Opinion Against the Constitutionality of a National Bank par Thomas Jefferson

Opinion Against the Constitutionality of a National Bank

Titre de livre: Opinion Against the Constitutionality of a National Bank

Éditeur: Pulp

Auteur: Thomas Jefferson


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Thomas Jefferson avec Opinion Against the Constitutionality of a National Bank

Extract of the foreword by Michel Leter : "The Opinion against the Constitutionality of a National Bank was written as a contribution to the debate between Jeffersonian republicans and so-called Hamiltonian federalists. Actually, the activism of Alexander Hamilton had nothing to do with the “federalism” in itself. In that matter Hamilton intended to serve his own interest as a cofounder of the Bank of New York. His goal was to extend the monopoly granted to the New York Bank to a National Bank. “Washington requested the written opinions of the Cabinet on the constitutionality of the bill. Those of the Secretaries of the Treasury, and of War, were in favor of the constitutionalty of the act. Those of the Secretary of State [Thomas Jefferson, note of the editor], and Attorney General [Edmund Randolph, note of the editor], were against it. The opinion of Jefferson is an unanswerable argument against the doctrine of implied powers, and is justly considered the text of the true republican faith, on the subject of constitutional interpretation.” (Cf. Rayner’s Life of Jefferson, p. 304, quoted in Jefferson Cyclopedia, ed. by John P. Foley, New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls company, 1900, p. 68 ). The Bank was chartered on February 25, 1791.
The defeat of Jeffersonians is the foreshadowing of what we call today the “crony capitalism”. This so-called capitalism without capital marks the birth of the myth of American capitalism. Jefferson remembers, “a division, not very unequal, had*** taken place in the honest part of *** [Congress in 1791] between the parties styled republican and federal. The latter, being monarchists in principle, adhered to [Alexander] Hamilton of course, as their leader in that principle, and this mercenary phalanx,* added to them, ensured him always a majority in both Houses ; so that the whole action of the Legislature was now under the direction of the Treasury. Still the machine was not complete. The effect of the Funding system, and of the Assumption [of the State debts], would be temporary. I would be lost with the loss of the individual members whom it had enriched, and some engine of influence more permanent must be contrived while these myrmidons were yet in place to carry it through all opposition. This engine was the Bank of the United States.” (Cf. Jefferson Cyclopedia, p.68)."
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