An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power

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By John Steele Gordon

Throughout time, from historic Rome to trendy Britain, the nice empires equipped and maintained their domination via strength of hands and political energy. yet now not the U.S.. the USA has ruled the realm in a brand new, peaceable, and pervasive method - in the course of the endured production of wonderful wealth. during this authoritative, engrossing heritage, John Steele Gordon captures as by no means sooner than the genuine resource of our nation's international effect: wealth and the ability to create extra of it.

This P.S. variation good points an additional sixteen pages of insights into the ebook, together with writer interviews, urged interpreting, and extra.

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The Washington Globe, noting that paying off the debt coincided with the 20 th anniversary of the conflict of recent Orleans, wrote that “New Orleans and the nationwide Debt—the first of which paid off our rankings to our enemies, when the latter paid off the final cent to our buddies. ” leader Justice Roger B. Taney famous that it was once “the first time within the heritage of countries that an enormous public debt has been solely extinguished. ” It is still the one time to today. even supposing JACKSON’S major reason for paying off the debt used to be the simple—indeed for sovereign governments, simplistic—notion that one should still borrow purely whilst completely invaluable, he had one other purpose in addition. Banks used federal bonds as backing for his or her issuance of banknotes, and Jackson, eager to cast off paper funds, deliberate to take action by way of taking out the backing. To Jackson, the center and soul of the “monied aristocracy” he feared was once the second one financial institution of the USA and its president, the Philadelphia aristocrat Nicholas Biddle. Biddle was once every little thing Jackson used to be now not: wellborn, hugely expert, broadly traveled, and financially refined. educated within the legislations, he spent 3 years in Europe, the place he served as James Monroe’s secretary whereas the latter used to be minister to nice Britain. After marrying Jane Craig, a substantial heiress, he deserted the legislation and have become editor of a Philadelphia literary journal, Portfolio. He quickly outfitted one of many most interesting homes in the US, Andalusia, at the shore of the Delaware River simply north of Philadelphia, the place the Biddle kin nonetheless lives. In 1819 President Monroe appointed Biddle to the board of administrators of the second one financial institution of the us, and in 1823 he turned president of the financial institution. the second one financial institution had gotten off to a rocky begin below its first president, William Jones, who had speculated within the bank’s inventory and engaged in different shady practices. Jones resigned after a congressional research and Langdon Cheves changed him, straightening up the mess left via Jones. This, regrettably, helped mightily to bring about the panic of 1819 and the short enterprise slowdown that undefined. by the point Biddle grew to become president, lots of the animosity opposed to the financial institution had disappeared, due to financial restoration and sound coverage at the a part of the financial institution. It used to be now not a subject within the presidential crusade of 1824—when Jackson received a plurality of the preferred vote, yet misplaced in the home of Representatives to John Quincy Adams—or in 1828, whilst Jackson gained a smashing victory over the unpopular Adams. Biddle voted for Jackson in either elections. yet rarely had Jackson entered the White residence than his visceral hatred of banks, specially huge, strong ones, manifested itself in his first message to Congress as president. He raised the query of rechartering the second one financial institution of the us an entire seven years earlier than its constitution used to be because of expire. through 1832, whilst Jackson ran for reelection, it was once transparent that he meant to kill the financial institution. Biddle fought again as most sensible he might.

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