In his farewell address, Andrew Jackson gave a warning to the American people regarding central banking and fiat currency.
You may note that the dangers of central banking are nothing new, nothing ‘modern’. Despite those who wish to describe the Constitution as a ‘living document’, our Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were talking about. And the issues they dealt with were the same we deal with today. The Constitution means exactly what it says, as did our Founding Fathers when they discussed issues of government and economics. For relevant quotes from our Founding Fathers, and others, click here
An exceprt from President Jackson’s address (emphasis mine):
…..we find nothing that has produced such deep seated evil as the course of legislation in relation to the currency. The Constitution of the United States unquestionably intended to secure to the people a circulating medium of gold and silver. But the establishment of a national bank by Congress… drove from general circulation the constitutional currency, and substituted one of paper in its place.
The paper system being founded on public confidence, and having of itself no intrinsic value, it is liable to great and sudden fluctuation: thereby rendering property insecure, and the wages of labor unsteady and uncertain. The corporations which create the paper money cannot be relied upon to keep the circulating medium uniform in amount. In times of prosperity, when confidence is high, they are tempted, by the prospect of gain, or by the influence of those who hope to profit by it, to extend their issues of paper beyond the bounds of discretion and the reasonable demands of business. And when these issues have been pushed on, from day to day, until public confidence is at length shaken, then a reaction takes place, and they immediately withdraw the credits they have given; suddenly curtail their issues; and produce an unexpected and ruinous contraction of the circulating medium, which is felt by the whole community. The banks, by this means, save themselves, and the mischievious [sic] consequences of their imprudence or cupidity are visited upon the public.
….if your currency continues as exclusively paper as it now is, it will foster this eager desire to amass wealth without labor; it will multiply the number of dependents on bank accommodations and bank favors; the temptation to obtain money at any sacrifice will become stronger and stronger, and inevitably lead to corruption, which will find its way into your public councils, and destroy at no distant day, the purity of your government. Some of the evils which arise from this system of paper, press with peculiar hardship upon the class of society least able to bear it. A portion of this currency frequently becomes depreciated or worthless… and the losses occasioned by them are commonly thrown upon the laboring classes of society, whose situation and pursuits put it out of their power to guard themselves from these impositions, and whose daily wages are necessary for their subsistence.
But when the charter for the Bank of the United States was obtained from Congress, it perfected the schemes of the paper system…The immense capital, and peculiar privileges bestowed upon it, enable it to exercise despotic sway over the other banks in every part of the country.— From its superior strength, it could seriously injure, if not destroy, the business of any of them which might incur its resentment; and it openly claimed for itself the power of regulating the currency throughout the United States.
….If such was its power in a time of peace, what would it not have been in a season of war, with an enemy at your doors? No nation but the freemen of the United States could have come out victorious from such a contest; yet, if you had not conquered, the government would have passed from the hands of the many to the hands of the few; and this organized money power, from its secret conclave, would have dictated the choice of your highest officers, and compelled you to make peace or war, as best suited their own wishes. The forms of your government might, for a time, have remained; but its living spirit would have departed from it.
….you must remember, my fellow citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty; and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States, as well as in the Federal Government. The power which the moneyed interest can exercise when concentrated under a single head, and with our present system of currency, was sufficiently demonstrated in the struggle made by the Bank of the United States.
…men who love liberty and desire nothing but equal rights and equal laws, and who, moreover, hold the great mass of our national wealth, although it is distributed in moderate amounts among the millions of freemen who possess it. But, with overwhelming numbers and wealth on their side, they are in constant danger of losing their fair influence in the government, and with difficulty maintain their just rights against the incessant efforts daily made to encroach upon them. The mischief springs from the power which the moneyed interest derives from a paper currency, which they are able to control; from the multitude of corporations, with exclusive privileges…. and which are employed altogether for their benefit; and unless you become more watchful in your states and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges, you will in the end, find that the most important powers of government have been given or bartered away, and the control over your dearest interests has passed into the hands of these corporations.