Thomas Jefferson’s Warnings About Individuals Abdicating Their Financial Responsibility to Bankers

Austin L Garner
4 min readJan 5, 2024

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816

“I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1814

“Everything predicted by the enemies of banks, in the beginning, is now coming to pass. We are to be ruined now by the deluge of bank paper. It is cruel that such revolutions in private fortunes should be at the mercy of avaricious adventurers, who, instead of employing their capital, if any they have, in manufactures, commerce, and other useful pursuits, make it an instrument to burden all the interchanges of property with their swindling profits, profits which are the price of no useful industry of theirs.”

Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, 1786

“The art and mystery of banks… is established on the principle that ‘private debts are a public blessing.‘ That the evidences of those private debts, called bank notes, become active capital, and aliment the whole commerce, manufactures, and agriculture of the United States. Here are a set of people, for instance, who have bestowed on us the great blessing of running in our debt about two hundred millions of dollars, without our knowing who they are, where they are, or what property they have to pay this debt when called on.”

“I own it to be my opinion, that good will arise from the destruction of our credit. I see nothing else which can restrain our disposition to luxury, and to the change of those manners which alone can preserve republican government. As it is impossible to prevent credit, the best way would be to cure its ill effects by giving an instantaneous recovery to the creditor. This would be reducing purchases on credit to purchases for ready money. A man would then see a prison painted on everything he wished, but had not ready money to pay for.”

Thomas Jefferson to John W. Eppes, 1813

“If the debt which the banking companies owe be a blessing to anybody, it is to themselves alone, who are realizing a solid interest of eight or ten per cent on it. As to the public, these companies have banished all our gold and silver medium, which, before their institution, we had without interest, which never could have perished in our hands, and would have been our salvation now in the hour of war; instead of which they have given us two hundred million of froth and bubble, on which we are to pay them heavy interest, until it shall vanish into air… We are warranted, then, in affirming that this parody on the principle of ‘a public debt being a public blessing,’ and its mutation into the blessing of private instead of public debts, is as ridiculous as the original principle itself. In both cases, the truth is, that capital may be produced by industry, and accumulated by economy; but jugglers only will propose to create it by legerdemain tricks with paper.”

Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 1803

“The Bank of the United States is one of the most deadly hostilities existing, against the principles and form of our Constitution. An institution like this, penetrating by its branches every part of the Union, acting by command and in phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the government. I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted authorities, or any other authority than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries. What an obstruction could not this bank of the United States, with all its branch banks, be in time of war! It might dictate to us the peace we should accept, or withdraw its aids. Ought we then to give further growth to an institution so powerful, so hostile?”

Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 1803

“The principle of rotation… in the body of [bank] directors… breaks in upon the espirit de corps so apt to prevail in permanent bodies; it gives a chance for the public eye penetrating into the sanctuary of those proceedings and practices, which the avarice of the directors may introduce for their personal emolument, and which the resentments of excluded directors, or the honesty of those duly admitted, might betray to the public; and it gives an opportunity at the end of the year, or at other periods, of correcting a choice, which on trial, proves to have been unfortunate.”

Thomas Jefferson to William Carmichael, 1791

“A spirit… of gambling in our public paper has seized on too many of our citizens, and we fear it will check our commerce, arts, manufactures, and agriculture, unless stopped.”

Thomas Jefferson to Gouverneur Morris, 1791

“Our public credit is good, but the abundance of paper has produced a spirit of gambling in the funds, which has laid up our ships at the wharves as too slow instruments of profit, and has even disarmed the hand of the tailor of his needle and thimble. They say the evil will cure itself. I wish it may; but I have rarely seen a gamester cured, even by the disasters of his vocation.”

“The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” — Thomas Jefferson

“Banking is the most important and most profitable business in the world. It should be controlled by you and me.” — R. Nelson Nash

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Austin L Garner

Founder of Disciple Wealth Strategies (DiscipleWealthStrategies.com). Teaching God's Solution to the World's Financial Problems.