was merely a declaration of war. The major battles were yet to come.


As Commanding General of the pro-bank forces, Biddle had one powerful advantage over his adversary. For all practical purposes, Congress was in his pocket. Or, more accurately, the product of his generosity was in the pockets of Congressmen. Following the Rothschild Formula, Biddle had been careful to reward compliant politicians with success in the business world. Few of them were willing to bite the hand that fed them. Even the great Senator, Daniel Webster, found himself kneeling at Biddle's throne. Galbraith says:

Biddle was not without resources. In keeping with his belief that banking was the ultimate source of power, he had regularly advanced funds to members of Congress when delay on appropriations bills had held up their pay. Daniel Webster was, at various times, a director of the Bank and on retainer as its counsel. "I believe my retainer has not been renewed or refreshed as usual. If it be wished that my relation to the Bank should be continued, it may be well to send me the usual retainers." Numerous other men of distinction had been accommodated, including members of the press. 1

Webster is a particularly interesting study in how even so-called "great" men can be compromised by an addiction to wealth. He had always been an advocate of sound money in Congress, yet, as a lawyer on Biddle's payroll, he represented the Bank's position before the Supreme Court in McCulloch v. Maryland. Much of the twisted logic that allowed the Court to end-run the Constitution and destroy sound money came from his pen.

After Jackson's veto of the Bank's charter, Biddle requested Webster to deliver speeches specifically for the purpose of having the Bank reprint them for mass distribution. In one of those speeches, Webster echoed the old refrain that the Bank served as a moderating influence on the nation's other banks and then piously proclaimed: "Congress can alone coin money;… no State (nor even Congress itself) can make anything a tender but gold and silver, in the payment of debts." In an act of astounding hypocrisy, this speech was distributed widely by the very institution that was

1. Krooss, pp. 26-27.

2. Ibid., pp. 36-37.

1- Galbraith, p. 80. 2. Krooss, p. 2.

designed specifically for creating fractional fiat money, without gold or silver backing, to function as tender in the payment of debts. Then, as now, most people did not discern between words and actions and believed that this speech, delivered by such a "great" man, was evidence of the Bank's worthiness. Biddle even distributed 300,000 copies of Jackson's veto message, apparently in the belief that many would not read it Obviously, if the Bank thought it was so bad as to distribute it, it must be bad.

The power of the Bank's money was everywhere. It was as John Randolph, the fiery Old Republican from Virginia, had said: "Every man you meet in this House or out of it, with some rare exceptions, which only serve to prove the rule, is either a stockholder, president, cashier, clerk or doorkeeper, runner, engraver, paper-maker, or mechanic in some other way to a bank/'


Congress, the banks, speculators, industrialists, and segments of the press; these were the forces commanded by Biddle. But [ackson had a secret weapon which had never been used before in American politics. That weapon was a direct appeal to the electorate. He took his message on the campaign trail and delivered it in words well chosen to make a lasting impression on the voter. He spoke out against a moneyed aristocracy which had invaded the halls of Congress, impaired the morals of the people, threatened their liberty, and subverted the electoral process. The Bank, he said, was a hydra-headed monster eating the flesh of the common man. He swore to do battle with the monster and slay it or be slain by it. He bellowed his position to every crowd he could reach: Bank and no Jackson, or no bank and jacksonl

On the subject of paper money, the President was equally emphatic. His biographer describes the campaign:

On his homeward journey he reportedly paid all his expenses in gold. "No more paper money, you see, fellow citizens," he remarked with each gold payment, "if I can only put down this Nicholas Biddle and his monster bank." Gold, hardly the popular medium of exchange, was held up to the people as the safe and sound currency


1. Remini, Life, p. 234.

2. Annals of Congress, 14 Cong., 1st sess., pp. T066,1110 ff.

3. Robert Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Freedom, 1822-1832 (New York: Harper & Row, 1981), p. 373.

which Jackson and his administration hoped to restore to regular use. Unlike paper money, gold represented real value and true worth. It was the corn of honest men. Rag money, on the other hand, was the instrument of banks and swindlers to corrupt and cheat an innocent and virtuous public.

Jackson had awakened the indignation of the American people. When the November ballots were cast, he received a mammoth vote of confidence. He received fifty-five per cent of the popular vote (with thirty-seven per cent for Clay, eight per cent for Wirt) and eighty per cent of the vote in the electoral college. But the war still was not over. Jackson won the election, but the Bank had four more years to operate, and it intended to use those years to sway public sentiment back to its support. The biggest battles were yet to come.


Jackson did not wait to act. He knew that time would be used as a weapon against him. "The hydra of corruption is only scotched, not dead" he said. Soon after the election, he ordered Secretary of the Treasury, William Duane, to place all new deposits of the federal government into various state banks around the country and to pay current expenses out of the funds still held by the Bank of the United States until that account was drained to zero. Without the use of federal money, surely the monster would perish. To Jackson's chagrin, however, Duane balked at the order out of a sincere conviction that, to do so, would be disruptive to the economy.

This was not the first time a Cabinet officer and a President had come to disagreement. In the past, however, the impasse had always been resolved by the resignation of the Secretary. This time was different. Duane refused to resign, and that raised an interesting constitutional question. A President could appoint a member of the executive branch only with the consent of the Senate. The Constitution was silent, however, on the matter of dismissal. Did that, too, require Senate approval? The implication was that it did, but the issue had never been tested.

Jackson had no patience for such theoretical questions. The letter arrived promptly on Duane's desk: "Your further services as

1- Remini, Life, pp. 234-35. 2. Remini, Course, p. 52.


Secretary of the Treasury are no longer required." On October 1, 1833, federal deposits began to move out of the Bank.

Jackson felt that he finally had the monster firmly within his grasp. "I have it chained/ 7 he said. With gleeful confidence, he added: "I am ready with the screws to draw every tooth and then the stumps/ 7 If I am not mistaken, he went on, we will have "Mr. Biddle and his Bank as quiet and harmless as a lamb in six weeks."


The President's view of the Bank's meek captivity was premature, to say the least. Biddle responded, not like a lamb, but more like a wounded lion. His plan was to rapidly contract the nation's money supply and create another panic-depression similar to the one the Bank had created thirteen years earlier. This then could be blamed on Jackson's withdrawal of federal deposits, and the resulting backlash surely would cause Congress to override the President's veto. Remini tells us:

Biddle counterattacked. He initiated a general curtailment of loans throughout the entire banking system…. It marked the beginning of a bone-crushing struggle between a powerful financier and a determined and equally powerful politician. Biddle understood what he was about. He knew that if he brought enough pressure and agony to the money market, only then could he force the President to restore the deposits. He almost gloated. "This worthy President thinks that because he has scalped Indians and imprisoned Judges, he is to have his way with the Bank. He is mistaken. ,/4 …

"The ties of party allegiance can only be broken/' he declared, "by the actual conviction of existing distress in the community." And such distress, of course, would eventually put everything to rights. "Nothing but widespread suffering will produce any effect on Congress…. Our only safety is in pursuing a steady course of firm restriction—and I have no doubt that such a course will ultimately lead to restoration of the currency and the recharter of the Bank. … My

1. William J. Duane, Narrative and Correspondence Concerning the Removal of the Deposits and Occurrences Connected Therewith (Philadelphia: n.p., 1838), pp. 101-03. Quoted by Remini, Life, p. 264.

2. Quoted by Herman J. Viola, Andrew Jackson (New York: Chelsea House, 1986), p. 88.

3. A letter from Jackson to Van Buren, November 19, 1833, Van Buren Papers, Library of Congress. Quoted by Remini, Life, p. 264.

4. Remini, Life, p. 265.

5. Remini, Democracy, p. 111.

own course is decided. All other banks and all the merchants may break, but the Bank of the United States shall not break."

Biddle, therefore, decided to use the American people as sacrificial pawns in the giant chess match for the Bank's survival. The resulting economic chaos is not difficult to imagine. Biddle's contraction of the money supply was executed at a particularly vulnerable moment. Business had been expanding as a result of the Bank's prior easy credit and now was dependent on it. Also, the tariff came due at precisely this time, placing still more demand for cash and credit Losses were sustained everywhere, wages and prices sagged, men were put out of work, companies went bankrupt. By the time Congress reconvened in December, in what was called the "Panic Session," the nation was in an uproar. Newspapers editorialized with alarm, and letters of angry protest flooded into Washington.

As the pressure continued to build in Congress, it began to look as though Biddle's plan would work. In the public eye, it was Jackson who was solely responsible for the nation's woes. It was his arrogant removal of Secretary Duane; it was his foolish insistence on removing the deposits; it was his obstinate opposition to Congress.


For one-hundred days, a "phalanx of orators" daily excoriated the President for his arrogant and harmful conduct. At length, a resolution of censure was introduced into the Senate and, on March 28,1834, it was passed by a vote of 26 to 20. This was the first time that a President had ever been censured by Congress, and it was a savage blow to Jackson's pride. Biddle, at last, had the upper hand.

The President rumbled around the White House in a fit of rage. "You are a den of vipers," he said to a delegation of the Bank's supporters. 'T intend to rout you out and by the Eternal God I will rout you out." 2

The censure was by no means indicative of popular sentiment. Even in the Senate, which was a hotbed of pro-Bank support, a swing of only three votes would have defeated the measure.

1 Biddle to William Appleton, January 27, 1834, and to J.G. Watmough, February 8, 1834. Nicholas Biddle, Correspondence, 1807-1844, Reginald C McGrane, ed. (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1919), pp. 219,221. 2. Quoted by Viola, p. 86.


During all this time, imperceptibly at first, but quickly growing, the public had been learning the truth. Jackson, of course, was doing everything within his power to hasten the process, but other factors also were at work, not the least of which was Biddle himself. So large was his ego that he could not keep from boasting in public about his plan to deliberately disrupt the economy. People heard these boasts and they believed him. The turning point came when Governor George Wolf of Pennsylvania, the Bank's home state, came out publicly with a strong denunciation of both the Bank and Biddle. This was like the starting bell at a horse race. With the Bank's home state turned against it, there was no one left to defend it and, literally within days, the mood of the country and of Congress changed.

The Democrats wasted no time consolidating these unexpected gains. To test their strength on the issue, on April 4, 1834, they called for a vote in the House on a series of resolutions which were aimed at nullifying the censure in the Senate. In essence, the resolutions stated that the House totally approved the President's bank policy. The first resolution, passed by a vote of 134 to 82, declared that the Bank of the United States "ought not to be rechartered." The second, passed by a vote of 118 to 103, agreed that the deposits "ought not to be restored." And the third, passed by an overwhelming vote of 175 to 42, called for the establishment of a special committee of Congress to investigate whether the Bank had deliberately instigated the current economic crisis. It was an overwhelming victory for Jackson which would be culminated a few years later with the passage of a resolution in the Senate which formally rescinded the previous vote of censure.


When the investigating committee arrived at the Bank's doors in Philadelphia armed with a subpoena to examine the books, Biddle flatly refused. Nor would he allow inspection of correspondence with Congressmen relating to their personal loans and advances. And he steadfastly refused to testify before the committee back in Washington. For lesser mortals, such action would have resulted in citations of contempt of Congress and would have carried stiff fines or imprisonment. But not for Nicholas Biddle. Remini explains:

The committeemen demanded a citation for contempt, but many southern Democrats opposed this extreme action, and refused to cooperate. As Biddle bemusedly observed, it would be ironic if he went to prison "by the votes of members of Congress because I would not give up to their enemies their confidential letters." Although Biddle escaped a contempt citation, his outrageous defiance of the House only condemned him still further in the eyes of the American public.

The Bank was still alive but had been mortally wounded. By this time, Jackson had completely paid off the national debt incurred by the War of 1812 and had even run up a surplus. In fact, he ordered the Treasury to give back to the states more than $35 million, which was used for the construction of a wide variety of public works.

With these accomplishments close on the heels of his victory over the Bank, the President had earned the undying hatred of monetary scientists, both in America and abroad. It is not surprising, therefore, that on January 30, 1835, an assassination attempt was made against him. Miraculously, both pistols of the assailant misfired, and Jackson was spared by a quirk of fate. It was the first such attempt to be made against the life of a President of the United States. The would-be assassin was Richard Lawrence who either was truly insane or who pretended to be insane to escape harsh punishment. At any rate, Lawrence was found not guilty due to insanity. Later, he boasted to friends that he had been in touch with powerful people in Europe who had promised to protect him from punishment should he be caught.

The ending to this saga holds no surprises. The Bank's charter expired in 1836 and it was restructured as a state bank by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. After a spree of speculation in cotton, lavish advances to the Bank's officers, and the suspension of payment in specie, Biddle was arrested and charged with fraud. Although not convicted, he was still undergoing civil litigation when he died. Within five years, the establishment was forced to close its doors forever, and America's third experience with central banking came to a close.

1. Remini, Life, p. 274.

2- Remini, Democracy, p. 228-29.

Robert J. Donovan, The Assassins (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1952), p. 83.


It is tempting to let the story stop right there and allow Jackson to forever wear the crown of hero and dragon slayer. But a more balanced view of these events leads to the conclusion that the forces of virtue were not without contamination. Jackson represented the position of those who wanted only gold and silver for the nation's money- But this group was not large enough to match the power of the Bank. He was joined in that battle by many groups which hated the Bank for other, less admirable reasons. State banks and business interests along the expanding frontier, for example, were not the least interested in Constitutional money. They wanted just the opposite. They viewed the modest restraints of the federal Bank as excessive. With the federal Bank out of the way, they anticipated no restraints at all. As we shall see in the following section, it is ironic that this is the group that got what it wanted, not the hard-money Jacksonians.

One cannot blame Jackson for accepting the support of these groups in his effort to slay the dragon. In politics, it often is necessary to make temporary alliances with one's opponents to achieve occasional common objectives. But Jackson went further than that. More than any other President before him, and rivalled by only a few since, he changed the character of American politics. He led the nation away from the new concept of diffused powers, carefully worked out by the founding fathers, back toward the Old-World tradition of concentration and monarchy. By strongly challenging the right of the States to secede from the Union, he set into motion a concept that, not only would lead to civil war, but which would put an end forever to the ability of the states to check the expanding power of the federal government. No longer was the Union to be based on the principle of consent of the governed. It was now to be based on force of arms. And through the manipulation of voter passion on the Bank issue, he changed the perception of the role of President from public servant to national leader.

At the height of the battle against the Bank, when Jackson was making a direct appeal to the voters for support, he declared: "The President is the direct representative of the people." To fully comprehend the significance of that statement, it must be remembered that the plan of the Constitution was for the President to be elected indirectly by the state legislatures, not by the voters at large.


After fighting a war to throw off the rule of King George, in, the founding fathers wanted nothing more to do with kings of any land, and they went out of their way to make sure that the president of the United States would never be looked upon as such. They realized that an elected ruler, unless his power is carefully limited and diffused, can become just as despotic as an unelected one. Article 2, Section 1, of the Constitution, therefore, established an electoral college to select the President.

Members of the college are to be appointed by the states. Congressmen, Senators, or other officers of the federal government are specifically and wisely excluded. The college is supposed to select a President strictly on the basis of his integrity and executive ability, not his party label, political connections, good looks, charisma, or stirring orations. The people may elect their Congressmen, but the electoral college chooses the President. Thus, it was intended that the President would have a different constituency from Congress, and this difference was important to insure the balance of power that the framers of the Constitution worked so hard to create. As a means of keeping government under control, it was a truly brilliant piece of political engineering.

All of that was changed in the election of 1832. One of the sad facts of history is that good causes often are the occasion for establishing bad precedents. Jackson's fight against the Bank of the United States was one of those events.


The government had encouraged widespread banking fraud during the War of 1812 as an expedient for paying its bills, and this had left the nation in monetary chaos. At the end of the war, instead of allowing the fraudulent banks to fall and letting the free market heal the damage, Congress decided to protect the banks, to organize the fraud, and to perpetuate the losses. It did this by creating the nation's third central bank called the Second Bank of the United States.

The new bank was almost an exact carbon copy of the previous one. It was authorized to create money for the federal government and to regulate state banks. It influenced larger amounts of capital and was better organized across state lines than the old bank. Consequently its policies had a greater impact on the creation and extinguishing of the nation's money supply. For the first time in

our history, the effects began to ricochet across the entire country at once instead of being confined to geographical regions. The age of the boom-bust cycle had at last arrived in America.

In 1820, public opinion began to swing back in favor of the sound-money principles espoused by the Jeffersonian Republicans. But since the Republican Party had by then abandoned those principles, a new coalition was formed, headed by Martin Van Buren and Andrew Jackson, called the Democrat Party. One of its primary platforms was the abolishment of the Bank. After Jackson was elected in 1828, he began in full earnest to bring that about

The head of the Bank was a formidable adversary by the name of Nicholas Biddle. Biddle, not only possessed great personal abilities, but many members of Congress were indebted to him for business favors. Consequently, the Bank had many political friends.

As Jackson's first term of office neared its end, Biddle asked Congress for an early renewal of the Bank's charter, hoping that Jackson would not risk controversy in a reelection year. The bill was easily passed, but Jackson accepted the challenge and vetoed the measure. Thus, a battle over the Bank's future became the primary presidential campaign issue.

Jackson was reelected by a large margin, and one of his first acts was to remove federal deposits from the Bank and place them into private, regional banks. Biddle counterattacked by contracting credit and calling in loans. This was calculated to shrink the money supply and trigger a national panic-depression, which it did. He publicly blamed the downturn on Jackson's removal of deposits.

The plan almost worked. Biddle's political allies succeeded in having Jackson officially censured in the Senate. However, when the truth about Biddle's strategy finally leaked out, it backfired against him. He was called before a special Congressional investigative committee to explain his actions, the censure against Jackson was rescinded, and the nation's third central bank passed into oblivion.

Chapter Eighteen


Attempts to stabilize the banking system by political measures, including regulation of fractional-reserve ratios and establishing bank-failure insurance funds; the failure of all such schemes; the resulting economic conditions that led up to the Civil War.

As detailed in the previous chapter, by 1836 the hydra-headed monster had been slain and, true to the President's campaign promise, the nation had Jackson and no Bank.

In April of that year, the Administration moved to consolidate its victory and pushed a series of monetary reforms through Congress. One of these required all banks to cease issuing paper notes under five dollars. The figure later was increased to twenty dollars, and its purpose was to compel the nation to return to the use of gold and silver coin for everyday use, leaving bank notes primarily for large commercial transactions. The White House also announced that, in the future, all federal land sales would require full payment in "lawful money," which, of course, meant precious-metal coins.

It must be remembered, however, that even though the Bank of the United States was dead, banking was very much alive, and so were Jackson's enemies. Much to the disappointment of the hard-money advocates, these measures were not sufficient to usher in the millennium. Not only were they inadequate by themselves, they were soon circumvented by the development of new banking techniques and eventually were dismantled completely by a fickle Congress.

I Otto Scott, The Secret Six: The Fool as Martyr, Vol. Ill of The Sacred Fool Quartet (Columbia, South Carolina: Foundation for American Education, 1979), p. 115.


The prohibition against bank notes of small denomination deserves special notice. It was an excellent concept, but what the legislators failed to understand, or at least pretended not to understand, was that banks at this time were increasingly dealing with checkbook money, technically called demand deposits. As people gradually became accustomed to this new method of transferring funds, the importance of bank notes declined. Placing a limit on the issuance of bank notes without any restriction on the creation of demand deposits was an exercise in futility.

In 1837, as the Bank of the United States slipped into history, the nation was at the tail end of an economic boom. Professor Rothbard tells us that this expansion and the accompanying inflation had been "fueled by the central bank/' Total money in circulation had risen by eighty-four per cent in just four years. Then, as inevitable as the setting sun, that portion of the money supply which had been created by fractional-reserve banking—in other words, the part which was backed by nothing —began to contract. Sixteen per cent of all the nation's money totally disappeared in just that first year. Again, men were put out of work, businesses went into bankruptcy, homes and savings were lost. Many banks folded also, but their operators walked away with the spoils. Only the depositors were left holding the empty bag.

There were numerous proposals advanced regarding how to infuse stability into the banking system. But, then as now, none of them dealt with the real problem, which was fractional-reserve banking itself- As Groseclose observed, these proposals were "each according to a particular theory of how to multiply loaves and fishes, or how to make candy wool/ 7 Since the proposals presented then are identical to the ones being offered today, and since each of them was actually tried, it would seem appropriate to inquire into the actual results of these experiments.


There were four schools of thought regarding the multiplication of loaves and fishes. The first of these was that the creation of money should be limited to a ratio of the bank's assets. This was the formula that was tried in the New England states. In Massachusetts, for example, the issuance of bank notes was limited to two

1. Rothbard, Mystery, p. 211.

2. Groseclose, Money and Man, p. 184.


times the amount of the bank's capital actually held in the vault. Furthermore, this could not be in the form of paper money, bonds, securities, or other debt instruments; it had to be strictly gold or silver coin. Also, the banks were limited in the number of small-denomination bank notes they could issue and, in this, Massachusetts served as the model for Jackson's attempted reform at the federal level. By previous standards, and certainly by the standards that prevail today, this was an exceptionally conservative policy. In fact, even during the previous stress of the War of 1812, when banks were failing by the hundreds across the country, the Massachusetts banks, and most of the other New England banks as well, were able to maintain full payment in specie.

With fhe passage of time, however, the limit on bank notes became less important, because the banks now were using checkbook money instead. Their paper notes may have been limited to two-hundred per cent of their capital, but there was no effective limit to the numbers they could ink into people's deposit books. So the "fraction" in fractional-reserve banking began to shrink again. Consequently, the monetary contraction of 1837 "was like a scythe bver the crop," says Groseclose, and thirty-two Massachusetts banks collapsed between that year and 1844.

The state attempted to patch the system by instituting a network of bank examiners and by increasing the liability of bank stockholders for the lost funds of their depositors, but the underlying problem was still ignored. A new crop of banks then sprang into existence and a new wave of speculative mania swept through the economy. By 1862, even though the law still limited bank notes po two times capital, the banks had created $73,685,000 in total money, including checkbook money. This was supported by a base of only $9,595,000 of specie, a reserve of only thirteen per cent. Massachusetts had not solved the problem.


The second theory about how to have stable banking and allow the banks to create money out of nothing was to create a "safety fund." This fund, supported by all the banks, would come to the aid of any member which needed an emergency loan to cover a

1. Groseclose, Money and Man, p. 185.

sudden drain of its reserves. It was the forerunner of today's Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and related agencies.

The first safety fund was established in New York in 1829. The law required each bank to contribute annually one-half of one per cent of its capital stock until the total reached three per cent. The fund was first put to the test during the crisis of 1837, and was almost swamped. The only thing that saved it was that the state agreed to accept the worthless notes of all the defunct banks as payment for canal tolls. In other words, the taxpayers were compelled to make up the difference. When the fund was exhausted, the solvent banks were punished by being forced to pay for the deficits of the insolvent ones. Naturally, this impelled all banks to act more recklessly. Why not? The up side was that profits would be higher—for a time, at least—and the down side was that, if recklessness got them into trouble, the safety fund would bail them out. The result was that the system provided a penalty for prudence and an incentive for recklessness; a situation with perfect parallel to that which exists in the banking system today. Groseclose says:

The conservatively managed institutions, lending upon the safer risks, upon which naturally the margins of profit were smaller, found the assessments burdensome, and were compelled to embark upon the more speculative business in order to carry the charges.

Gradually, all banks sank into the quagmire and, in 1857, the Massachusetts safety-fund was abandoned.

Michigan's experience with a safety fund was perhaps more typical of the period. It was established in 1836 and was completely blown away the next year, during the panic of 1837.


The third proposal for maintaining a stable monetary system while, at the same time, allowing the banks to operate fraudulently was to base the money supply on government securities; in other words, upon paper certificates of government debt. This was the scheme adopted in the 1850s by Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and other Midwestern states. It also set the precedent for the Federal Reserve System sixty years later. Groseclose continues:

1. Groseclose, Money and Man, p. 186.


So rampant was the note-issue mania that the notes came to be called by the appropriate name of "red dog" and "wild cat" currency…. The rising crop of banks created a fictitious demand and a rising market for securities (to be used as capital stock) and a consequent stimulus to the creation of public debt by the issue of securities. This was followed by more bank notes being issued against the securities, demand increasing and the market rising, more securities issues, more bank notes, and so on in an endless chain of debt creation and the inflation of paper wealth. The process was finally brought to a stop by the panic of 1857.


The fourth proposal for producing something out of nothing was to back the issuance of money by the full faith and credit of the state. This was the method tried by many of the Southern states and it, too, has survived to become one of the cornerstones of our modern-day banking system.

Alabama, for example, in 1835 created a state bank funded by a public bond issue of $13,800,000. Instant money flooded through the economy and people were joyous over the miracle prosperity. The legislators were so intoxicated with the scheme that they completely abolished direct taxation and decided to run the government on bank money instead. In other words, instead of raising state revenue through taxes, they found it easier to raise it through inflation.

Like all the others, this bubble also burst in the panic of 1837. A postmortem examination of the Bank showed that $6,000,000 of its assets were completely worthless. The people who had loaned their real money to the venture, backed by the full faith and credit of the state, lost almost all of their investment—in addition to what they had paid through inflation.

Mississippi put its full faith and credit behind a state bank in 1838 and issued $15,000,000 in bonds as backing for its bank notes. The bank was belly-up within four years, and the state completely repudiated its obligations on the bonds. This infuriated the bond holders, particularly the British financiers who had purchased a large portion of the issue. The devastating effect upon the state and its people is described by Henry Poor:

Groseclose, Money and Man, pp. 188-89.

The $48,000,000 of the bank's loans were never paid; the $23,000,000 of notes and deposits were never redeemed. The whole system fell, a huge and shapeless wreck, leaving the people of the State very much as they came into the world…. Everybody was in debt, without any possible means of payment. Lands became worthless, for the reason that no one had any money to pay for them…. Such numbers of people fled … from the State that the common return upon legal processes against debtors was in the very abbreviated form "G.T.T."—gone to Texas. 1

Money, based on the full faith and credit of the state, met similar fates in Illinois, Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, and Louisiana. When the state bank collapsed in Illinois in 1825, all of the "full-faith" bank notes left in its possession were ceremoniously burned at the public square. Another bank was formed in 1835 and collapsed in 1842. So devastating were these experiences that the Illinois Constitution of 1848 stipulated that, henceforth, the state should never again create a bank or own banking stock.

In Arkansas, even real estate was tried as a magic wand. Subscribers to the state bank, instead of putting up cash, were allowed merely to pledge their real estate holdings as collateral. The bank notes rapidly plummeted in value to only twenty-five per cent of their face amount, and within four years, the bank was gone.


There was a parallel development at this time called "free banking." The name is an insult to truth. What was called free banking was merely the conversion of banks from corporations to private associations. Aside from no longer receiving a charter from the state, practically every other aspect of the system remained the same, including a multitude of government controls, regulations, supports, and other blocks against the free market. George Selgin reminds us that "permission to set up a bank was usually accompanied by numerous restrictions, including especially required loans to the state." 2

1. Henry V. Poor, Money and Its Laws (London: Henry S. King and Co., 1877), p. 540.

2. George A. Selgin, The TJieory of Free Banking: Money Supply under Competitive Note Issue (Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Littlefield, 1988), p. 13.


The free banks were no less fraudulent than the chartered banks. The old custom was revived of rushing gold coins from one bank to another just ahead of the bank examiners, and of "putting a ballast of lead, broken glass and (appropriately) ten-penny nails in the box under a thinner covering of gold coins." 1 When one such free bank collapsed in Massachusetts, it was discovered that its bank note circulation of $500,000 was backed by exactly $86.48. 2

Professor Hans Sennholz writes:

Although economists disagree on many things, most see eye to eye on their acceptance of political control… These economists invariably point at American money and banking before the Civil War which, in their judgment, confirms their belief. In particular, they cite the "Free Banking Era" of 1838-1860 as a frightening example of turbulent banking and, therefore, applaud the legislation that strengthened the role of government.

In reality, the instability experienced during the Free Banking Era was not caused by anything inherent in banking, but resulted from extensive political intervention..,, "Free banking" acts … did not repeal burdensome statutory provisions and regulatory directives. In fact they added a few. 3

For banking to have been truly free, the states would have had to do only two things: (1) enforce banking contracts the same as any other contract, and then (2) step out of the picture. By enforcing banking contracts, the executives of any bank which failed to redeem its currency in specie would have been sent to prison, an eventuality which soon would have put a halt to currency overissue. By stepping out of the picture and dropping the pretense of protecting the public with a barrage of rules, regulations, safety funds, and guarantees, people would have realized that it was their responsibility to be cautious and informed. But, instead, the banks continued to enjoy the special privilege of suspending payment without punishment, and the politicians clamored to convince the voters that they were taking care of everything.

In short, throughout this entire period of bank failures, economic chaos, and fleecing of both investors and taxpayers, America

I Galbraith,p. 87.

2. Charles Beard, The Rise of American Civilization (New York: Macmillan, 1930), Vol. r, pp. 429-30.

3. "Old Banking Myths/' by Hans F. Sennholz, The Freeman (Irvington-on-Hudson, New York), May, 1989, pp. 175-76.

tried everything except full redemption by gold and silver. As the name of Andrew Jackson faded into history, so did the dream of honest banking.

Not all banks were corrupt, and certainly not all bankers were conspirators against the public. There were many examples of honest men striving to act in an ethical manner in the discharge of their fiduciary responsibilities. But they were severely hampered by the system within which they labored, a system which, as previously illustrated, punished prudence and rewarded recklessness. In balance, the prudent banker was pushed aside by the mainstream and became but a footnote to the history of that period.


Another positive aspect to the picture is that it was during this same time that many business enterprises came into being and greatly prospered, albeit at the expense of those who had no desire to contribute. The great canals were dug, the railroads pushed back the frontier, boom towns sprang up along the way, prairies were turned into agricultural land, and new businesses followed in their wake. Much of this expansion was facilitated by a flood of fraudulent money created by the banks. Apologists for fractional-reserve banking have been prone to look at this development and conclude that, in net balance, it was a good thing. The fact that some people were cheated in order for others to prosper did not seem to be important. America just wouldn't have grown and prospered without funny money. Galbraith, for example, exudes:

As civilization, or some approximation, came to an Indiana or Michigan crossroads in the 1830s or 1840s, so did a bank. Its notes, when used and loaned to a farmer to buy land, livestock, feed, seed, food or simple equipment, put him into business. If he and others prospered and paid off their loans, the bank survived. If he and others did not so prosper and pay, the bank failed, and someone—perhaps a local creditor, perhaps an eastern supplier—was left holding the worthless notes. But some borrowers from this bank were by now in business. Somewhere, someone holding the notes had made an involuntary contribution to the winning of the West…. The [banking] anarchy served the frontier far better than a more orderly system that kept a tight hand on credit could have done. 1

1. Galbraith, p. 85.




William Greider continues this rationale:

"Reckless, booming anarchy/' in short, produced fundamental progress. It was not a stable system, racked as it was with bank failures and collapsed business ventures, outrageous speculation and defaulted loans. Yet it was also energetic and inventive, creating permanent economic growth that endured after the froth had blown away.

This, of course, is a classic example of the failure of liberal economics. When evaluating a policy, it focuses only on one beneficial consequence for one group of people and ignores the multitude of harmful effects which befall all other groups. Yes, if we look only at the frontiersmen who acquired new ranches and established new business, the fractional-reserve system looks pretty good. But, if we add in to the equation all the financial losses to all of the people who were victimized by the system—what Galbraith calls "an involuntary contribution ,/ and what Greider lightly dismisses as "froth"—then the product is zero at best and, in terms of morality, is deeply in the negative.

Galbraith, Greider, and other popular economists assume that the West could not possibly have been won with honest banking. Logic does not support such a conclusion. There is every reason to believe that the bank failures and the resulting business failures on the frontier all but canceled out the gains that were made by hard work and honest industry. Had these destructive convulsions been absent, as most of them would have been under a less chaotic system, there likely would have been fewer business starts, but a greater number would have finished, and it is entirely possible that the West would have been won even faster than it was.

It's too bad the theory has never been tried.


As chronicled in a previous section, economic conflict has always played a major role in fomenting war. There is no time in American history in which there was more economic conflict between segments of the population than there was prior to the Civil War. It is not surprising, therefore, that this period led directly into the nation's bloodiest war, made all the more tragic because it pitted brother against brother.

Gteider, p. 259.


There are many popular myths about the cause of the War Between the States. Just as the Bolshevik Revolution is commonly believed to have been a spontaneous mass uprising against a tyrannical aristocracy, so, too, it is generally accepted that the Civil War was fought over the issue of slavery. That, at best, is a half-truth. Slavery was an issue, but the primary force for war was a clash between the economic interests of the North and the South. Even the issue of slavery itself was based on economics. It may have been a moral issue in the North where prosperity was derived from the machines of heavy industry, but in the agrarian South, where fields had to be tended by vast work forces of human labor, the issue was primarily a matter of economics.

The relative unimportance of slavery as a cause for war was made clear by Lincoln himself during his campaign for the Presidency in 1860, and he repeated that message in his first inaugural address:

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered…. I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it now exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Even after the outbreak of war in 1861, Lincoln confirmed his previous stand. He declared:

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.

It may come as a surprise to learn that, by strict definition, Abraham Lincoln was a white supremacist. In his fourth debate with Senator Stephen Douglas, he addressed the subject bluntly:

I am not nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races—that I am

1. Don E. Fehrenbacher, ed., Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings, 1859-1865 (New York: Library of America, 1989), p. 215.

2, Quoted by Robert L. Polley, ed., Lincoln: His Words and His World (Waukesha, Wisconsin: Country Beautiful Foundation, 1965), p. 54.

not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. 1

This is not to say that Lincoln was indifferent to the institution of slavery, for he felt strongly that it was a violation of personal and national morality, but he also knew that slavery was gradually being swept away all over the world—with the possible exception of Africa itself—and he believed that it would soon disappear in America simply by allowing the natural forces of enlightenment to work their way through the political system. He feared—and rightly so—that to demand immediate and total reform, not only would destroy the Union, it would lead to massive bloodshed and more human suffering than was endured even under slavery itself. He said:

I have not allowed myself to forget that the abolition of the Slave trade by Great Britain was agitated a hundred years before it was a final success; that the measure had its open fire-eating opponents; its stealthy "don't-care" opponents; its dollar-and-cent opponents; its inferior-race opponents; its Negro-equality opponents; and its religion and good-order opponents; that all these opponents got offices, and their adversaries got none. But I have also remembered that though they blazed like tallow-candles for a century, at last they flickered in the socket, died out, stank in the dark for a brief season, and were remembered no more, even by the smell. School boys know that Wilbeforce and Granville Sharpe helped that cause forward; but who can now name a single man who labored to retard it? Remembering these things I cannot but regard it as possible that the higher object of this contest may not be completely attained within the term of my natural life.

If Lincoln's primary goal in the War was not the abolition of slavery but simply to preserve the Union, the question arises: Why did the Union need preserving? Or, more pointedly, why did the Southern states want to secede?


Fehrenbacher, p. 636. Ibid., p. 438.


The South, being predominantly an agricultural region, had to import practically all of its manufactured goods from the Northern states or from Europe, both of which reciprocated by providing a market for the South's cotton. However, many of the textiles and manufactured items were considerably cheaper from Europe, even after the cost of shipping had been added. The Southern states, therefore, often found it to their advantage to purchase these European goods rather than those made in the North. This put considerable competitive pressure on the American manufacturers to lower their prices and operate more efficiently.

The Republicans were not satisfied with that arrangement. They decided to use the power of the federal government to tip the scales of competition in their favor. Claiming that this was in the "national interest/' they levied stiff import duties on almost every item coming from Europe that was also manufactured in the North. Not surprisingly, there was no duty applied to cotton which, presumedly, was not a commodity in the national interest One result was that European countries countered by stopping the purchase of U.S. cotton, which badly hurt the Southern economy. The other result was that manufacturers in the North were able to charge higher prices without fear of competition, and the South was forced to pay more for practically all of its necessities. It was a classic case of legalized plunder in which the law was used to enrich one group of citizens at the expense of another.

Pressure from the North against slavery in the South made matters even more volatile. A fact often overlooked in this episode is that the cost of a slave was very high, around $1,500 each. A modest plantation with only forty or fifty slaves, therefore, had a large capital investment which, in terms of today's purchasing power, represented many millions of dollars. To the South, therefore, abolition meant, not only the loss of its ability to produce a cash crop, but the total destruction of an enormous capital base.

Many Southern plantation owners were working toward the day when they could convert their investment to more profitable industrial production as had been done in the North, and others felt that freemen who were paid wages would be more efficient than slaves who had no incentive to work. For the present, however, they were stuck with the system they inherited. They felt that a complete and sudden abolition of slavery with no transition period would destroy their economy and leave many of the former slaves to starve—all of which actually happened in due course. 1


That was the situation that existed at the time of Lincoln's campaign and why, in his speeches, he attempted to calm the fears of the South about his intentions. But his words were mostly political rhetoric. Lincoln was a Republican, and he was totally dependent on the Northern industrialists who controlled the Party. Even if he had wanted to—and there is no indication that he did—he could not have reversed the trend of economic favoritism and protectionism that swept him into office.


In addition to the conflicting interests between North and South, there were other forces also working to split the nation in two. Those forces were rooted in Europe and centered around the desire of France, Spain, and England to control the markets of Latin America. Mexico was the prime target. This was the reason the Monroe Doctrine had been formulated thirty-eight years previously. President James Monroe had put the European nations on notice that the United States would not interfere in their affairs, and that any interference by them in American affairs would not be tolerated. In particular, the proclamation said that the American continents were no longer to be considered as available for colonization.

None of the European powers wanted to put this issue to the test, but they knew that if the United States were to become embroiled in a civil war, it could not also cross swords in Latin America. To encourage war between the states, therefore, was to pave the way for colonial expansion in Mexico. The Americas had become a giant chess board for the game of global politics.

In the American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War, we read:

The war had not progressed very far before it was clear that the ruling classes in each of these two countries [England and France] sympathized strongly with the Confederacy—so strongly that with just a little prodding they might be moved to intervene and bring about Southern independence by force of arms…. Europe's aristocracies had never been happy about the prodigious success of

| See "No Civil War at All; Part One/' by WiUiam Mcllhany, Journal of Individualist Studies, Winter, 1992, p. 41.


the Yankee democracy. If the nation now broke into halves, proving

that democracy did not contain the stuff of survival, the rulers of

Europe would be well pleased.

The global chess match between Lincoln on the one side and England and France on the other was closely watched by the other leaders of Europe. One of the most candid observers at that time was the Chancellor of Germany, Otto von Bismarck. Since Bismarck was, himself, deeply obligated to the power of international finance, his observations are doubly revealing. He said:

The division of the United States into federations of equal force was decided long before the Civil War by the high financial powers of Europe. These bankers were afraid that the United States, if they remained in one block and as one nation, would attain economic and financial independence, which would upset their financial domination over the Europe and the world. Of course, in the "inner circle" of Finance, the voice of the Rothschilds prevailed. They saw an opportunity for prodigious booty if they could substitute two feeble democracies, burdened with debt to the financiers,… in place of a vigorous Republic sufficient unto herself. Therefore, they sent their emissaries into the field to exploit the question of slavery and to drive a wedge between the two parts of the Union…. The rupture between the North and the South became inevitable; the masters of European finance employed all their forces to bring it about and to rum it to their advantage.

The strategy was simple but effective. Within months after the first clash of arms between North and South, France had landed troops in Mexico. By 1864, the Mexicans were subdued, and the French monarch installed Ferdinand Maximilian as the puppet emperor. The Confederacy found a natural ally in Maximilian, and it was anticipated by both groups that, after the successful execution of the War, they would combine into a new nation— dominated by the financial power of Rothschild, of course. At the same time, England moved eleven-thousand troops into Canada,

1. Bruce Catton, author; Richard M. Ketchum, ed v The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War (New York: American Heritage Publishing Co., I960), p. 249.

2. This statement was quoted by Conrad Siem, a German who became a U.S. citizen and who wrote about the lifeand views of Bismark. It was published in La Vieille France, No. 216, March 17-24, 1921, pp. 13-16. The reader should be cautioned that Bismarck was no paragon of virtue and, as the father of modern socialism, his political views should be taken with a healthy degree of caution. All that aside, there is little doubt that this quotation represents an accurate appraisal of the machinations of the European Cabal at that time.

positioned them menacingly along the Union's northern flank, and placed the British fleet onto war-time alert

The European powers were closing in for a checkmate.


The Second Bank of the United States was dead, but banking was very much alive. Many of the old problems continued, and new ones arrived. The issuance of banknotes had been severely limited, but that was largely offset by the increasing use of checkbook money, which had no limits at all on its issue.

When the Bank of the U.S. slipped into history, the nation was nearing the end of the boom phase of a boom/bust cycle. When the inevitable contraction of the money supply came, politicians began to offer proposals on how to infuse stability into the banking system. None dealt with the real problem, which was fractional-reserve banking itself. They concentrated instead on proposals on how to make it work. All of these proposals were tried and they failed.

These years are sometimes described as a period of free banking, which is an insult to truth. All that happened was that banks were converted from corporations to private associations, a change in form, not substance. They continued to be burdened by ^government controls, regulations, supports, and other blocks against the free market.

The economic chaos and conflict of this period was a major cause of the Civil War. Lincoln made it clear during his public speeches that slavery was not the issue. The basic problem was the North and the South were dependent on each other for trade. The industrialized North sold its products to the South which sold its •cotton to the North. The South also had a similar trade with Europe, and that was an annoyance to the North. Europe was selling many products at lower prices, and the North was losing -market share. Northern politicians passed protectionist legislation putting import duties on industrial products. This all but stopped §he importation of European goods and forced the South to buy (from the North at higher prices. Europe retaliated by curtailing the burchase of American cotton. That hurt the South even more. It was a classic case of legalized plunder, and the South wanted out.

1. Catton and Ketchum, p. 250. Also Otto Eisenschiml, The Hidden Face of the Civil War (New York: Bobbs-Merril, 1961), p. 25.

Meanwhile, there were powerful forces in Europe that wanted to see America embroiled in civil war. If she could be split into two hostile countries, there would be less obstacle to European expansion on the North American continent. France was eager to capture Mexico and graft it onto a new empire which would include many of the Southern states as well. England, on the other hand, had military forces poised along the Canadian border ready for action. Political agitators, funded and organized from Europe, were active on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. The issue of slavery was but a ploy. America had become the target in a ruthless game of world economics and politics.

Chapter Nineteen


The causes of the Civil War shown to be economic and political, not the issue of freedom vs. slavery; the manner in which both sides used fiat money to

finance the war; the important role played by

foreign powers.

In the previous chapter, we saw how the American continent had become a giant chess board in a game of global politics. The European powers had been anxious to see the United States become embroiled in a civil war and eventually break into two smaller and weaker nations. That would pave the way for their further colonization of Latin America without fear of the Americans being able to enforce the Monroe Doctrine. And so it was that, within a few months after the outbreak of war between North and South, France landed troops in Mexico and, by 1864, had installed Maximilian as her puppet monarch. Negotiations were begun immediately to bring Mexico into the war on the side of the Confederacy. England moved her troops to the Canadian border in a show of strength. America was facing what appeared to be a checkmate from the powers in Europe.


It was a masterful move that possibly could have won the game had not an unexpected event tipped the scale against it. Tsar Alexander II—who, incidentally, had never allowed a central bank to be established in Russia —notified Lincoln that he stood ready to militarily align with the North. Although the Tsar had recently freed the serfs in his own country, his primary motivation for

1- His grandson, Tsar Nicholas, II, did accept loans from J.P. Morgan. In a classic application of the Rothschild Formula, Morgan also funded the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks. The Mensheviks forced Nicholas to abdicate, and the Bolsheviks executed him. See Chernow, pp. 195,211.


coming to the aid of the Union undoubtedly had little to do with emancipating the slaves in the South. England and France had been maneuvering to break up the Russian empire by splitting off Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Crimea, and Georgia. Napoleon III, of France, proposed to Great Britain and Austria that the three nations immediately declare war on Russia to hasten this dismemberment.

Knowing that war was being considered by his enemies, Tsar Alexander decided to play a chess game of his own. In September of 1863, he dispatched his Baltic fleet of war ships to Alexandria, Virginia, and his Asiatic fleet to San Francisco. The significance of this move was explained by Russian-born Carl Wrangell-Rokassowsky:

No treaty was signed between Russia and the United States, but their mutual interest, and the threat of war to both, unified these two nations at this critical moment. By dispatching his Baltic Fleet to the North American harbors, the Tsar changed his position from a defensive to an offensive one. Paragraph 3 of the instructions given to Admiral Lessovsky by Admiral Krabbe, at that time Russian Secretary of the Navy, dated July 14th, 1863, ordered the Russian Fleet, in case of war, to attack the enemies' commercial shipping and their colonies so as to cause them the greatest possible damage. The same instructions were given to Admiral Popov, Commander of the Russian Asiatic


The presence of the Russian Navy helped the Union enforce a devastating naval blockade against the Southern states which denied them access to critical supplies from Europe. It was not that these ships single-handedly kept the French and English vessels at bay. Actually there is no record of them even firing upon each other, but that is the point. The fact that neither France nor England at that time wanted to risk becoming involved in an open war with the United States and Russia led them to be extremely cautious with overt military aid to the South. Throughout the entire conflict, they found it expedient to remain officially neutral. Without the inhibiting effect of the presence of the Russian fleet, the course of the war could have been significantly different.

1. Carl Wrangell-Rokassowsky, Before the Storm (Ventimiglia, Italy: Tipo-Litografia Ligure, 1972), p. 57.

The beginning of the war did not go well for the North, and in the early years, the outcome was far from certain. Not only did the Union army face repeated defeats on the battlefield, but enthusiasm from the people at home was badly sagging. As mentioned previously, at the outset this was not a popular war based on humanitarian principle; it was a war of business interests. That presented two serious problems for the North. The first was how to get people to fight, and the second was how to get them to pay. Both problems were solved by the simple expediency of violating the Constitution.


To get people to fight, it was decided to convert the war into an anti-slavery crusade. The Emancipation Proclamation was primarily a move on the part of Lincoln to fan the dying embers of support for the "Rich-man's war and the poor-man's fight/' as it was commonly called in the North. Furthermore, it was not an amendment to the Constitution nor even an act of Congress. It was issued, totally without constitutional authority, as the solitary order of Lincoln himself, acting as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

Preservation of the Union was not enough to fire men's enthusiasm for war. Only the higher issue of freedom could do that. To make the cause of freedom synonymous with the cause of the North, there was no alternative but to officially declare against slavery. After having emphasized over and over again that slavery was not the reason for war, Lincoln later explained why he changed his course and issued the Proclamation:

Things had gone from bad to worse until I felt we had reached the end of our rope on the plan we were pursuing; that we had about played our last card, and must change our tactics or lose the game. I now determined upon the adoption of the emancipation policy.

The rhetoric of the Proclamation was superb, but the concept left a great deal to be desired. Bruce Catton, writing in the American Heritage Pictorial History of the Civil War explains:

Technically, the proclamation was almost absurd. It proclaimed freedom for all slaves in precisely those areas where the United States

I could not make its authority effective, and allowed slavery to continue

in slave states which remained under Federal control…. But in the end


1. Quoted by Charles Adams, Fight, Flight, Fraud: The Story of Taxation (Curacao, The Netherlands: Euro-Dutch Publishers, 1982), p. 229.


it changed the whole character of the war and, more than any other single thing, doomed the Confederacy to defeat.

The Proclamation had a profound impact on the European powers as well. As long as the war had been viewed as an attempt on the part of a government to put down rebellion, there was nothing sacred about it, and there was no stigma attached to helping either side. But now that freedom was the apparent issue, no government in Europe—least of all England and France—dared to anger its own subjects by taking sides against a country that was trying to destroy slavery. After 1862 the chance that Europe would militarily intervene on behalf of the Confederacy rapidly faded to zero. On the propaganda front, the South had been maneuvered into a position which could not be defended in the modern world.

Converting the war into an antislavery crusade was a brilliant move on Lincoln's part, and it resulted in a surge of voluntary recruits into the Union army. But this did not last. Northerners may have disapproved of slavery in the South but, once the bloodletting began in earnest, their willingness to die for that conviction began to wane. At the beginning of the war, enlistments were for only three months and, when that period was over, many of the soldiers declined to renew. Lincoln faced the embarrassing reality that he soon would have no army to carry on the crusade.


Historically, men are willing to take up arms to defend their families, their homes, and their country when threatened by a hostile foe. But the only way to get them to fight in a war in which they have no perceived personal interest is either to pay them large bonuses and bounties or to force them to do so by conscription. It is not surprising, therefore, that both methods were employed to keep the Union army in the field. Furthermore, although the Constitution specifies that only Congress can declare war and raise an army, Lincoln did so entirely on his own authority.

The Northern states were given an opportunity to fill a specified quota with volunteers before conscription began. To meet these quotas and to avoid the draft, every state, township, and county developed an elaborate bounty system. By 1864, there were

many areas where a man could receive more than $1,000— equivalent to over $50,000 today—just for joining the army. A person of wealth could avoid the draft simply by paying a commutation fee or by hiring someone else to serve in his place.

In the South, the government was even more bold in its approach to conscription. Despite its cherished views on states' rights, the Confederacy immediately gathered into Richmond many of the powers and prerogatives of a centralized, national government. In 1862 it passed a conscription law which placed exclusive control over every male citizen between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five into the hands of the Confederate President. As in the North, there were important loopholes. The owner or overseer of twenty slaves, for example, could not be called into military service. In all fairness, it must be noted that many did not take advantage of this exclusion. In contrast to the North, soldiers perceived that they were fighting for the defense of their families, homes, and property rather than for an abstract cause or for a cash bounty.


When conscription was initiated by Lincoln in 1863, people in &he North were outraged. In New York's Madison Square, thousands of protesters marched in torch parades and attended anti-Lincoln rallies. Historian James Horan describes the mood: ''When caricatures of the President were lifted above the speaker's stand, hisses rose to fill the night with the noise of a million angry bees/' Federal troops eventually had to be called in to put down Itfitidraft riots in Ohio and Illinois. In New York City, when the first names of the draft were published in the papers on July 12, mobs Stormed the draft offices and set fire to buildings. The riots continued for four days and were suppressed only when the federal Army of the Potomac was ordered to fire into the crowds. Over a thousand civilians were killed or wounded.

After the passage of many years, it is easy to forget that Lincoln had an insurrection on his hands in the North as well as in the South. The shooting of a thousand civilians by soldiers of their own

1. Catton and Ketchum, p. 252.

2. Congress later ratified Lincoln's actions, but, by that time, it had little choice. The War was underway.

1. Catton and Ketchum, pp. 484-85.

2. James D. Horan, Confederate Agent: A Discovery in History (New York: Crown, 1954), p. 209.

3. Catton and Ketchum, pp. 486,511.


government is a tragedy of mammoth proportions and it tells much about the desperate state of the Union at that time. To control that insurrection, Lincoln ignored the Constitution once again by suspending the right of Imbeas corpus, which made it possible for the government to imprison its critics without formal charges and without trial. Thus, under the banner of opposing slavery, American citizens in the North, not only were killed on the streets of their own cities, they were put into military combat against their will and thrown into prison without due process of law. In other words, free men were enslaved so that slaves could be made free. Even if the pretended crusade had been genuine, it was a bad exchange.

How to get people to pay for the war was handled in a similar fashion. If the Constitution could be pushed aside on the issue of personal rights and of war itself, it certainly would not stand in the way of mere funding.

It has often been said that truth is the first casualty in war. To which we should add: money is the second. During the fiscal year ending in 1861, expenses of the federal government had been $67 million. After the first year of armed conflict they were $475 million and, by 1865, had risen to one billion, three-hundred million dollars. On the income side of the ledger, taxes covered only about eleven per cent of that figure. By the end of the war, the deficit had risen to $2.61 billion. That money had to come from somewhere.


The nation's first experiment with the income tax was tried at this time; another violation of the Constitution. By today's standards it was a small bite, but it was still an extremely unpopular measure, and Congress knew that any additional taxes would further fan the flames of rebellion.

Previously, the traditional source of funding in time of war had been the banks which simply created money under the pretense of loaning it. But that method had been severely hampered by the demise of the Bank of the United States. The state banks were anxious to step into that role; but, by this time, most of them had already defaulted in their promise to pay in specie and were in no position to manufacture further money, at least not money which the public would be willing to accept.

American banks may have been unable to supply adequate loans, but the Rothschild consortium in Britain was both able and willing. It was during this time that the Rothschilds were consolidating their new industrial holdings in the United States through their agent, August Belmont. Derek Wilson tells us: "They owned or had major shareholdings in Central American ironworks, North American canal construction companies, and a multiplicity of other concerns. They became the major importers of bullion from the newly discovered goldfields."

Belmont had placed large amounts of Rothschild money into the bonds of state-sponsored banks in the South. Those bonds, of course, had fallen in value to practically zero. As the war shifted in favor of the North, however, he began to buy up as many additional bonds as he could, paying but a few pennies on each dollar of face value. It was his plan to have the Union force the Southern states at the end of the war to honor all of their pre-war debt obligations—in full. That, of course, would have been a source of gigantic speculative profits to the Rothschilds. Meanwhile, on the northern side of the Mason-Dixon Line, Belmont became the chief agent for the sale of Union bonds in England and France. It was rumored that, when Belmont called on President Lincoln and personally offered Rothschild money at 27 Vi per cent interest, he was rudely thrown out of the office. The story is doubtful, but it represents a larger truth. Profiting from war and placing money on both sides of the conflict were exactly the kind of maneuvers for which the Rothschilds had become famous throughout Europe and were now practicing in America.

In the North, the sale of government bonds was the one measure for raising funds that seemed to work. Even that, however, with the lure of compounded interest to be paid in gold at a future date, failed to raise more than about half the needed amount. So the Union faced a real dilemma. The only options remaining were (1) terminate the war or (2) print fiat money. For Lincoln and the Republicans who controlled Congress, the choice Was never seriously in doubt.

The precedent had already been set during the War of 1812. At that time, Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, had abrogated the Constitutional ban against "bills of credit" by printing Treasury

1- See Derek Wilson, p. 178.


notes, most of which paid interest at 5.4 per cent. The money was never declared legal tender, and that probably was the basis on which it was defended as constitutional.


By the time of the War Between the States, however, all pretense at constitutionality had been dropped. In 1862, Congress authorized the Treasury to print $150 million worth of bills of credit and put them into circulation as money to pay for its expenses. They were declared as legal tender for all private debts but could not be used for government duties or taxes. The notes were printed with green ink and, thus, became immortalized as "greenbacks." Voters were assured that this was a one-time emergency measure, a promise that was soon broken. By the end of the war, a total of $432 million in greenbacks had been issued.

The pragmatic mood in Washington was that a constitution is nice to have in times of peace, but an unaffordable luxury in war. Salmon P. Chase, for example, as Secretary of the Treasury, strongly endorsed the greenbacks which were issued under his direction. They were, in his words, an "indispensable necessity." Eight years later, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he declared that they were unconstitutional. Had he changed his mind? Not at all. When he endorsed them, the nation was at war. When he declared them unconstitutional, it was at peace. It was merely another example of the universal trait of all governments in time of war. That trait was presented in a previous section as the premise of the Rothschild Formula: "The sanctity of its laws, the prosperity of its citizens, and the solvency of its treasury will be quickly sacrificed by any government in its primal act of self-survival."

The pressure for issuance of greenbacks originated in Congress, but Lincoln was an enthusiastic supporter. His view was that:

Government, possessing power to create and issue currency and credit as money and enjoying the right to withdraw currency and credit from circulation by taxation and otherwise, need not and should not borrow capital at interest… The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of the government but it is the government's greatest creative opportunity.

It would appear that Lincoln objected to having the government pay interest to the banks for money they create out of nothing when the government can create money out of nothing just as easily and not pay interest on it. If one ignores the fact that both of these schemes are forbidden by the Constitution and is willing to tolerate the plunder-by-inflation that is the consequence of both, then there is an appealing logic to the argument. The politicians continue to have their fiat money, but at least the banks are denied a free ride.


It is apparent that Lincoln had undergone a change of heart regarding banks. Early in his political career, he had been a friend of the banking industry and an advocate of easy credit. As a member of the Whig political party in the 1830s—before becoming a Republican in his campaign for the Presidency—he had been a supporter of Biddle's Second Bank of the United States. During his famous debates with Senator Stephen Douglas, one of the points of contention between the two was that Lincoln defended the Bank and advocated its reestablishment. Furthermore, after becoming President, he took the initiative in requesting Congress to reestablish central banking.

Lincoln appears to have been inconsistent, and one gets a gnawing feeling that, in his effort to finance an unpopular war, he sometimes found it necessary, like Salmon Chase and other politicians of the time, to anesthetize his personal convictions and do whatever was required to meet the exigencies of governmental survival.

One thing, however, is clear. Regardless of Lincoln's personal

r s on money, the greenbacks were not pleasing to the bankers who were thereby denied their customary override on government debt. They were anxious to have this federal fiat money replaced by bank fiat money. For that to be possible, it would be necessary to create a whole new monetary system with government bonds used as backing for the issuance of bank notes; in other words, a return to central banking. And that was precisely what Secretary Chase was preparing to establish.

1. This is taken from an abstract of Lincoln's monetary policy that was prepared by the Legislative Reference Service of the Library of Congress. Quoted by Owen, p. 91.


I. See Lincoln's speech on the Sub-Treasury, Fehrenbacher, pp. 56-57.

i. See Lincoln's annual message to Congress, December 1, 1862, Fehrenbacher,

p. 398.


In 1862, the basic position of the bankers was outlined in a memo, called The Hazard Circular, prepared by an American agent of British financiers and circulated among the country's wealthy businessmen. It said:

The great debt that capitalists will see to it is made out of the war must be used as a means to control the volume of money. To accomplish this the bonds must be used as a banking basis. We are now waiting for the Secretary of the Treasury to make this recommendation to Congress. It will not do to allow the greenback, as it is called, to circulate as money any length of time, as we cannot control that. But we can control the bonds and through them the bank issues.


On February 25, 1863, Congress passed the National Banking Act (with major amendments the following year) which established a new system of nationally-chartered banks. The structure was similar to the Bank of the United States with the exception that, instead of one central bank with power to influence the activities of the others, there were now to be many national banks with control over all of them coming from Washington. Most banking legislation is sold to the public under the attractive label of reform. The National Banking Act was one of the rare exceptions. It was promoted fairly honestly as a wartime emergency scheme to raise money for military expenses by creating a market for government bonds and then transforming those bonds into circulating money. Here is how it worked:

When a national bank purchased government bonds, it did not hold on to them. It turned them back to the Treasury which exchanged them for an equal amount of "United States Bank Notes" with the bank's name engraved on them. The government declared these to be legal tender for taxes and duties, and that status caused them to be generally accepted by the public as money. The bank's net cost for these bonds was zero, because they got their money back immediately. Technically, the bank still owned the bonds and collected interest on them, but they also had the use of an equal amount of newly created bank-note money which also could be loaned out at interest. When all the smoke and

1. The Hon. Charles A, Lindburgh, Banking and Currency and the Money Trust (Washington, D.C: National Capital Press, 1913), p. 102.

mirrors were moved away, it was merely a variation on the ancient scheme. The monetary and political scientists had simply converted government debt into money, and the bankers were collecting a substantial fee at both ends for their service.

The one shortcoming of the system, at least from the point of view of the manipulators, was that, even though the bank notes were widely circulated, they were not classified as "lawful" money. In other words, they were not legal tender for all debts, just for taxes and duties. Precious-metal coins and greenbacks were still the country's official money. It was not until the arrival of the Federal Reserve System fifty years later that government debt in the form of bank notes would be mandated as the nation's official money for all transactions—under penalty of law.

The National Banking Act of 1863 required banks to keep a percentage of their notes and deposits in the form of lawful money (gold coins) as a reserve to cover the possibility of a run. That percentage varied depending on the size and location of the bank but, on an average, it was about twelve per cent. That means a bank with $1 million in coin deposits could use approximately $880,000 of that ($1 million less 12%) to purchase government bonds, exchange the bonds for bank notes, lend out the bank notes, and collect interest on both the bonds and the loans. The bank could now earn interest on $880,000 loaned to the government in the form of coins plus interest on $880,000 loaned to its customers in the form of bank notes. That doubled the bank's income without the inconvenience of having to increase its capital. Needless to say, the bonds were gobbled up just as fast as they could be printed, and the problem of funding the war had been solved.

, Another consequence of the national banking system was to make it impossible from that date forward for the federal government ever to get out of debt- Please reread that statement. It is not an exaggeration. Even friends of central-banking are forced to admit this reality. Galbraith says gloomily:

Rarely has economic circumstance managed more successfully to confound the most prudent in economic foresight. In numerous years

1 ■ That represents the theoretical maximum. The actual numbers would have been lightly less due to the fact that banks seldom were able to keep a full 100% of their bank notes circulating in the form of loans. The functional asset leverage probably averaged about 70% rather than 88%.


following the war the Federal government ran a heavy surplus. It could not pay off its debt, retire its securities, because to do so meant there would be no bonds to back the national bank notes. To pay off the debt was to destroy the money supply.

As pointed out in a previous section, that is essentially the situation which exists today. Every dollar of our currency and checkbook money was created by the act of lending. If all debt were repaid, our entire money supply would vanish back into the inkwells and computers. The national debt is the principal foundation upon which money is created for private debt. To pay off or even greatly reduce the national debt would cripple our monetary system. No politician would dare to advocate that, even if surplus funds were available in the Treasury. The Federal Reserve System, therefore, has virtually locked our nation into perpetual debt.


The third consequence of the National Banking Act will come as no surprise to anyone who has survived the previous pages of this book. During the war, the purchasing power of the greenbacks fell by 65%. The money supply increased by 138%. Prices more than doubled while wages rose by less than half. By that mechanism, Americans surrendered to the government and to the banks more than half of all the money they earned or held during that period—in addition to their taxes.

Financial conditions in the South were even worse. With the exception of the seizure of about $400,000 in gold from the Federal mint at New Orleans, almost all of the war was funded by the printing of fiat money. Confederate notes increased in volume by 214% per year, while the volume of all money, including bank notes and check-book money, rose by over 300% per year. In addition to the Confederate notes, each of the Southern states issued its own fiat money and, by the end of the war, the total of all notes was about a billion dollars. Within the four-year period, prices shot up by 9,100%. After Appomattox, of course, Confederate notes and bonds alike were totally worthless.

1. Galbraith, p. 90.

2. See chapter ten, The Mandrake Mechanism.

3. See Paul and Lehrman, pp. 80-81; Groseclose, Money and Man, p. 193; Galbraith, pp. 93-94; Rothbard, Mystery, p. 222.

4. See Galbraith, p. 94. Also Paul and Lehrman, p. 81.

I As usual, the average citizen did not understand that the newly created money represented a hidden tax which he would soon have to pay in the form of higher prices. Voters in the Northern states certainly would not have tolerated an open and honest tax increase of that magnitude. Even in the South where the cause was perceived as one of self defense, it is possible that they would not have done so had they known in advance the true dimension of the assessment. But especially in the North, because they did not understand the secret science of money, Americans not only paid the hidden tax but applauded Congress for creating it.

On June 25, 1863, exactly four months after the National Bank Act was signed into law, a confidential communique was sent from the Rothschild investment house in London to an associate banking firm in New York. It contained an amazingly frank and boastful summary:

The few who understand the system [bank loans earning interest and also serving as money] will either be so interested in its profits or so dependent upon its favors that there will be no opposition from that class while, on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending,… will bear its burdens without complaint,


Lincoln was privately apprehensive about the Bank Act, but loyalty to his Party and the need to maintain unity in time of war compelled him to withhold his veto. His personal view, however, was unequivocal. In a letter to William Elkins the following year he said:

The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the republic destroyed. 2


j* Quoted by Owen, pp. 99-100.

2- A letter to William F. Elkins, November 21, 1864. Archer H. Shaw, ed., The uncoln Encyclopedia; The Spoken and Written Words of A. Lincoln (New York: MacmilJan Co., 1950), p. 40.


In reviewing Lincoln's role throughout this painful chapter of history, it is impossible not to feel ambivalence. On the one hand, he declared war without Congress, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, and issued the Emancipation Proclamation, not as an administrative executive carrying out the wishes of Congress, but as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Furthermore, the Proclamation was not issued out of humanitarian motives, as popular history portrays, but as a maneuver to generate popular support for the war. By participating in the issuance of the greenbacks, he violated one of the most clearly written and important sections of the Constitution. And by failing to veto the National Bank Act, he acquiesced in the delivery of the American people back into the hands of the international Cabal, an act which was similar in many ways to the forcible return of captured runaway slaves.

On the positive side, there is no question of Lincoln's patriotism. His concern was in preserving the Union, not the Constitution, and his refusal to let the European powers split America into a cluster of warring nation-states was certainly wise. Lincoln believed that he had to violate part of the Constitution in order to save the whole. But that is dangerous reasoning. It can be used in almost any national crisis as the excuse for the expansion of totalitarian power. There is no reason to believe that the only way to save the Union was to scrap the Constitution. In fact, if the Constitution had been meticulously observed from the very beginning, the Southern minority could never have been legally plundered by the Northern majority and there likely would have been no movement for secession in the first place. And, even if there had been, a strict reading of the Constitution at that point could have led the way to an honorable and peaceful settlement of differences. The result would have been, not only the preservation of the Union without war, but Americans would be enjoying far less government intervention in their daily lives today.


There is one point that is clearly on Lincoln's side. While his political compatriots were howling for economic vengeance against the South, the President stood firmly against it. "With malice toward none" was more than a slogan with him, and he was willing to risk his political survival on that one issue. The reason he had

vetoed the Wade-Davis emancipation bill was because it would have applied a lien against Southern cotton at the end of the war to the benefit of New England textile manufactures. The cotton also would have been taken as security to pay off Southern debt which had been contracted before the war, thus providing the funds to buy back at face value all of the bonds which had been purchased at discount by Rothschild's agent, August Belmont. Such defiance of the financiers and speculators undoubtedly required great courage.

But the issue ran deeper than that. Lincoln had offered a general amnesty to any citizen in the South who would agree to take a loyalty oath to the Union. When ten per cent of the voters had taken such an oath, he proposed that they could then elect Congressmen, Senators, and a state government which would be recognized as part of the Union once again. The Republicans, on the other hand, had incorporated into the Wade-Davis bill the provision that each seceded state was to be treated like a conquered country. Political representation was to be denied until fifty-one per cent, not ten per cent, had taken an oath. Former slaves were given the right to vote—although women had not yet gained that right even in the North—but, because of their lack of education and political awareness, no one expected them to play a meaningful role in government for many years to come. Furthermore, those taking the oath had to swear that they had never taken up arms against the Union. Since almost every able-bodied white male had done so, the effect would have been to deny the South political representation for at least two generations.

Under Lincoln's amnesty policy, it would not be long before the Republicans would be overwhelmed in Congress by a large majority of Democrats. The Democrats in the North were already gaining strength on their own and, once they could be joined by the solid block of Democrats from the reunited South, the Republicans' political and economic power would be lost. So, when Lincoln vetoed the bill, his own Party bitterly turned against him.

Running throughout these cross-currents of motives and special interests were two groups which found it increasingly to their advantage to have Lincoln out of the way. One group consisted of the financiers, Northern industrialists, and radical Republicans, all of whom wanted to legally plunder the South at the end of the war. The politicians within that group also looked forward to further consolidating their power and literally establishing a military


dictatorship. 1 The other group was smaller in size but equally dangerous. It consisted of hothead Confederate sympathizers— from both South and North—who sought revenge. Later events revealed that both of these groups had been involved in a conspiratorial liaison with an organization called the Knights of the Golden Circle.


The Order of the Knights of the Golden Circle was a secret organization dedicated to revolution and conquest. Two of its better known members were Jesse James and John Wilkes Booth. It was organized by George W.L. Bickley who established its first "castle" in Cincinnati in 1854, drawing membership primarily from Masonic lodges. It had close ties with a secret society in France called The Seasons, which itself was a branch of the Illuminati. After the beginning of the war, Bickley was made head of the Confederacy's secret service, and his organization quickly spread throughout the border and Southern states as well.

In the North, the conspirators were seeking "to seize political power and overthrow the Lincoln government/ 7 In fact, the Northern anti-draft riots mentioned previously were largely the result of the planning and leadership of this group. In the South "they tried to promote the extension of slavery by the conquest of Mexico/ 75 In partnership with Maximilian, the Knights hoped to establish a Mexican-American empire which would be an effective counter force against the North. In fact, the very name of the organization is based on their goal of carving an empire out of North America with geographical boundaries forming a circle with the center in Cuba, and its circumference reaching northward to Pennsylvania, southward to Panama.

1 For highly readable accounts of this movement, see Theodore Roscoe, The Web of Conspiracy: The Complete Story of the Men Who Murdered Abraham Lincoln (Engle-wood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1959); also Claude G. Bowers, The Tragic Era: The Revolution after Lincoln, (New YoTk: Houghton Mifflin, 1957).

2. "No Civil War at All, Part Two/' by Will^m Mcllhany, Journal of Individualist Studies, Fall, 1992, pp. 1&-20.

3. Horan, p. 15.

4. Ibid., pp. 20&-23.

5. Ibid., p. 16. Regarding the annexation of Mexico, also see the Columbia Encyclopedia, Third Edition, p. 1143.

In 1863 the group was reorganized as the Order of American Knights and, again the following year, as the Order of the Sons of Liberty. Its membership then was estimated at between 200,000 and 300,000. After the war, it went further underground and remnants eventually emerged as the Ku Klux Klan.


One of the persistent legends of this period is that John Wilkes Booth was not killed in Garretf s barn, as generally accepted, but was allowed to escape; that the corpse actually was that of an accomplice; and that the government, under the firm control of War Secretary Edwin M. Stanton, moved heaven and earth to cover up the facts. On the face of it, that is an absurd story. But, when the voluminous files of the War Department were finally declassified and put into the public domain in the mid 1930s, historians were shocked to discover that there are many facts in those files which lend credence to the legend. The first to probe these amazing records was Otto Eisenschiml whose Why Was Lincoln Murdered? was published by Little, Brown and Company in 1937. The best and most readable compilation of the facts, however, was written twenty years later by Theodore Roscoe. In the preface to this work, he states the startling conclusions which emerge from those long-hidden files:

Of the immense 19th century literature that exists on Lincoln's assassination, much of the writing treats the tragedy at Ford's theater as though it were Grand Opera…. Only a few have seen the crime as a murder case: Lincoln dying by crass felony, Booth a stalking gunman leading a gang of primed henchmen, the murder plot containing ingredients as base as the profit motive. Seventy years after the crime, writers were garbling it with a dignity it did not deserve: Lincoln, the | stereotyped martyr; Booth, the stereotyped villain; the assassination avenged by classic justice; conspiracy strangled; Virtue (in the robes of Government) emerging triumphant, and Lincoln "belonging to the ages."

But the facts of the case are neither so satisfying nor so gratifying. For the facts indicate that the criminals responsible for Lincoln's death got away with murder.

Izola Forrester was the granddaughter of John Wilkes Booth. In book entitled This One Mad Act, she tells of discovering the

I Roscoe, p. vii.


secret records of the Knights of the Golden Circle which had been carefully wrapped and placed in a government vault many decades ago and designated as classified documents by Secretary Stanton. Since the assassination of Lincoln, no one had ever been allowed to examine that package. Because of her lineage to Booth and because of her credentials as a professional writer, she was eventually permitted to become the first person in all those years to examine its contents. Forrester recounts the experience:

It was five years before I was able to examine the contents of the mysterious old package hidden away in the safe of the room which contained the relics and exhibits used in the Conspiracy Trial…. ] would never have seen them, had I not knelt on the floor of the cell five years ago and seen into the back of the old safe where the package lay. It is all part of the odd mystery thrown about the case by the officials of the war period—the concealment of these documents and articles, and the hiding away of the two flakes of bone with the bullet and pistol. What mind ever grouped together such apparently incongruous and macabre exhibits?…

Here at last was a link with my grandfather. I knew that he had been a member of the secret order founded by Bickley, the Knights of the Golden Circle. I have an old photograph of him taken in a group of the brotherhood, in full uniform, one that Harry's daughter had discovered for me in our grandmother's Bible. I knew that the newspapers, directly following the assassination, had denounced the order as having instigated the killing of Lincoln, and had proclaimed Booth to have been its member and tool. And I was reminded again of those words I had heard from my grandmother's lips, that her husband had been "the tool of other men."

An interesting comment. One is compelled to wonder: The tool of what other men? Was Forrester's grandmother referring to the leaders of the Knights of the Golden Circle? To agents of European financiers? Or was it to conspirators within Lincoln's own Party? We shall probably never know with certainty the extent to which any of these groups may have been involved in Lincoln's assassination, but we do know that there were powerful forces within the federal government, centered around Secretary of War Stanton, which actively concealed evidence and hastily terminated the investigation. Someone was protected.

1. Lzola Forrester, This One Mad Act (Boston: Hale, Cushman & Flint, 1937), p. 359-


It is time now to leave this tragic episode and move along. So let us summarize. America's bloodiest and most devastating war was fought, not over the issue of freedom versus slavery, but because of clashing economic interests. At the heart of this conflict were questions of legalized plunder, banking monopolies, and even European territorial expansion into Latin America. The boot print of the Rothschild formula is unmistakable across the graves of American soldiers on both sides.

In the North, neither greenbacks, taxes, nor war bonds were enough to finance the war. So a national banking system was created to convert government bonds into fiat money, and the people lost over half of their monetary assets to the hidden tax of inflation. In the South, printing presses accomplished the same effect, and the monetary loss was total.

The issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation by Lincoln and the naval assistance offered by Tsar Alexander, II, were largely responsible for keeping England and France from intervening in the war on the side of the Confederacy. Lincoln was assassinated by a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society with rumored ties to American politicians and British financiers. Tsar Alexander was assassinated a few years later by a member of the People's Will, a Nihilist secret society in Russia with rumored ties to financiers in New York City, specifically, Jacob Schiff and the firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Company.

As for the Creature of central banking, there had been some victories and some defeats. The greenbacks had for a while deprived the bankers of their override on a small portion of government debt, but the National Banking Act quickly put a stop to that. Furthermore, by using government bonds as backing for the money supply, it locked the nation into perpetual debt. The foundation was firmly in place, but the ultimate structure still needed to be erected. The monetary system was yet to be concentrated into one central-bank mechanism, and the control was yet to taken away from the politicians and placed into the hands of the ankers themselves.

It was time for the Creature to visit Congress.


President Andrew Jackson put his political career on the line in 1832 by vetoing renewal of the charter for the Second Bank of the United States. He called the Bank a monster and declared: "1 am ready with the screws to draw every tooth and then the stumps." Voters approved and re-elected him by a large margin.


"»<«* t

During the Civil War, Lincoln had an insurrection on his hands in the North as well as the South, These two Leslie's engravings depict the 1863 anti-draft riots that occurred in Ohio, Illinois, and New York. In New York, over 1,000 civilians were killed or wounded by federal soldiers. The Civil War was started over economic issues, not slavery. The War was not popular in the North until the issue of slavery was added at a later time to turn it into a moral crusade.

Above and below: New York Historical Society

Nicholas Biddle was head of the Second Bank of the United States. With many Congessmen and Senators financially beholden to him, he wielded great political power. He deliberately created a banking panic and a depression for the purpose of frightening the voters and blaming Jackson's anti-bank policy. Biddle declared: "All other banks and all the merchants may break, but the Bank of the United States shall not break." In the end, he lost the contest. The Bank's charter expired in 1836.






Hulton Deutsch

The crew of the Russian ship, Osliaba, posed for this photograph at Alexandria, Virginia, in 1863. Tsar Alexander II had dispatched his Baltic fleet to Alexandria and his Asiatic fleet to San Fransciso where they were committed to assist the Union-j blockade against the South. This had little to do with freeing the slaves. France ha<J designs on Mexico, and England wanted a divided America. Russia was merely reacting against France and England who were her enemies. The powers of Europ^ were deeply involved in the American Civil War for purposes of their own. Wlthou Russia's intervention, the outcome of the War could have been quite different.

I Montagu Norman (above) was head of the Bank of England during the first years of the Federal Reserve. He is shown here in 1931 aboard the Duchess of York at Southampton. Norman frequently traveled to the U.S. to meet in secret with Benjamin Strong, head of the Federal Reserve. Strong agreed to use the Federal Reserve System to unofficially help Great Britain meet its financial obligations, and ' billions of dollars subsequently flowed from the U.S. It was that outflow that set the stage for America's great depression of the 1930's. William Wentworth (right) met Norman aboard ship in 1929. Norman told him in confidence that there soon was going to be a "shake-out" in the U.S. financial markets. The stock-market crashed just a few months later.


V * >


John D. Rockefeller, III (right) presents a check in the amount of $8,500,000 to Trygve Lie, First Secretary-General of the United Nations. The date is March 25, 1947. The money is for buying the land on Manhattan Island which will house the LIN building. Through the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the [Rockefellers have been in the forefront of the drive for a world government which is to be built upon the principles of socialism and feudalism. They have no doubt that they and their counterparts in other countries will be in control.


John D. Rockefeller, Sr., is shown here giving a dime to a child, while an admirij crowd looks on. This was one of his favorite publicity stunts, it was conceived by H public-relations staff as a means of offsetting adverse publicity regarding his busing dealings. Large-scale philanthropy was an extension of that same technique.



Treasury Department

Betxmann Arcmve

William Jennings Bryan (left) was one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress. He opposed the Federal Reserve Act because it would privately issue money rather than through the government. He was fooled into supporting the bill when phony compromises were made which gave the appearance of public control and government issue but which, in fact, did neither. Bryan was also rewarded with an appointment as Secretary of State. He became disillusioned by Ihe duplicity of his own government and resigned after Wilson failed to warn the public that the Lusitania was carrying munitions. He complained that it was "like Butting women and children in front of an army."

Alan Greenspan (above), was an eloquent spokesman for the gold standard and a critic of the System's subservience to the banking cartel. That was in 1966. After he became a director of J.P. Morgan & Company and was appointed hairman of the Federal Reserve in 1987, he became silent on these issues and did nothing to anger the Creature he now served. Like Bryan, even the best of rnen can be corrupted by the rewards of politics.

J J * A A




Section V


The First National Bank in St. Petersburg, Florida experiences a run on June 12,1930. Angry depositors want their money, butthij bank cannot pay them. Their money has been loaned to others. This scene has been repeated thousand of times throughout history and in every country. It is the consequence of fractional-reserve banking.

John Kenneth Galbraith, well-kno^ historian and professor at Harvard has verified that he was asked to u part of the team that put together Report from Iron Mountain, a think-tank study commissioned by the J Defense Department. The purpose.| the study was to explore novel yw keeping the masses in subserviei* When a copy of the Report was | e£ to the press, the government clai^j it was a hoax. Galbraith confirm^ it was totally authentic.


Monetary and political scientists continue to expound the theoretical merits of the Federal Reserve System. It has become a modern act of faith that economic life simply could not go on without it. But the time for theory is past The Creature moved into its final lair in 1913 and has snorted and thrashed about the landscape ever since. If we wish to know if it is a creature of service or a beast of prey, we merely have to look at what it has done. And, after the test of all those years, we can be sure that what it has done, it will continue to do. Or, to use the Biblical axiom, a tree shall be known by the fruit it bears. Let us now examine the harvest.


Chapter Twenty


The rise of the House of Morgan; Morgan's ties with England and the House of Rothschild; the connection between the Federal Reserve System and the Bank of England; the Fed's decision to inflate American dollars to assist the ailing British economy.

The period between the Civil War and the enactment of the Federal Reserve System was one of great economic volatility and no small measure of chaos. The National Banking Acts of 1863-65 established a system of federally chartered banks which were given significant privilege and power over the monetary system. They were granted a monopoly in the issuance of bank notes, and the government agreed to accept those notes for the payment of taxes and duties. They were allowed to back this money up to ninety per cent with government bonds instead of gold. And they were guaranteed that every bank in the system would have to accept the notes of every other bank at face value, regardless of how shaky their position. The net effect was that the banking system of the United States after the Civil War, far from being free and unregulated as some historians have claimed, was literally a halfway house to central banking.

The notion of being able to generate prosperity simply by creating more money has always fascinated politicians and businessmen, but at no time in our history was it more in vogue than in the second half of the nineteenth century. The nation had gone mad with the Midas complex, a compulsion to turn everything into money through the magic of banking. Personal checks gradually had become accepted in commerce just as readily as bank notes, and the banks obliged their customers by entering into their passbooks just as many little numbers as they cared to "borrow." As Groseclose

observed: 'The manna of cheap money became the universal cry, and as with the Israelites, the easier the manna was acquired, the louder became the complaint, the less willing the people to struggle

for it/' 1

The prevailing philosophy of that time was aptly expressed by Jay Cooke, the famous financier who had marketed the huge Civil War loans of the federal government and who now was raising $100 million for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Cooke had published a pamphlet which was aptly summarized by its own title: How Our National Debt May Be a National Blessing, The Debt is Public Wealth, Political Union, Protection of Industry, Secure Basis for National Currency. "Why," asked Cooke, "should this Grand and Glorious country be stunted and dwarfed—its activities chilled and its very life blood curdled by these miserable 'hard coin' theories—the musty theories of a bygone age." 2 As it turned out, however, the chilling and curdling came, not from the musty hard-coin theories of the past, but from the glittering easy-money theories of the present. The Northern Pacific went bankrupt and, as the mountain of imaginary money invested in it collapsed back into nothing, Cooke's giant investment firm disappeared along with it, triggering the panic of 1873 as it went. Matthew Josephson writes:

"All about the failure of Jay Cooke!" newsboys hawked throughout the country….

The largest and most pious bank in the Western world had fallen with the effect of a thunderclap. Soon allied brokers and national banks and 5,000 commercial houses followed it into the abyss of bankruptcy. All day long, in Wall Street, one suspension after another was announced; railroads failed; leading stocks lost 30 to 40 points, or half their value, within the hour; immeasurable waves of fear altered the movement of greed; the exchanges were closed; the stampede, the "greatest" crisis in American history, was on.


Altogether, there were four major contractions of the money supply during this period: the so-called panics of 1873, 1884, 1893, and 1907. Each of them was characterized by inadequate bank reserves and the suspension of specie payment. Congress reacted,


1. Groseclose, Money and Man, p. 202,

2. Quoted by Rothbard, Mystery, p. 231.

3. Matthew Josephson, The Robber Barons: The Great American Capitalists, 1861-1901 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1934), p-170.

not by requiring an increase in reserves which would have improved the safety margin, but by allowing a decrease. In June of 1874, legislation was passed which permitted the banks to back their notes entirely with government bonds. That, of course, meant more fiat money for Congress, but it also meant that bank notes no longer had any specie backing at all, not even ten per cent. This released over $20 million from bank reserves which then could be used as the basis for pyramiding even more checkbook money into the economy.

It has become accepted mythology that these panics were caused by seasonal demands for farm loans at harvest time. To supply those funds, the country banks had to draw down their cash reserves which generally were deposited with the larger city banks. This thinned out the reserves held in the cities, and the whole system became more vulnerable. Actually that part of the legend is true, but apparently no one is expected to ask questions about the rest of the story. Several of them come to mind. Why wasn't there a painic every Autumn instead of just every eleven years or so? Why didn't all banks—country or city—maintain adequate reserves to cover their depositor demands? And why didn't they do this in all seasons of the year? Why would merely saying no to some loan applicants cause hundreds of banks to fail? The myth falls apart under the weight of these questions.

The truth is that, if it hadn't been seasonal demand by agriculture, the money magicians simply would have found another scapegoat. It would have been "immobile" reserves, lack of "elasticity" in the money supply, "imbalance" of international payments, or some other technocratic smoke screen to cover the real problem which Was—and always has been—fractional-reserve banking itself. The bottom line was that, in spite of an elaborate scheme to pool the minuscule reserves of country banks into larger regional banks where they could be rushed from town to town like a keg of coins on the old frontier, it still didn't work. The loaves and fishes stubbornly refused to multiply.

Morgan prospers when others fail

The monetary expansions and contractions of this period were large waves that capsized thousands of investment ships at sea. But there was one large vessel that, somehow, bobbed up and down With the surges quite well and could be seen throughout the storm

salvaging the abandoned cargoes of those that were in distress. This vessel brought back to port untold riches that once had been the property of others but now belonged to the master of the salvage ship in accordance with rules of the high sea. The captain's name

was J.P. Morgan.

It will be recalled from a previous section that J.P. Morgan and Company was no small player in the world chess match called World War I. Morgan had been chosen by the French and British governments as the official agent to sell their war bonds in the U.S. When the war began to go badly for them, the Morgan interests began to agitate for American entry into the conflict, a move which was calculated to save the loans. The Morgan firm also was the ofh-cial U.S. trade agent for Britain. In violation of international treaty, it handled the purchase and shipping to England of all war material, including the enormous cargo of munitions aboard the Lusitanw

when she went down.

The close relationship between the Morgans and Great Britain was no accident. J.P. Morgan, Jr., was the driving force behind the Council on Foreign Relations, the American branch of a secret society established by Cecil Rhodes for the expansion of the British empire. In truth, the Morgans were more British than American.

The reason for this is to be found in the origin of the Morgan dynasty. It all began with an American merchant from Danvers, Massachusetts, by the name of George Peabody. In 1837, Peabody travelled to England as a bond salesman for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, hoping to find British investors to replace the missing ranks of Americans who, because of a recession at that time, showed little interest in the project. He routinely was rejected by the large investment houses of London but, eventually, his persistence paid off. Stanley Jackson, in his biography of Morgan, says of Peabody: When the panic [in the U.S.] at last started to subside, he called time and again on the big City barons [in London] to assure them that Maryland and other states would honor their bonds. He also continued backing American securities with his personal funds. Buying at almost giveaway levels, he later reaped a rich harvest. He unloaded most of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal bonds and won acclaim back home for returning his $60,000 commission intact to Maryland's meager treasury.

1. Stanley Jackson, J.P. Morgan (New York: Stein and Day, 1983), p. 37.


It was during this trip that Peabody opened an import-export business at 22 Old Broad Street in London and began to provide loans and letters of credit to many of his shippers. That moved him into the investment business specializing in transactions between Britain and the United States.

It was fortunate liming. This was the beginning of a period of rapid expansion in the United States, accompanied by an insatiable need for investment capital and a plethora of bond issues offering tantalizing rates of return which were substantially higher than comparable offerings in Europe. Peabody's firm was in an unusual position to exploit this expanding market, and his firm grew rapidly.

Peabody never married and, as he advanced in years, began to look for someone to carry on the business. The qualifications for such a position were difficult. First, the man had to be an American by birth in order to appear authentic as the representative of American investments. Secondly, he had to be British by instinct and preference. This included being well educated and with good breeding in order to be accepted by the aristocracy in London's financial world. Third, he had to have knowledge of Anglo-American finance. And fourth, Peabody had to like him.


When the Boston merchant, Junius Morgan, met George Peabody at a London dinner party in 1850, little did he realize that the elder financier took an immediate liking to him and began to discreetly inquire into his background and reputation. This began an extended period of business and social contact that eventually ended in 1854 when Junius moved his family to London and became a full partner in the firm which, eventually became known as Peabody, Morgan & Company.

In addition to selling bonds in England for American commercial ventures and state governments, the partnership also became the chief fiscal agent for the Union government during the Civil War, and it was during this period that the firm's great profits pushed it into the top echelons of London's financial fraternity. In 1864, Peabody finally retired and completely turned the business over to Junius who immediately changed the firm's name to J.S. Morgan and Company.

Junius's son, John Pierpont, attended the English High School in Boston but, during much of his youth, was enrolled in European schools and became engulfed in British tradition. He had been born in the United States, however, and that made him ideally suited to carry on the Anglo-American role played so deftly by Peabody and Junius. It was inevitable that the boy would be trained in international finance and groomed to step into his father's shoes. The first move was to find employment for him in 1857 at the New York investment firm of Duncan, Sherman & Company. Seven years later, Junius acquired a competitor New York firm and set his son up as a partner in Dabney, Morgan & Company, which became the New York branch of the London firm. In 1871, with the addition of a third partner, Anthony Drexel from Philadelphia, the firm became Drexel, Morgan & Company. In 1895, following the death of Drexel, there was a final change of name to J.P. Morgan & Company. A branch in Paris became known as Morgan, Harjes & Company.


After the unexpected death of Junius in a carriage accident a few years later, it was decided by Pierpont to reshape the image of the London firm to be a more British operation. This would allow the New York branch to represent the American side with less suspicion of being essentially the same firm. By that time, his son, J.P. Morgan, Jr.—known as Jack by his friends—had already been brought into the firm as a partner, and he was to play an important role in the creation of that image. Biographer John Forbes tells us:

J.P, Morgan, Jr., became a partner in the London house of J.S. Morgan & Co. on January 1,1898, and a fortnight later, with his wife Jessie and their three children,… he left New York and took up residence in England for the next eight years.

Morgan was sent to London to do two specific things. The first was to learn at first hand how the British carried on a banking business under a central banking system dominated by the Bank of England. Morgan, Sr., anticipated the establishment of the Federal Reserve System in the United States and wanted someone who would eventually have authority in the Morgan firms to know how such a system worked. The second was quietly to look about the City and select British partners to convert the elder Morgan's privately owned J.S. Morgan & Co. into a British concern. 1


tThis eventually was accomplished by the addition of Edward Grenfell, a long-time director of the Bank of England, as the new senior partner of what became Morgan, Grenfell & Company. But none of this window dressing altered the reality that J.P. Morgan & Co. in New York remained more British in orientation than American.

A casual reading of the events of this period would lead to the conclusion that Peabody and Morgan were fierce competitors of the Rothschilds. It is true they often bid against each other for the same business, but it is also true that almost every biographer has told how the American newcomers to London were in awe of the great power of the Rothschilds and how they purposely cultivated their friendship, a friendship that eventually became so intimate that the Americans were received as the personal house guests of the Rothschilds. The Morgan firm often worked closely with the House of Rothschild on large joint ventures, but that was—and still is— common practice among large investment houses. In light of subsequent events, however, it is appropriate to consider the possibility that an arrangement had been worked out in which the Peabody/Morgan firm went one step further and, on occasion, became a secret Rothschild agent.


Some writers have suggested that the clandestine relationship began almost from the beginning. Eustace Mullins, for example, writes:

Soon after he arrived in London, George Peabody was surprised to be summoned to an audience with the gruff Baron Nathan Mayer Rothschild. Without mincing words, Rothschild revealed to Peabody that much of the London aristocracy openly disliked Rothschild and refused his invitations. He proposed that Peabody, a man of modest means, be established as a lavish host whose entertainments would soon be the talk of London. Rothschild would, of course, pay all the bills. Peabody accepted the offer and soon became known as the most popular host in London. His annual Fourth-of-July dinner, celebrating American Independence, became extremely popular with the English aristocracy, many of whom, while drinking Peabody's wine, regaled each other with jokes about Rothschild's crudities and bad manners,

1. John Douglas Forbes, ].P. Morgan, Jr. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1981), p. 31.

B. This apparently has not diminished over the years. The December 23, 1991, ffcsue of Business Week (p. 69) reminds us that the CEO of J.P. Morgan & Co., Dennis Weatherstone who lives in Connecticut, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth 11.


without realizing that every drop they drank had been paid for by

Rothschild. 1

Mullins does not give a reference for the source of this story, and one cannot help being skeptical that such details could be proved. Nevertheless, a secret arrangement of this kind is not as absurd as it may sound. There is no question that the Rothschilds were quite capable of such a clandestine relationship and, in fact, this is exactly the kind of deception for which they had become famous. Furthermore, there was ample reason for them to do so. A strong anti-Semitic and anti-Rothschild sentiment had grown up in Europe and the United States, and the family often found it to its advantage to work through agents rather than to deal directly. Derek Wilson tells us: "The name 'Rothschild' was, thus, beginning to be heard in places far removed from sophisticated London and Paris. But the connection with the great bankers was sometimes tenuous.'"

That tenuous connection was precisely the role to be played by August Belmont in the United States, and the anti-Semitism he found there was undoubtedly the reason he changed his name from Schoenberg to Belmont upon landing in New York in 1837. Prior to that, the Rothschild agent had been the firm of J.L. and S.I. Joseph & Company, about as American sounding as one can get. It was not long, however, before the Belmont-Rothschild connection became common knowledge, and the ploy ceased to be effective.

In 1848, the family decided to send Alphonse Rothschild to the United States to check on Belmont's operations and to evaluate the possibility of replacing him with a direct Rothschild representative, perhaps Alphonse himself. After an extended visit, he wrote home:

In a few years from now America will have attracted to itself the greater part of trade with China and the Indies and will be enthroned between the two oceans…. The country possesses such elements of prosperity that one would have to be blind not to recognize them…. I have no hesitation in saying that a Rothschild house, and not just an agency, should be established in America…. Today we are presented with a fine opportunity. Later on, difficulties will of necessity arise as a result of competition from all sides.


1. Eustace Mullins, Secrets of the Federal Reserve (Virginia: Bankers Research Institute, 1983), p. 49.

2. Derek Wilson, p. 176.

3. B. Gille, Histoire de la Maison Rothschild, Vol. 1,1965-1967, p. 581, cited by Derek Wilson, p. 181.

Some historians have expressed amazement over the fact that khe recommendation was never acted upon. Wilson says: "This was the greatest opportunity the Rothschilds ever lost." Those with a more skeptical bent are tempted to wonder if the opportunity really was lost or if it was merely taken in a more indirect fashion. It is significant that, precisely at this time, George Peabody was making \ a name for himself in London and had established a close relationship with Nathan Rothschild. Is it possible that the Peabody firm was given the nod from the Rothschild consortium to represent them in America? And is it possible that the plan included allowing Belmont to operate as a known Rothschild agent while using Peabody & Company as an unknown agent, thus, providing their own competition?

John Moody answers: "The Rothschilds were content to remain a close ally of Morgan rather than a competitor as far as the American field was concerned." Gabriel Kolko says: "Morgan's [activities in 1895-1896 in selling U.S. gold bonds in Europe were based on his alliance with the House of Rothschild." Sereno Pratt says: "These houses may, like J.P. Morgan & Company … represent here the great firms and institutions of Europe, just as August Belmont & Company have long represented the Rothschilds." And George Wheeler writes: "Part of the reality of the day was an ugly resurgence of anti-Semitism…. Someone was needed as a cover. Who better than J. Pierpont Morgan, a solid, Protestant exemplar of capitalism able to trace his family back to pre-Revolutionary times?" 5


With these considerations as background, the meteoric rise of Morgan's star over London and Wall Street can be readily understood. It is no longer surprising, for example, that Peabody & Company was the sole American investment firm to receive a gigantic loan from the Bank of England during the U.S. panic of 1857, a loan which not only saved it from sinking, but made it

1. Derek Wilson, p. 182. |- Moody, p. 27.

3. Kolko, Triumph, p. 142.

4. Sereno S. Pratt, The Work of Wall Street (New York: D. Appleton, 1916; rpt. New York: Arno Press, 1975), p. 349.

5. Wheeler, pp. 17-18,42.

possible to seize and salvage many other ships that were then capsized on Wall Street.

Peabody had become active in the business of discounting acceptances, which is banker language for insuring commercial loans issued for the purchase of goods. This is how it works: The seller issues a bill with a stipulation that he must be paid at a future date, usually ninety days. When the buyer receives the bill, his bank writes the word "accepted" across the face of it and adds the signature of an officer, making it a legally binding contract. In other words, the bank becomes a co-signer on the buyer's credit and guarantees payment even if the buyer should default.

Naturally, there is a price for this guarantee. That price is stated as a percentage of the total bill and it is either added to the amount paid by the buyer or deducted from the amount received by the seller. Actually there is a fee paid at both ends of the transaction, one to the seller's bank which receives the acceptance and pays out the money, and one to the issuing bank which assumes the liability of guaranteeing payment. The sale is said to be "discounted" by the amount paid to the banks. And so it was that Peabody & Company had been active in the business of discounting acceptances, primarily between sellers in England and buyers in the United States.


In the Wall Street panic of 1857, many U.S. buyers were unable to pay their bills, and Peabody and Morgan were expected to make good on their guarantees. Naturally, they didn't have the money, and the firm was facing certain bankruptcy unless the money could be obtained from somewhere. Stanley Jackson provides the details:

The slump was catastrophic for Peabody & Co. It suddenly found itself committed to acceptances of £2 million and with no hope of discharging even part of a stockpile of depreciating bonds on New York brokers and bankers, themselves now desperately short of ready funds. The firm was soon paying out thousands of pounds a day. Without raising a large temporary loan the partners would be forced to suspend business altogether. 1

Ron Chernow, in The House of Morgan, says: "Rumors raced through London that George Peabody and Company was about to fail, a prospect heartily relished by rivals…. The major London

1. Jackson, p. 56.


houses told Morgan they would bail out the firm—but only if Peabody shut down the bank within a year." Jackson continues the narrative:

The clouds lifted dramatically when the Bank of England announced a loan to Peabody's of £800,000, at very reasonable interest, with the promise of further funds up to a million sterling if and when required. It was a remarkable vote of confidence as Thomas Hankey [governor of the Bank of England] had already rejected similar appeals from various American firms who did not measure up to his standards…. Peabody & Company recovered almost overnight and indeed hoisted its turnover above pre-slump levels.

With an almost unlimited access to cash and credit backed by the Bank of England, Peabody and Morgan were able to wade hip deep through the depreciated stocks and bonds that were sold to them at sacrifice prices on Wall Street. Within only a few years, when sanity had been restored to American markets, the assets of the firm had grown to gigantic proportions.

This event tells us a great deal about relationships. If the Rothschilds truly had been competitors, they would have seized upon this opportunity and used their great influence within the Bank of England and the other investment houses in London to squeeze out Peabody, not to assist him. The Barings, in particular, were already trying to accomplish exactly that. The Rothschilds must have believed that a successful Peabody firm ultimately would be in their own best interest.


In later years, Jack Morgan Q.P., Jr.) would assume the role of a staunch anti-Semite, and this undoubtedly strengthened his hand at dealing with American investors and borrowers who were loath to have anything to do with Jewish bankers. That, of course, included officials of the U.S. Treasury. It was particularly helpful during the 1896 rescue of the federal government from a decline in its gold reserves. Fearing that it would not be able to honor its promise to exchange paper money for gold coins, the government was forced to borrow $62 million in gold. The House of Rothschild was an obvious source for such a loan, but the Treasury wanted to avoid an

1 ■ Chernow, p. 11. 2- Jackson, pp. 56-57. 3. Josephson, p. 60.


anti-Semitic backlash. Everything fell into place, however, when Morgan and Company became the primary lender, with Rothschild apparently demoted to the role of a mere participant. Wheeler writes:

The consummate politicians of the Cleveland administration … were certainly aware of the dangers inherent in promoting a rescue effort for the United States Treasury that would be financed by those archetypes of "international Jewish financiers/' the Rothschilds….

During these developments, Pierpont Morgan took no direct part in the salvage effort. Up to this point it looked as if the aging financier—he would be fifty-eight in two months—would be merely one among many in this and whatever subsequent bond arrangements would be necessary. It seemed as though he would move on into old age with little more to round out his obituary than his awkward attempt to profiteer on the sale of rifles at the start of the Civil War, his minor shorting of the Union in gold trading toward the close, and a bold but largely unsuccessful move in the 1880s to impose an eastern capitalist cease-fire on the country's warring railroads.

But there were steps being taken even now to bring him out of the financial backwaters—and they were not being taken by Pierpont Morgan himself. The first suggestion of his name for a role in the recharging of the reserve originated with the London branch of the House of Rothschild.

The apparent anti-Semitism of J.P. Morgan, Jr., was again extremely profitable during World War 1, when it was widely publicized that the Kaiser was funded by German-Jew bankers. To deal with the Morgan group, therefore, as opposed to Kuhn Loeb, for example, was in some circles almost a point of national patriotism.

When J.P. Morgan, Sr., died in 1913, people were shocked to learn that his estate was valued at only $68 million, a paltry sum compared to the fortunes held by the Vanderbilts, Astors, and Rockefellers. It was even more unbelievable when Jack Morgan died in 1943 and left an estate valued at only $16 million. A small amount had been transferred to members of their families prior to their deaths, but that did not account for the vast fortunes which they visibly controlled during their lives. Surely, there had been a bookkeeping sleight-of-hand. On the other hand, it may have been true. When Alphonse Rothschild died in Paris in 1905, it was revealed that his estate contained $60 million in American securities.

The Rothschilds in Britain undoubtedly held an equally large bloc. Furthermore, many of these securities were handled through the House of Morgan. The possibilities are obvious that a major portion of the wealth and power of the Morgan firm was, and always had been, merely the wealth and power of the Rothschilds who had raised it up in the beginning and who sustained it through its entire existence.

How much of Morgan's apparent anti-Semitism was real and how much may have been a pragmatic guise is, in the final analysis, of little importance, and we should not give unwarranted emphasis to it here. Regardless of one's interpretation of the nature of the relationship between the Houses of Morgan and Rothschild, the fact remains that it was close, it was ongoing, and it was profitable to both. If Morgan truly did harbor feelings of anti-Semitism, neither he nor the Rothschilds ever allowed them to get in the way of their business.

To put the London connection into proper perspective, it will be necessary once again to abandon a strict chronological sequence of events and jump ahead to the year 1924. So let us put our cast of characters on hold for a moment and, before allowing them to act out the drama of creating the Federal Reserve System, we shall pick up the storyline eleven years after that event had already taken place.


At the end of World War I, Britain faced an economic dilemma. She had abandoned the gold standard early in the war in order to remove all limits from the creation of fiat money, and the result had been extreme inflation. But now she wanted to regain her former position of power and prestige in the world's financial markets and decided that, to accomplish this, it would be necessary to return to the gold standard. It was decided, further, to set the exchange value of the pound sterling (the British monetary unit) at exactly $4.86 in U.S. currency, which was approximately what it had been before the war began.

To say that she wanted to return to the gold standard actually is misleading. It was not a pure standard in which every unit of money was totally backed by a stated weight of gold. Rather, it was a

1. Wheeler, pp. 16-17.

1. See "Head of Rothschilds' Paris House Is Dead/' The New York Times, May 27, 1905, p. 9.

fractional gold standard in which only a certain fraction of all the monetary units were so backed. But, even that was much to be desired over no backing whatsoever for three reasons. First, it created greater consumer confidence in the money system because of the implied promise to redeem all currency in gold—even though such promises are always broken when based on a fractional-reserve. Secondly, it provided an efficient means of settling financial accounts between nations, gold always being the international medium of choice. Thirdly, it applied some braking action to the production of fiat money, thus, providing a certain degree of restraint to inflation and the boom-bust cycle.

The decision to return to a fractional gold standard, therefore, while it left much to be desired, was still a step in the right direction. But there were two serious problems with the plan. The first was that the exchange value of gold can never be decided by political decree. It will always be determined by the interplay of supply and demand within the marketplace. Trying to fix the number of dollars which people will be willing to exchange for a pound sterling was like trying to legislate how many baseball cards a schoolboy will give for a purple agate. The international currency market is like a huge auction. If the auctioneer sets the opening bid too high, there will be no takers—which is exactly what happened to the pound.

The other problem was that, during the war, England had adopted a massive welfare program and a strong network of labor unions. The reason this was a problem was that the only way to make the pound acceptable in international trade was to allow its value to drop to a competitive and realistic level, and that would have meant, not only a drastic reduction in welfare benefits, but also a general lowering of prices—including the price of labor which is called wages. Politicians were quite willing to allow prices of commodities to move downward, but they did not have the courage to take any action which would reduce either welfare benefits or wages. To the contrary, they continued to bid for votes with promises of still more socialism and easy credit. Prices continued to rise.

1. The government hedged even on this provision. Only bars of gold bullion were available for redemption, not coins. This insured that gold would not circulate as money and that it would be used almost exclusively for large-scale international transactions.



With the value of the pound set artificially high in order to sustain prices, wages, and profit levels, the cost of British exports also became high, and they ceased to be competitive in world markets. With exports in decline, the amount of money coming into the country also declined. England became a debtor nation, which means that her payments to other countries were larger than her income from those countries.

As pointed out in chapter five, if an individual spends more than his income, he must either increase his income, dip into savings, sell off assets, create counterfeit, or borrow. The same is true of nations. England had already borrowed to the limit of her credit and was rapidly exhausting her savings in order to continue purchasing foreign goods to sustain the high standard of living to which she had grown accustomed. She couldn't counterfeit because payments for these imports had to be settled in gold, which meant that, as her national savings were spent, her gold supply moved out of the country. The handwriting was on the wall. If this process continued, the nation soon would be broke. It was a situation, incidentally, which was amazingly parallel to what has plagued the United States since the end of Word War II, and for mostly the same reasons.

By March of 1919, England's trade was so depressed that she had no choice but to let the value of the pound "float," which means to seek its own level in response to supply and demand. Within a year it had dropped to $3.21, a loss of thirty-four per cent. Since the American dollar was the de facto world monetary standard at that time, receiving fewer dollars for each pound sterling meant that the pound was valued lower in all the markets of the world. The result was that the price Britishers had to pay for imported goods was becoming higher while the price she received for the export of her own goods was becoming lower. The British economy was, not only badly anemic, it was experiencing a monetary hangover from the vast inflation of World War I. In other words, it was undergoing a painful but, in the long run, healthy recovery and a return to reality.

Such a condition was intolerable to the monetary and political Pcientists who were determined to find a quick and painless remedy which would allow the binge to continue. Several emergency therapies were administered. The first was to use the Financial

Committee of the League of Nations—which England dominated— to require all the other European nations to follow similar inflationary monetary policies. They were also required to establish what was called the "gold exchange standard," a scheme whereby all countries based their currency, not on gold, but on the pound sterling. In that way, they could all inflate together without causing a disruptive flow of gold from one to the other, and England would act as the regulator and guarantor of the system. In other words, England used the power of her position within the League of Nations to establish the Bank of England as a master central bank for all the other central banks of Europe. It was the prototype for what the Cabal now is doing with Federal Reserve and the World Bank within the framework of the United Nations.


Europe was well in hand, but that still left the United States to be controlled. America had also inflated during the war but not nearly as much. She also had a fractional gold standard, but the stockpile of gold was very large and still growing. As long as America continued to exist as the producer of so many commodities that England needed for import, and as long as the value of the dollar continued to be high, the anemia of the pound sterling would continue.

The therapy chosen for this problem was simple. Perform a monetary transfusion from a healthy patient to the unhealthy one. All the London financiers had to do was find a large and robust specimen who, without asking too many questions, would be willing to become the donor. The specimen selected, of course, was Uncle Sam himself. It was the prototype of the transfer mechanism, previously described, which has been the life support keeping alive the moribund Communist and Socialist countries since World War II.

There are several ways the life blood of one nation can be transfused to another. The most direct method, of course, is to make an outright gift, such as the bizarre American ritual called foreign aid. Another is to make a gift disguised as something else, such as needlessly stationing military bases abroad for the sole purpose of bolstering the foreign economy, or granting a loan to a foreign


1. For an overview of the foregoing developments, see "The Federal Reserve as A Cartelization Device/' by Murray N. Rothbard, in Money in Crisis, Barry N. Siegei ed. (New York: Ballinger, 1984), pp. 115-17.

government at below market rates or—worse—with the full expectation that the loan will never be repaid. But the third way is the most ingenious of them all: to have one nation deliberately inflate its currency at a rate greater than the other nation so that real purchasing power, in terms of international trade, moves from the more inflating to the less inflating nation. This is a method truly worthy of the monetary scientists. It is so subtle and so sophisticated that not one in a thousand would even think of it, much less object to it. It was, therefore, the ideal method chosen in 1925 to benefit England at the expense of America. As Professor Rothbard observed:

In short, the American public was nominated to suffer the burdens of inflation and subsequent collapse [the crash of 1929] in order to maintain the British government and the British trade union movement in the style to which they insisted on becoming accustomed. °

At the inception of the Federal Reserve System, there had been a brief struggle for power but, within a few years, the contest was decisively won by the head of the New York Bank, Benjamin Strong. Strong, it will be recalled, previously had been head of Morgan's Bankers Trust Company and was one of the seven participants at the secret meeting on Jekyll Island. Professor Quigley reminds us that "Strong owed his career to the favor of the Morgan bank…. He became Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as the joint nominee of Morgan and Kuhn, Loeb and Company." 2

Strong was the ideal choice for the cartel. Not the least of his qualifications was his alliance with the financial powers of London. When Montagu Norman was made the Governor of the Bank of England in 1920, there began a close personal relationship between the two central bankers which lasted until Strong's sudden death in 1928.

Norman was considered by many to be eccentric if not mentally unbalanced. Quigley says:

Norman was a strange man whose mental outlook was one of

successfully suppressed hysteria or even paranoia. He had no use for

government and feared democracy. Both of these seemed to him to be

threats to private banking, and thus to all that was proper and

[ precious in human life…. When he rebuilt the Bank of England, he

1 Rothbard, Crisis, pp. 131-32. 2 — Quigley, Tragedy, p. 326.


constructed it as a fortress prepared to defend itself against any popular revolt, with the sacred gold reserves hidden in deep vaults below the level of underground waters which could be released to cover them by pressing a button on the governor's desk. For much of his life, Norman rushed about the world by fast steamship, covering tens of thousands of miles each year, often travelling incognito, concealed by a black slouch hat and a long black cloak, under the assumed name of "Professor Skinner.."..

Norman had a devoted colleague in Benjamin Strong.,,. In the 1920s, they were determined to use the financial power of Britain and of the United States to force all the major countries of the world to go on the gold standard [with an artificial value set for the benefit of England] and to operate it through central banks free from all political control, with all questions of international finance to be settled by agreements by such central banks without interference from governments.

Strong and Norman spent many holidays together, sometimes in Bar Harbor, Maine, but usually in Southern France, and they crisscrossed the Atlantic on numerous other occasions to consult with each other on their plan for controlling the world economy. Lester Chandler tells us: 'Their associations were so frequent and prolonged and their collaboration so close that it is still impossible to determine accurately their relative roles in developing some of the ideas and projects that they shared." The Bank of England provided Strong with an office and a private secretary during his visits, and the two men kept in close contact with each other through the weekly exchange of private cables. All of these meetings and communiques were kept in strict secrecy. When their frequent visits drew inquiries from the press, the standard reply was that they were just friends getting together for recreation or informal chats. By 1926, the heads of the central banks of France and Germany were occasionally included in their meetings which, according to Norman's biographer, were "more secret than any ever held by Royal Arch Masons or by any Rosicrucian Order/

1. Quigley, Tragedy, p. 326.

2. Lester V. Chandler, Benjamin Strong, Central Banker (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1958, reprinted by Arno Press, A New York Times Company, 1978), p. 259.

3. John Hargrave, Montagu Norman (New York: Greystone Press, 1942), p. 108.


The culmination of these discussions took place at a secret meeting in 1927 at which it was agreed that the financial lifeblood of the American people would be donated for a massive transfusion to Great Britain. Galbraith sets the scene:

On July 1, 1927, the Maureiania arrived in New York with two notable passengers, Montagu Norman, Governor of the Bank of England, and Hjalmar Schacht, head of the German Reichsbank…. The secrecy covering the visit was extreme and to a degree ostentatious. The names of neither of the great bankers appeared on the passenger list. Neither, on arriving, met with the press….

In New York the two men were joined by Charles Rist, the Deputy Governor of the Banque de France, and they went into conference with Benjamin Strong, the Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York….

The principle, or in any case the ultimately important, subject of discussion was the persistently weak reserve position of the Bank of England. This, the bankers thought, could be helped if the Federal Reserve System would ease interest rates, encourage lending. Holders of gold would then seek the higher returns from keeping their metal in London. And, in time, higher prices in the United States would ease the competitive position of British industry and labor. 1

Galbraith speaks with soft phrases to cushion a harsh reality. What he is saying is that the purpose of the meeting was to finalize a plan whereby the Governor of the Federal Reserve System was to deliberately create inflation in the U.S. so that American prices would rise, making U.S. goods less competitive in world markets and causing American gold to move to the Bank of England. Governor Strong needed little convincing. That is precisely what he and Norman had planned to do all along and, in fact, he had already begun to implement the plan. The purpose of inviting the Germans and the French to the meeting was to enlist their agreement to create inflation in their countries as well. Schacht and Rist would have no part of it and left the meeting early, leaving Strong and Norman to work out the final details between them.

Strong was more concerned about British fortunes than American. In a letter written in May of 1924 to Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, he discussed the necessity of lowering American interest rates as a step toward money expansion with the

Galbraith, pp. 174-75.

objective of raising American prices relative to those in Great Britain. He acknowledged that the goal was to protect England from having to cut back on wages, profits, and welfare. He said:

At the present time it is probably true that British prices for goods internationally dealt in are as a whole, roughly, in the neighborhood of 10 percent above our prices, and one of the preliminaries to the re-establishment of gold payment by Great Britain will be to facilitate a gradual readjustment of these price levels before monetary reform is undertaken. In other words, this means some small advance in prices here and possibly some small decline in their prices….

The burden of this readjustment must fall more largely upon us than upon them. It will be difficult politically and socially for the British Government and the Bank of England to face a price liquidation in England … in face of the fact that trade is poor and they have over a million unemployed people receiving government aid.


The Mandrake Mechanism of the Federal Reserve went into

high gear on behalf of the Bank of England in 1924, several years

before the historic meeting between Strong, Norman, and Rist.

There were two great surges of monetary expansion. The first came

with the monetization of $492 million in bonds plus almost twice as

much in banker's acceptances. The second burst of inflation came in

the latter half of 1927, immediately following the secret meeting

between Strong, Norman, Schacht, and Rist. It involved the funding

of $225 million in government bonds plus $220 million in banker's

acceptances, for a total increase in bank reserves of $445 million. At

the same time, the rediscount rate to member banks (the interest

rate they pay to borrow from the Fed) was lowered from 4 to 3.5 per

cent, making it easier for those banks to acquire additional

"reserves" out of which they could create even more fiat dollars-

The amount created on top of that by the commercial banks is about

five and a-half times the amount created by the Fed, whic±i means a

total money flood in excess of $10 billion in just six years.


L Chandler, pp. 282-84. i

2. Approximately $1,328,000,000 in the first burst, including bothbonds ana acceptances, plus"$445,000,000 in the second burst equals S^^^Jg amount multiplied by 5.5 equals $9,751,500,000. Add the original $1,773,000,000 used as a base, and the total is $11,524,500,000. This estimate is reasonably close to the figure of $10,661,000,000 published by the Fed itself, which represents the growth in total deposits and currency in circulation during that period. See Depc* its and Currency," p. 34.

Throughout this period, the demand by the System for government bonds and acceptances pushed interest rates down. As anticipated, people with gold then preferred to send it to London where it could earn a higher yield, and America's gold supply began to move abroad. Furthermore, as inflation began to eat its way into the purchasing power of the dollar, the prices of American-made goods began to rise in world markets making them less competitive; U.S. exports began to decline; unemployment began to rise; low interest rates and easy credit led to speculation in the securities markets; and the system lunged full speed ahead toward the Great Crash of 1929. But that part of the story must wait for another chapter.

The technician who actually drafted the final version of the Federal Reserve Act was H. Parker Willis. After the System was created, he was appointed as First Secretary of the Board of Governors. By 1929, he had become disillusioned with the cartel and, in an article published in The North American Review, he wrote:

In the autumn of 1926 a group of bankers, among whom was one with a world famous name, were sitting at a table in a Washington hotel. One of them raised the question whether the low discount rates of the System were not likely to encourage speculation. "Yes," replied the conspicuous figure referred to, "they will, but that cannot be helped. It is the price we must pay for helping Europe."

There can be little doubt that the banker in question was J.P. (Jack) Morgan, Jr. It was Jack who was imbued with English tradition from the earliest age, whose financial empire had its roots in London, whose family business was saved by the Bank of England, who spent six months out of every year of his later life as a resident of England, who had openly insisted that his junior partners demonstrate a "loyalty to Britain," and who had directed the Council on Foreign Relations, the American branch of a secret society dedicated to the supremacy of British tradition and political

1 When an item is in demand, its price goes up. In the case of bonds and other interest-bearing debt instruments, the price is expressed in reverse of its interest yield. The higher the price, the lower the interest. In other words, the higher the price, the more one has to pay to obtain the same dollar return in interest. Therefore, when the Fed creates an artificial demand for bonds or commercial paper, such as acceptances, the interest yield on these items goes down, which makes them more costly as an investment.

2 "The Failure of the Federal Reserve," by H. Parker Willis, The North American Revieiv, May, 1929, p. 553.

3 Chernow, p. 167.


power. It is only with that background that one can fully appreciate the willingness to sacrifice American interests. Indeed, "it is the price we must pay for helping Europe."

In spite of the growing signs of crisis in the American economy, Morgan's protege, Benjamin Strong, was nonetheless pleased with his accomplishment. In a letter written in 1929 to Parker Gilbert, who was the American Agent for Reparations, he said:

Our policy of the last four years, up to this January, has been

effective in accomplishing the purpose for which it was designed. It

has enabled monetary reorganization to be completed in Europe,

which otherwise would have been impossible. It was undertaken with

the well recognized hazard that we were liable to encounter a big

speculation and some expansion of credit… Our course was perfectly

obvious. We had to undertake it. The conditions permitted it, and the

possibility of damage abroad was at a minimum.

Damage abroad? What about damage at home? It is clear that

Strong saw little difference between the two. He was the forerunner

of the internationalists who have operated the Federal Reserve ever

since. He viewed the United States as but one piece in a complex

world financial structure, and what was good for the world was

good for America. And, oh yes, what was good for England was

good for the world!


It is one of the least understood realities of modern history that many of America's most prominent political and financial figures-then as now—have been willing to sacrifice the best interests of the United States in order to further their goal of creating a one-world government. The strategy has remained unchanged since the formation of Cecil Rhodes' society and its offspring, the Round Table Groups. It is to merge the English-speaking nations into a single political entity, while at the same time creating similar groupings for other geopolitical regions. After this is accomplished, all of these groupings are to be amalgamated into a global government, the so-called Parliament of Man. And guess who is planning to control that government from behind the scenes.

This strategy was expressed aptly by Andrew Carnegie in his book, Triumphant Democracy. Expressing concern that England was in decline as a world power, he said:

1. Chandler, p. 458. For additional clarification, also see pp. 459-63-

Reunion with her American children is the only sure way to prevent continued decline…. Whatever obstructs reunion I oppose; whatever promotes reunion I favor. I judge all political questions from this standpoint…

The Parliament of Man and the Federation of the World have already been hailed by the poet, and these mean a step much farther in advance of the proposed reunion of Britain and America…. I say that as surely as the sun in the heavens once shone upon Britain and America united, so surely is it one morning to rise, shine upon, and greet again the reunited state, "The British-American Union/'


After the Civil War, America experienced a series of expansions and contractions of the money supply leading directly to economic booms and busts. This was the result of the creation of fiat money by a banking system which, far from being free and competitive, was a half-way house to central banking. Throughout the chaos, one banking firm, the House of Morgan, was able to prosper out of the failure of others. Morgan had close ties with the financial structure and culture of England and was, in fact, more British than American. Events suggest the possibility that Morgan and Company was in concealed partnership with the House of Rothschild throughout most of this period.

Benjamin Strong was a Morgan man and was appointed as the first Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which rapidly assumed dominance over the System. Strong immediately entered into close alliance with Montagu Norman, Governor of the Bank of England, to save the English economy from depression. This was accomplished by deliberately creating inflation in the U.S. which caused an outflow of gold, a loss of foreign markets, unemployment, and speculation in the stock market, all of which were factors that propelled America into the crash of 1929 and the great depression of the 30s.

Although not covered in this chapter, it must be remembered that the same forces were responsible for American involvement in both world wars to provide the economic and military resources England needed to survive. Furthermore, the key players in this

Andrew Carnegie, Triumphant Democracy (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1893), pp. 530-49. This is a revised edition of the book which was originally written *n 1886. Earlier editions do not contain these words.

action were men who were part of the network of a secret society established by Cecil Rhodes for the expansion of the British empire.

Chapter Twenty-One


The story of how the New York investment bankers formed a cartel to avoid competition; the drafting of proposed legislation to legalize that cartel; the strategy to camouflage the true nature of the legislation; the failure of the deception and the defeat of the bill.

We have travelled to many points on a large circle of time and now are reapproaching the journey to Jekyll Island where this book began.

In the last chapter, we saw how the expansion and contraction Of the money supply following the Civil War led to a series of booms and busts. We saw how the firm of J.P. Morgan & Company, with help from financiers in London, was able to reap great profits from both sides of those cycles but particularly from the recessions. At that point, we jumped ahead in time to examine how J.P. Morgan and other leading American financiers were closely aligned with British interests. We also saw how, in the 1920s, the American dollar was deliberately weakened by Morgan agents within the Federal Reserve System in order to prop up the sagging British economy. Let us return now to the point of departure and allow our cast to resume playing out that most important prior scene: the actual creation of the Federal Reserve System itself.


Historians seeking to justify governmental control of the monetary system have claimed that the booms and busts that occurred during this period were the result of free and competitive banking. As we have seen, however, these destructive cycles were the direct result of the creation and then extinguishing of fiat money through a system of federally chartered national banks—dominated by a handful of firms on Wall Street—which constituted a half-way house to central banking. None of these banks were truly free of state control nor were they competitive in the traditional sense of

hous state


the word. They were in fact subsidized by the government and had many monopolistic privileges. From the perspective of bankers on Wall Street, however, there was a great deal more to be desired. For one thing, America still did not have a "lender of last resort/' That is banker language for a full-blown central bank with the power to create unlimited amounts of fiat money which can be rushed to the aid of any individual bank that is under siege by its depositors wanting their money back. Having a lender of last resort is the only way a bank can create money out of nothing and still be protected from a potential "run" by its customers. In other words, it is the means by which the public is forced to pay a hidden tax of inflation to cover the shortfall of fractional-reserve banking. That is why the so-called virtue of a lender of last resort is taught with great reverence today in virtually all academic institutions offering degrees in banking and finance. It is one of the means by which the system perpetuates itself.

The banks could now inflate more radically and more in unison than before the war but, when they pushed too far and too fast, their bank-generated booms still collapsed into recessions. While this could be highly profitable to the banks, it was also precarious. As the American economy expanded in size, the magnitude of the booms and busts increased also, and it was becoming more and more difficult for firms like Morgan & Company to safely ride out the storm. There was a growing dread that the next collapse might be more than even they could handle.

In addition to these concerns was the fact that many state banks, mostly in the developing Southern and Western states, had elected not to join the national banking system and, consequently, had escaped control by the Wall-Street-Washington axis. As the population expanded south and westward, much of the nation's banking moved likewise, and the new banks were becoming an increasing source of competition to the New York power center. By 1896, the number of non-national banks had grown to sixty-one per cent, and they already held fifty-four per cent of the country's total banking deposits. By 1913, the year in which the Federal Reserve Act was passed, those numbers had swelled to seventy-one per cent non-national banks holding fifty-seven per cent of the nation's deposits. 1 Something had to be done to stop this movement.

Additional competition was developing from the trend in industry to finance itself from profits rather than borrowed capital. Between 1900 and 1910, seventy per cent of American corporate growth was funded internally, making industry increasingly independent of the banks. What the bankers wanted—and what many businessmen wanted also—was a more "flexible" or "elastic" money supply which would allow them to create enough of it at any point in time so as to be able to drive interest rates downward at will. That would make loans to businessmen so attractive they would have little choice but to return to the bankers' stable.


One more problem facing Wall Street was the fact that the biggest investment houses, such as Morgan & Company and Kuhn, Loeb & Company, although they remained as competitors, were by this time so large they had ceased doing serious battle against each other. The concept of trusts and cartels had dawned in America and, to those who already had made it to the top, joint ventures, market sharing, price fixing, and mergers were far more profitable than free-enterprise competition. Ron Chernow explains:

»Wall Street was snowballing into one big, Morgan-dominated institution. In December 1909, Pierpont had bought a majority stake in the Equitable Life Assurance Society from Thomas Fortune Ryan. This gave him strong influence over America's three biggest insurance companies—Mutual Life, Equitable, and New York Life…. His Bankers Trust had taken over three other banks. In 1909, he had gained control of Guaranty Trust, which through a series of mergers he converted into America's largest trust…. The core Money Trust group included J.P. Morgan and Company, First National Bank, and National City Bank…. Wall Street bankers incestuously swapped seats on each others boards. Some banks had so many overlapping directors it was hard to separate them…. The banks also shared large equity stakes in each other….

Why didn't banks just merge instead of carrying out the charade of swapping shares and board members? Most were private partnerships or closely held banks and could have done so. The answer harked back to traditional American antipathy against concentrated financial power. The Morgan-First National-National City trio feared public retribution if it openly declared its allegiance.

1. See Kolko, Triumph, p. 140.

f Chernow, pp. 152-53.

Interlocking directorates and other forms of hidden control were far more safe than open consolidation but they, too, had their limitations. For one thing, they could not penetrate the barriers of similar competitive groupings. As these combines became larger and larger, ways were sought to bring them together at the top rather than to capture the corporate entities which comprised them. Thus was born the concept of a cartel, a "community of interest" among businessmen in the same field, a mechanism for coming together as partners at a high level and to reduce or eliminate altogether the harsh necessity of competition.

All cartels, however, have an internal self-destruct mechanism. Sooner or later, one of the members inevitably becomes dissatisfied with his agreed-upon piece of the pie. He decides to compete once again and seeks a greater share of the market. It was quickly recognized that the only way to prevent this from happening was to use the police power of government to enforce the cartel agreement. The procedure called for the passage of laws disguised as measures to protect the consumer but which actually worked to ensure the elimination of competition. Henry P. Davison, who was a Morgan partner, put it bluntly when he told a Congressional committee in 1912: '1 would rather have regulation and control than free competition/' John D Rockefeller was even more to the point in one of his often repeated comments: "Competition is a



This trend was not unique to the banking industry. Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman provide the historical perspective:

After 1896 and 1900, then, America entered a progressive and predominantly Republican era. Compulsory cartelization in the name of "progressivism" began to invade every aspect of American economic life. The railroads had begun the parade with the formation of the ICC in the 1880s, but now field after field was being centralized and cartelized in the name of "efficiency," "stability," "progress," and the general welfare…. In particular, various big business groups, led by the J.P. Morgan interests, often gathered in the National Civic Federation and other think tanks and pressure organizations, saw that the voluntary cartels and the industrial merger movements of the late

1. Quoted by Gabriel Kolko, Main Currents in Modern American History (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), p.. 13.

2. Quoted by William Hoffman, David: A Report on a Rockefeller (New York: Lyle Stewart, Inc., 1971), p. 29.


f 1890s had failed to achieve monopoly prices in industry. Therefore, they decided to turn to governments, state and federal, to curb the winds of competition and to establish forms of compulsory cartels, in the name, of course, of "curbing big business monopoly" and advancing the general welfare.

The challenge no longer was how to overcome one's adversaries, but how to keep new ones from entering the field. When John D. used his enormous profits from Standard Oil to take control of the Chase National Bank, and his brother, William, bought the National City Bank of New York, Wall Street had yet one more gladiator in the financial arena. Morgan found that he had no choice except to allow the Rockefellers into the club but, now that they were in, they all agreed that the influx of competitors had to be stopped. And that was to be the hidden purpose of federal legislation and government control. Gabriel Kolko explains:

The sheer magnitude of many of the mergers, culminating in U.S. Steel, soon forced him [Morgan] to modify his stand, though at times he would have preferred total control. More important, by 1898 he could not ignore the massive power of new financial competitors and had to treat them with deference. Standard Oil Company, utilizing National City Bank for its investments, had fixed resources substantially larger than Morgan's, and by 1899 was ready to move into the general economy…. The test came, of course, in the Northern Securities battle, which was essentially an expensive draw. Morgan and Standard paid deference to each other thereafter, and mutual toleration among bankers increased sharply…. A benign armed neutrality, rather than positive affection, is as much a reason as any for the high number of interlocks among the five major New York banking houses.

Writing in the year 1919, from the perspective of an inside view of Wall Street at that time, John Moody completes the picture:

This remarkable welding together of great corporate interests could not, of course, have been accomplished if the "masters of capital" in Wall Street had not themselves during the same period become more closely allied. The rivalry of interests which was so characteristic during the reorganization period a few years before had very largely disappeared. Although the two great groups of financiers, represented on the one hand by Morgan and his allies and on the other by the Standard Oil forces, were still distinguishable, they were now

J- Paul and Lehrman, p. 119. 2- Kolko, Triumph, pp. 143-44.

working in practical harmony on the basis of a sort of mutual "community of interest" of their own. Thus the control of capital and credit through banking resources tended to become concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer men…. Before long it could be said, indeed, that two rival banking groups no longer existed, but that one vast and harmonious banking power had taken their pLace.


The monetary contractions of 1879 and 1893 were handled by Wall Street fairly easily and without government intervention, but the crisis of 1907 pushed their resources close to the abyss. It became clear that two changes had to be made: all remnants of banking competition now had to be totally eliminated and replaced by a national cartel; and far greater sums of fiat money had to be made available to the banks to protect them from future runs by depositors. There was now no question that Congress would have to be brought in as a partner in order to use the power of government to accomplish these objectives. Kolko continues:

The crisis of 1907, on the other hand, found the combined banking structure of New York inadequate to meet the challenge, and chastened any obstreperous financial powers who thought they might build their fortunes independently of the entire banking community…. The nation had grown too large, banking had become too complex. Wall Street, humbled and almost alone, turned from its own resources to the national government.

The first step in this direction was openly a stop-gap measure. In 1908, Congress passed the Aldrich-Vreeland Act which, basically, accomplished two objectives. First, it authorized the national banks to issue an emergency currency, called script, to substitute for regular money when they found themselves unable to pay their depositors. Script had been used by the bank clearing houses during the panic of 1907 with partial success, but it had been a bold experiment with no legal foundation. Now Congress made it quite legal and, as Galbraith observed, "The new legislation regularized these arrangements. This could be done against the security of sundry bonds and commercial loans—these could, in effect, be turned into cash without being sold/'


1. Moody, pp. 117-18,150

2. Ko\ko f Triumph, p. 144.

3. This legalized script was used only once—in 1914 at the outbreak of World War I. See Galbraith, p. 120.

The second and perhaps most important feature of the Act was to create a National Monetary Commission to study the problems of American banking and then make recommendations to Congress on how to stabilize the monetary system. The commission consisted of nine senators and nine representatives. The Vice-Chairman was Representative Edward Vreeland, a banker from the Buffalo area. The chairman, of course, was Senator Nelson Aldrich. From the start, it was obvious that the Commission was a sham. Aldrich conducted virtually a one-man show. The so-called factfinding body held no official meetings for almost two years while Aldrich toured Europe consulting with the top central bankers of England, France, and Germany. Three-hundred thousand tax dollars were spent on these junkets, and the only tangible product of the Commission's work was thirty-eight massive volumes of the history of European banking. None of the members of the Commission were ever consulted regarding the official recommendations issued by Aldrich in their name. Actually, these were the work of Aldrich and six men who were not even members of the Commission, and their report was drafted, not in a bare Congressional conference room in Washington, but in a plush private hunting resort in Georgia.

And this event finally brings us back to that cold, blustery night at the New Jersey railway station where seven men, representing one-fourth of the wealth of the world, boarded the Aldrich private car for a clandestine journey to Jekyll Island.


As summarized in the opening chapter of this book, the purpose of that meeting was to work out a plain to achieve five primary objectives:

1. How to stop the growing influence of small, rival banks and to insure that control over the nation's financial resources would remain in the hands of those present;

2. How to make the money supply more elastic in order to reverse

the trend of private capital formation and to recapture the industrial loan market; 3- How to pool the meager reserves of all the nation's banks into one large reserve so that at least a few of them could protect


4. How to shift the inevitable losses from the owners of the banks to

the taxpayers;

5. How to convince Congress that the scheme was a measure to

protect the public.

It was decided that the first two objectives could be achieved simply by drafting the proper technical language into a cartel agreement and then re-working the vocabulary into legislative phraseology. The third and fourth could be achieved by including in that legislation the establishment of a lender of last resort; in other words, a true central bank with the ability to create unlimited amounts of fiat money. These were mostly technical matters and, although there was some disagreement on a few minor points, generally they were content to follow the advice of Paul Warburg, the man who had the most experience in these matters and who was regarded as the group's theoretician. The fifth objective was the critical one, and there was much discussion on how to achieve it.

To convince Congress and the public that the establishment of a banking cartel was, somehow, a measure to protect the public, the Jekyll Island strategists laid down the following plan of action:

1. Do not call it a cartel nor even a central bank.

2. Make it look like a government agency.

3. Establish regional branches to create the appearance of

decentralization, not dominated by Wall Street banks.

4. Begin with a conservative structure including many sound

banking principles knowing that the provisions can be quietly altered or removed in subsequent years.

5. Use the anger caused by recent panics and bank failures to create

popular demand for monetary reform.

6. Offer the Jekyll Island plan as though it were in response to that


7. Employ university professors to give the plan the appearance of

academic approval.

8. Speak out against the plan to convince the public that Wall Street

bankers do not want it.


Americans would never have accepted the Federal Reserve System if they had known that it was half cartel and half central bank. Even though the concept of government protectionism was

rapidly gaining acceptance in business, academic, and political circles, the idea of cartels, trusts, and restraint of free competition was still quite alien to the average voter. And within the halls of Congress, any forthright proposal for either a cartel or a central bank would have been soundly defeated. Congressman Everis Hayes of California warned: "Our people have set their faces like steel against a central bank/' 1 Senator John Shafroth of Colorado declared: "The Democratic Party is opposed to a central bank." 2 The monetary scientists on Jekyll Island decided, therefore, to devise a name for their new creature which would avoid the word bank altogether and which would conjure the image of the federal government itself. And to create the deception that there would be no concentration of power in the large New York banks, the original plan calling for a central bank was replaced by a proposal for a network of regional institutions which supposedly would share and diffuse that power.

Nathaniel Wright Stephenson, Senator Aldrich's biographer, tells us: "Aldrich entered the discussion at Jekyll Island an ardent convert to the idea of a central bank. His desire was to transplant the system of one of the great European banks, say the Bank of England, bodily to America." 3 Galbraith explains further: "It was his [Senator Aldrich's] thought to outflank the opposition by having not one central bank but many. And the word bank would itself be avoided/

Frank Vanderlip tells us the regional concept was merely window dressing and that the network was always intended to operate as one central bank. He said: 'The law as enacted provided for twelve banks instead of one,… but the intent of the law was to coordinate the twelve through the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, so that in effect they would operate as a central bank." 5

If not using the word bank was essential to the Jekyll Island plan, avoiding the word cartel was even more so. Yet, the cartel nature of the proposed central bank was obvious to any astute observer. In an address before the American Bankers Association,

1 Congressional Record, pL 5,1913, p. 4655.

2 Congressional Record, pt 6,1913, p. 6021.

3 Stephenson, p. 378.

4 Galbraith, p. 122.

5 Vanderlip, "From Farm Boy to Financier/' p, 72.


Aldrich laid it out plainly. He said: 'The organization proposed is not a bank, but a cooperative union of all the banks of the country for definite purposes." Two years later, in a speech before that same group of bankers, A. Barton Hepburn of Chase National Bank was even more candid. He said: "The measure recognizes and adopts the principles of a central bank. Indeed, if it works out as the sponsors of the law hope, it will make all incorporated banks together joint owners of a central dominating power/' It would be difficult to find a better definition of the word cartel than that.

The plan to structure the Creature conservatively at the start and then to remove the safeguards later was the brainchild of Paul Warburg. The creation of a powerful Federal Reserve Board was also his idea as a means by which the regional branches could be absorbed into a central bank with control safely in New York. Professor Edwin Seligman, a member of the international banking family of J&W Seligman, and head of the Department of Economics at Columbia University, explains and praises the plan:

It was in my study that Mr. Warburg first conceived the idea of presenting his views to the public. … In its fundamental features the Federal Reserve Act is the work of Mr. Warburg more than any other man in the country…. The existence of a Federal Reserve Board creates, in everything but in name, a real central bank… Mr. Warburg had a practical object in view…. It was incumbent on him to remember that the education of the country must be gradual and that a large part of the task was to break down prejudices and remove suspicion. His plans therefore contain all sorts of elaborate suggestions designed to guard the public against fancied dangers and to persuade the country that the general scheme was at all practicable. It was the hope of Mr. Warburg that with the lapse of time it may be possible to eliminate

1. Krooss, Vol. HI, 1969 edition, p. 1202.

2. Quoted by Kolko, Triumph, p. 235.

3. Most historians share Seligman's view regarding Warburg's seminal role in the creation of the Federal Reserve System. Certain participants in the drama, however, apparently eager to capture some of the spotlight of fame for themselves, are in vigorous disagreement. For example, William McAdoo, Secretary of the Treasury at the time, says: "This assertion is so completely erroneous that it must have emanated from ignorance rather than mendacity." See McAdoo, p. 281. Competing egos notwithstanding, an objective reading of the record leads to the conclusion that, while others no doubt provided great input in the areas of technical drafts and political negotiations, the essence of the plan, its overall concept and the rationale that was put forward to sell the plan to Congress was essentially the product of Warburg's twisted genius.


from the law not a few clauses which were inserted largely, at his suggestion, for educational purposes. 1


The first draft of the Jekyll Island plan was submitted to the Senate by Nelson Aldrich but, due to the Senator's unexpected illness when he returned to Washington, it was actually written by Frank Vanderlip and Benjamin Strong. 2 Although it was co-authored by Congressman Vreeland, it immediately became known as the Aldrich Bill. Vreeland, by his own admission, had little to do with it either, but his willingness to be a team player in the game of national deception was of great value. Writing in the August 25, 1910, issue of The Independent, which incidentally was owned by Aldrich himself and was anything but independent, Vreeland said: "The bank I propose…. is an ideal method of fighting monopoly. It could not possibly itself become a monopoly and it would prevent other banks combining into monopolies. With earnings limited to four and one-half per cent, there could not be a monopoly.

What an amazing statement. It is brilliantly insidious because of the half truths it contains. It is true that monopolies cannot—or at least do not-operate at four and one-half per cent interest. But it is untrue that the Federal Reserve banks were to be held to that lowly rate. It is true that four per cent was the stated amount they would earn on the stock purchased in the System, but it is also true that the real profits were to be made, not from stock dividends, but from the harvesting of interest payments on fiat money. To this was to be added the profits made possible from operating on smaller safety margins yet still being protected from bankruptcy. Furthermore, being on the inside of the nation's central bank would make Jhem privy to the important money-making data and decisions long before their competitors. The profits that could be derived from such an advantage would be equal to or even greater than those from the Mandrake Mechanism. It is true that the Federal Reserve was to be a private institution, but it is certainly not true

| Edwin Seligman, Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, Vol IV, No. 4

(New York: 1914), pp. 3-6.

2- Vanderlip, "From Farm Boy to Financier," p. 72.

l„/ A ? etter . ^ste™ of Banking and Currency," by Edward B. Vreeland, The '"dependent, August 25,1910, p. 394.

that this was to mark the disappearance of the government from the banking business. In fact, it was just the opposite, because it marked the appearance of the government as a partner with private bankers and as the enforcer of their cartel agreement. Government would now become more deeply involved than ever before in our history.

Half truths and propaganda notwithstanding, the organizational structure proposed by the Aldrich Bill was similar in many ways to the old Bank of the United States. It was to have the right to convert federal debt into money, to loan that money to the government, to control the affairs of regional banks, and to be the depository of government funds. The dissimilarities were in those provisions which gave the Creature more privilege and power than the older central bank. The most important of these was the right to create the official money of the United States. For the first time in our history, the paper notes of a banking institution became legal tender, not only for public debts, but for private ones as well. Henceforth, anyone refusing to accept these notes would be sent to prison. The words "The United States of America" were to appear on the face of every note along with the great seal of the United States Treasury. And, of course, the signature of the Treasurer himself would be printed in a conspicuous location. All of this was designed to convince the public that the new institution was surely an agency of the government itself.


Now that the basic strategy was in place and a specific bill had been drafted, the next step was to create popular support for it. This was the critical part of the plan and it required the utmost finesse. The task actually was made easier by the fact that there was a great deal of genuine opposition to the concentration of financial power on Wall Street. Two of the most outspoken critics at that time were Wisconsin Senator Robert LaFollette and Minnesota Congressman Charles Lindbergh. Hardly a week passed without one of them delivering a scathing speech against what they called "the money trust" which was responsible, they said, for deliberately creating economic booms and busts in order to reap the profits of salvaging foreclosed homes, farms and businesses. If anyone doubted that such a trust really existed, their skepticism was abruptly terminated when LaFollette publicly charged that the


entire country was controlled by just fifty men. The monetary scientists were not dismayed nor did they even bother to deny it. In fact, when George F. Baker, who was a partner of J.P. Morgan, was asked by reporters for his reaction to LaFollette's claim, he replied that it was totally absurd. He knew from personal knowledge, he said, that the number was not more than eight! 1

The public was, of course, outraged, and the pressure predictably mounted for Congress to do something. The monetary scientists were fully prepared to turn this reaction to their own advantage. The strategy was simple: (1) set up a special Congressional committee to investigate the money trust; (2) make sure the committee is staffed by friends of the trust itself; and (3) conceal the full scope of the trust's operation while revealing just enough to intensify the public clamor for reform. Once the political climate was hot enough, then the Aldrich Bill could be put forward, supposedly as the answer to that need.

I This strategy was certainly not new. As Congressman Lindbergh explained: ■n

Ever since the Civil War, Congress has allowed the bankers to completely control financial legislation. The membership of the Finance Committee in the Senate and the Committee on Banking and Currency in the House, has been made up of bankers, their agents and attorneys. These committees have controlled the nature of the bills to be reported, the extent of them, and the debates that were to be held on them when they were being considered in the Senate and the House. No one, not on the committee, is recognized … unless someone favorable to the committee has been arranged for. 2


The Pujo Committee was a perfect example of this kind of chicanery. It was a subcommittee of the House Committee on Banking and Currency and it was given the awesome responsibility of conducting the famous "Money Trust" investigation of 1912. Its chairman was Arsene Pujo of Louisiana who, true to form, was regarded by many as a spokesman for the "Oil Trust" The hearings dragged on for eight months producing volumes of dry statistics and self-serving testimony of the great Wall Street bankers themselves. At no time were the financiers asked any questions about

I MulJins, p. 16. 2. Lindbergh, p. 76.


their affairs with foreign investment houses. Nor were they asked about their response to competition from new banks. There were no questions about their plan to protect the speculative banks from currency drains; or their motive for wanting artificially low interest rates; or their formula for passing on their losses to the taxpayer. The public was given the impression that Congress was really prying off the lid of scandal and corruption, but the reality was more like a fireside chat between old friends. No matter what vagaries or absurdities fell from the bankers' lips, it was accepted without contest.

These hearings were conducted largely as a result of the public accusations made by Congressmen Lindbergh and Senator LaFollette. Yet, when they requested to appear before the Committee, both of them were denied access. The only witnesses to testify were the bankers themselves and their friends. Kolko tells us:

Fortunately for the reformers, the Pujo Committee swung into high gear in its investigation of the Money Trust during the summer of 1912 and for eight months frightened the nation with its awesome, if inconclusive, statistics on the power of Wall Street over the nation's economy…. Five banking firms, the elaborate tables of the committee showed, held 341 directorships in 112 corporations with an aggregate capitalization of over $22 billion. The evidence seemed conclusive, and the nation was suitably frightened into realizing that reform of the banking system was urgent—presumably to bring Wall Street under


The orgy of Wall Street was resurrected by the newspapers, who quite ignored the fact that the biggest advocates of banking reform were the bankers themselves, bankers with a somewhat different view of the problem…. Yet it was largely the Pujo hearings that made the topic of banking reform a serious one.

Kolko has touched upon an interesting point. Almost no one put any significance to the fact that some of the biggest bankers on Wall Street were the first marchers to lead the parade for banking reform. The most conspicuous among these was Paul Warburg of Kuhn, Loeb & Company who, for seven years prior to passage of the Federal Reserve Act, travelled around the country doing nothing but giving "reform" speeches and writing scholarly articles for the media, including an eleven-part series for The New York Times. Spokesmen from the houses of Morgan and Rockefeller

1. Kolko, Triumph, p. 220.

joined in and made regular appearances before professional and political bodies echoing the call for reform. Yet no one paid any attention to the unmistakable odor of fish.


The speeches and articles by big-name bankers were never intended to sway the public at large. They served the function of putting forth the basic arguments and the technical details which were to be the starting point for the work of others who could not be accused of having self-serving motives. To carry the message to the voters, it was decided that representatives from the world of academia should be enlisted to provide the necessary aura of respectability and intellectual objectivity. For that purpose, the banks contributed a sum of $5 million to a special "educational" fund, and much of that money found its way into the environs of three universities: Princeton, Harvard, and the University of Chicago, all of which had been recipients of large endowments from the captains of industry and finance.

1 It was precisely at this time that the study of "economics" was becoming a new and acceptable field, and it was not difficult to find talented but slightly hungry professors who, in return for a grant or a prestigious appointment, were eager to expound the virtues of the Jekyll Island plan. Not only was such academic pursuit financially rewarding, it also provided national recognition for them as pioneers in the new field of economics. Galbraith says:

Under Aldrich's direction a score or more of studies of monetary institutions in the United States and, more particularly, in other countries were commissioned from the emergent economics profession. It is at least possible that the reverence in which the Federal Reserve System has since been held by economists owes something to the circumstance that so many who pioneered in the profession participated also in its [the System's] birth.

The principal accomplishment of the bank's educational fund Was to create an organization called the National Citizens' League. Although it was entirely financed and controlled by the banks under the personal guidance of Paul Warburg, it presented itself merely as a group of concerned citizens seeking banking reform. The function of the organization was to disseminate hundreds of

| Galbraith, p. 121.

thousands of "educational" pamphlets, to organize letter-writing campaigns to Congressmen, to supply quotable material to the news media, and in other ways to create the illusion of grass-roots support for the JekylJ Island plan.

Nathaniel Stephenson, in his biography of Nelson Aldrich, says: "The league was non-partisan. It was careful to abstain from emphasizing Senator Aldrich…. First and last, hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent by the league in popularizing financial science/'

The man chosen to head up that effort was an economics professor by the name of J. Laurence Laughlin. Kolko says that "Laughlin, nominally very orthodox in his commitment to laissez faire theory, was nevertheless a leading academic advocate of banking regulation … and was sensitive to the needs of banking as well as the realities of politics." Did his appointment bring intellectual objectivity to the new organization? Stephenson answers: "Professor Laughlin of the University of Chicago was given charge of the League's propaganda." To which Congressman Lindbergh adds this reminder: "The reader knows that the University of Chicago is an institution endowed by John D. Rockefeller with nearly fifty million dollars. It may truly be said to be the Rockefeller University.

This does not necessarily mean that Laughlin was purchased like so many pounds of hamburger and told by Rockefeller what to say and do. It doesn't work that way. The professor undoubtedly believed in the virtue of the Jekyll Island plan, and the evidence is that he pursued his assignment with enthusiastic sincerity. But there is no doubt that he was selected for his new post precisely because he did support the concept of a partnership between banking and government as a healthy substitute for "destructive" competition. In other words, if he didn't honestly agree with John D. that competition was a sin, he probably never even would have been given a professorship in the first place.

1. Stephenson, pp. 38&-89.

2. Kolko, Triumph, p. 187.

3. Stephenson, p. 388.

4. Lindbergh, p. 131.

5. For an excellent overview of the formation and activities of the League, see Kolko, Triumph, pp. 186-228.



Woodrow Wilson was yet another academic who was brought into the national spotlight as a result of his views on banking reform. It will be recalled from a previous chapter that Wilson's name had been put into nomination for President at the Democratic national convention largely due to the influence of Col. Edward Mandell House. But that was 1912. Ten years prior to that, he was relatively unknown. In 1902 he had been elected as the president of Princeton University, a position he could not have held without the concurrence of the University's benefactors among Wall Street bankers. He was particularly close with Andrew Carnegie and had become a trustee of the Carnegie Foundation.

Two of the most generous donors were Cleveland H. Dodge and Cyrus McCormick, directors of Rockefeller's National City Bank. They were part of that Wall Street elite which the Pujo ■ Committee had described as America's "Money Trust" Both men had been Wilson's classmates at Princeton University. When Wilson returned to Princeton as a professor in 1890, Dodge and McCormick were, by reason of their wealth, University trustees, and they took it upon themselves to personally advance his career' Ferdinand Lundberg, in America's Sixty Families, says this:

For nearly twenty years before his nomination Woodrow Wilson had moved in the shadow of Wall Street…. In 1898 Wilson, his salary unsatisfactory, besieged with offers of many university presidencies threatened to resign. Dodge and McCormick thereupon constituted themselves his financial guardians, and agreed to raise the additional informal stipendium that kept him at Princeton. The contributors to this private fund were Dodge, McCormick, and Moses Taylor Pyne and Percy R. Pyne, of the family that founded the National City Bank In 1902 this same group arranged Wilson's election as president of the university.

A grateful Wilson often had spoken in glowing terms about the rise of vast corporations and had praised J.R Morgan as a great American leader. He also had come to acceptable conclusions about the value of a controlled economy. "The old time of individual competition is probably gone by," he said. "It may come back; I don't know; it will not come back within our time, I dare say." 2

Lundberg, pp. 114-15. Greider, p. 276.

H.S. Kenan tells us the rest of the story:

Woodrow Wilson, President of Princeton University, was the first prominent educator to speak in favor of the Aldrich Plan a gesture SSi immediately brought him the Govemorsh.p of New Jersey ^ later the Presidency of the United States. During the panic of 1907 Wilson declared that: "all this trouble could be averted if we appointed a committee of six or seven public-spirited men like J.P. Morgan to handle the affairs of our country.'


One of the disagreements at the Jekyll Island meeting was over the name to be attached to the proposed legislation^ Warburg, being the master psychologist he was, wanted it to be called the National Reserve Bill or the Federal Reserve Bill, something which would conjure up the dual images of government and reserves, both of which were calculated to be subconsciously appealing. Aldrich, on the other hand, acting out of personal ego, insisted that his name be attached to the bill. Warburg pointed out that the Aldrich name was associated in the minds of the public with Wall Street interests, and that would be an unnecessary obstacle to achieving their goal. Aldrich said that, since he had been the chairman of the National Monetary Commission which was created specifically to make recommendations for banking reform, people would be confused if his name were not associated with the bill The debate, we are told, was long and heated. But, in the end, the politician's ego won out over the banker's logic.

Warburg, of course, was right. Aldrich was well known as a Republican spokesman for big business and banking His loyal >es were further publicized by recently sponsored tariff bills to protect the tobacco and rubber trusts. The Aldrich name on a bill for banking reform was an easy target for the oppositionOn December 15, 1911, Congressman Lindbergh rose before the House or Representatives and took careful aim:

The Aldrich Plan is the Wall Street Plan. It is a broad challenge to the government by the champion of the money trust. Itmeans another panic, if necessary, to intimidate the people., paid by the government to represent the people, proposes a plan for the trust-instead.

1. HS.Kenan,TheFederalReserveBank (Los Angeles: Noontide Press, 1966),p. 105-

2. Quoted by H.S. Kenan, p. 118.


The Aldrich Bill never came to a vote. When the Republicans lost control of the House in 1910 and then lost the Senate and the Presidency in 1912, any hope there may have been of putting through a Republican bill was lost. Aldrich had been voted out of the Senate by his constituents, and the ball was now squarely in the court of the Democrats and their new president, Woodrow Wilson.

How this came to pass is an interesting lesson on reality politics, and we shall turn to that part of the story next.


Banking in the period immediately prior to passage of the Federal Reserve Act was subject to a myriad of controls, regulations, subsidies, and privileges at both the federal and state levels. Popular history portrays this period as one of unbridled competition and free banking. It was, in fact, a half-way house to central banking. Wall Street, however, wanted more government participation. The New York bankers particularly wanted a "lender of last resort" to create unlimited amounts of fiat money for their use in the event they were exposed to bank runs or currency drains. They also wanted to force all banks to follow the same inadequate reserve policies so that more cautious ones would not draw down the reserves of the others. An additional objective was to limit the growth of new banks in the South and West.

This was a time of growing enchantment with the idea of trusts and cartels. For those who had already made it to the top, competition was considered chaotic and wasteful. Wall Street was snowballing into two major banking groups: the Morgans and the Rockefellers, and even they had largely ceased competing with each other in favor of cooperative financial structures. But to keep these cartel combines from flying apart, a means of discipline was needed to force the participants to abide by the agreements. The federal government was brought in as a partner to serve that function.

To sell the plan to Congress, the cartel reality had to be hidden and the name "central bank" had to be avoided. The word Federal 'was chosen to make it sound like it was a government operation; the word Reserve was chosen to make it appear financially sound; fend the word System (the first drafts used the word Association) was chosen to conceal the fact that it was a central bank. A structure of 12 regional institutions was conceived as a further ploy to create

the illusion of decentralization, but the mechanism was designed from the beginning to operate as a central bank closely modeled after the Bank of England.

The first draft of the Federal Reserve Act was called the Aldrich Bill and was co-sponsored by Congressman Vreeland, but it was not the work of either of these politicians. It was the brainchild of banker Paul Warburg and was actually written by bankers Frank Vanderlip and Benjamin Strong.

Aldrich's name attached to a banking bill was bad strategy, because he was known as a Wall Street Senator. His bill was not politically acceptable and was never released from committee. The groundwork had been done, however, and the time had arrived to change labels and political parties. The measure would now undergo minor cosmetic surgery and reappear under the sponsorship of a politician whose name would be associated in the public mind with anti-Wall Street sentiments.

Chapter Twenty-Two




The second attempt to pass legislation to legalize the banking cartel; the bankers 1 selection of Woodrow Wilson as a Presidential candidate; their strategy to get him elected; the role played by Wilson to promote the cartels legislation; the final passage of the Federal Reserve Act.

The election of 1912 was a textbook example of power politics and voter deception. The Republican President, William Howard Taft, was up for reelection. Like most Republicans of that era, his political power was based upon the support of big-business and banking interests in the industrial regions. He had been elected to his first term in the expectation that he would continue the protectionist policies of his predecessor, Teddy Roosevelt, particularly in the expansion of cartel markets for sugar, coffee, and fruit from Latin America. Once in office, however, he grew more restrained in these measures and earned the animosity of many powerful Republicans, The ultimate breach occurred when Taft refused to support the Aldrich Plan. He objected, not because it would create a central bank which would impose government control over the economy, but because it would not offer enough government control. He recognized that the Jekyll Island formula Would place the bankers into the driver's seat with only nominal participation by the government. He did not object to the ancient partnership between monetary and political scientists, he merely Wanted a greater share for the political side. The bankers were not adverse to negotiating the balance of power nor were they unwilling to make compromises, but what they really needed at this juncture was a man in the White House who, instead of being

lukewarm on the plan, could be counted on to become its champion and who would use his influence as President to garner support from the fence straddlers in Congress. From that moment forward, Taft was marked for political extinction.

This was a period of general prosperity, and Taft was popular with the voters as well as with the rank-and-file Party organization He had easily won the nomination at the Republican convention, and there was little doubt that he could take the presidential election as well. Wilson had been put forth as the Democratic challenger, but his dry personality and aloof mannerisms had failed to arouse sufficient voter interest to make him a serious contender.


However, when Teddy Roosevelt returned from his latest African safari, he was persuaded by Morgan's deputies, George Perkins and Frank Munsey, to challenge the President for the Party's nomination. When that effort failed, he was then persuaded to run against Taft as the "Bull Moose" candidate on the Progressive Party ticket. It is unclear what motivated him to accept such a proposition, but there is no doubt regarding the intent of his backers. They did not expect Roosevelt to win, but, as a former Republican President, they knew he would split the Party and, by pulling away votes from Taft, put Wilson into the White House.

Presidential campaigns need money and lots of it. The Republican Party was well financed, largely from the same individuals who now wanted to see the defeat of its own candidate. It would not be possible to cut off this funding without causing too many questions. The solution, therefore, was to provide the financial resources for all three candidates, with special attention to the needs of Wilson and Roosevelt.

Some historians, while admitting the facts, have scoffed at the conclusion that deception was intended. Ron Chernow says: "By 1924, the House of Morgan was so influential in American politics that conspiracy buffs couldn't tell which presidential candidate was more beholden to the bank." 1 But one does not have to be a conspiracy buff to recognize the evidence of foul play. Ferdinand Lundberg tells us:

1. Chemow, p. 254.


J.P. Morgan and Company played the leading role in the national election of 1912…. Roosevelt's preconvention backers were George W. Perkins and Frank Munsey. These two, indeed, encouraged Roosevelt to contest Taffs nomination…. Munsey functioned in the newspaper field for J.P. Morgan and Company—buying, selling, creating, and suppressing newspapers in consonance with J.P. Morgan's shifting needs…. Perkins resigned from J.P. Morgan and Company on January 1,1911, to assume a larger political role….

The suspicion seems justified that the two were not over-anxious to have Roosevelt win. The notion that Perkins and Munsey may have w