15 Quotes From The Founding Fathers About Economics, Capitalism And Banking

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

Why have we turned our backs on the principles that this nation was founded upon?  Many of those that founded this nation bled and died so that we could experience "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".  And yet we have tossed their ideals aside as if they were so much rubbish.  Our founders had experienced the tyranny of big government (the monarchy) and the tyranny of the big banks and feudal lords, and they wanted something very different for the citizens of the new republic that they were forming.  They wanted a country where private property was respected and hard work was rewarded.  They wanted a country where the individual was empowered, and where everyone could own land and start businesses.  They wanted a country where there were severe restrictions on all large collections of power (government, banks and corporations all included).  They wanted a country where freedom and liberty were maximized and where ordinary people had the power to pursue their dreams and build better lives for their families.  And you know what?  While no system is ever perfect, the experiment that our founders originally set up worked beyond their wildest dreams.  But now we are killing it.  Why in the world would we want to do that?

Most people are under the illusion that the United States has a "capitalist economy" today, but that simply is not accurate.  At best, we have a "mixed economy" that is becoming a little bit more socialist with each passing day.  We pay dozens of different types of taxes each year, and some Americans actually end up giving more of their earnings to the government than they keep themselves.  But that is still not enough, and so our state governments have accumulated astounding amounts of debt, and our federal government has amassed the largest single debt that the world has ever seen.  If future generations of Americans get the chance, they will curse us for the chains of debt that we have placed upon their shoulders.

So what do our government officials do with all of this money?

Well, today approximately 70 percent of all federal government activity involves taking money from some Americans and giving it to other Americans.

Despite this unprecedented wealth-redistribution program, poverty is absolutely exploding in this country and 49 million Americans are dealing with food insecurity.

Meanwhile, the bankers have been getting fabulously wealthy from all of this debt.  The Federal Reserve system was designed to trap the U.S. government in an endless spiral of debt from which it could never possibly escape, and that mission has been accomplished.  In fact, the U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created a little more than 100 years ago.

Most people like to think of big banks as "capitalist" institutions, but that is not really accurate.  In the end, giant corporate banks like we have in the United States are actually collectivist institutions.  They tend to greatly concentrate wealth and power, and socialists find those kinds of banks very useful.

In fact, Vladimir Lenin once said that "without big banks, socialism would be impossible."

While there may be a bit of animosity between big government and big banks once in a while, the truth is that they are usually very closely tied to one another.  We saw this close relationship very clearly during the financial crisis of 2008, and it is no secret that there is a revolving door between the boardrooms of Wall Street and the halls of power in Washington.  The elite dominate both spheres, and it is not for the benefit of the rest of us.

In America today, government just keeps getting bigger and the banks just keep getting bigger.  Meanwhile, the percentage of self-employed Americans is at an all-time low and the middle class is steadily dying.

What we are doing right now is clearly not working.

So why don't we go back and do the things that we were doing when we were extremely successful as a nation?

In case you don't know what those things were, here are some clues...

#1 "A wise and frugal government… shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." — Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

#2 "A people... who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything." - George Washington

#3 "Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man whatever is his own." – James Madison, Essay on Property, 1792

#4 "Banks have done more injury to the religion, morality, tranquility, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they can have done or ever will do good." - John Adams

#5 "To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it." — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

#6 "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free." — John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787

#7 "I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements." - Thomas Jefferson

#8 "Beware the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry." - Thomas Paine

#9 "If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy." - Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, November 29, 1802

#10 "All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in the Constitution or Confederation, not from a want of honor or virtue so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation." - John Adams, at the Constitutional Convention (1787)

#11 "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

#12 "Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood." – John Adams, 1765

#13 "If ever again our nation stumbles upon unfunded paper, it shall surely be like death to our body politic. This country will crash." - George Washington

#14 "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 genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing." - Thomas Jefferson

#15 "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." — Benjamin Franklin

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So Close's picture

That was back when wisdom mattered and was actively sought after.   We are fucked.  Now go watch American Idol.

InjectTheVenom's picture

A majority of our population probably couldn't even name more than one of USSA's founding fathers . But could rattle off (in order)the winners of the last 10 seasons of American Idol.

Raymond K Hessel's picture

Could a scratch farmer in the 18th century quote Locke? 

I know people are getting fed up and we're seeing a change in attitude.  

Don't lose faith.  We are on the right path.  I can't see RINOs or democrats getting much traction.  What's going on with the UKIP is going on here.

zaphod's picture

No, unfortunately I've slowly come the to realization that it is too late for these principles in the US. 

What we are seeing is a small minority understand the fundamental issues more fully, and how the loss of our founding principles result in eventual in decay both economically and politically. The vast majority however do not care and will continue to vote for quick solutions because they've never been taught anything else. 

The concept of America was really lost about 100 years ago when our education system began to ignore and not pass on these principles. We are merely witnesses to the end result which is re-centralization of power and wealth. 

What this means and how to respond I do not know. 


Stares straight ahead's picture

I logged on to give you an up arrow. I think it's gotta start locally. Your founders already told you this: http://libertytreeprecinctproject.wordpress.com

Pumpkin's picture

Yes!  It must start locally.  Those who are in government are SERVANTS of the prople.  Servants always owe a duty to those they serve.  This is trust law.  Read some about trust law and keep in mind government employees work for the people.  You will be shocked at how the courts actually view that duty.

Miles Ahead's picture

Extremely successful as a nation???  Uh, when was this?  Before of after the 300+ years of slavery - supervised by Washington, Jefferson et al? 

Before of after the 300+ years of Genocide of the Natives and land, resource theft - supervised by Washington, Jefferson et al?
Hell, I could be extrememly successful too if I could just take other people's shit and have the rest slave away for me.  Nice work if you can get it!

I'll remember Founding Father Clinton for the most telling contribution to American lore: depends on what the definition of is is. 

BTFDemocracy's picture

This should be on there too-

"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 them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered." - Thomas Jefferson

Stares straight ahead's picture

Think about how those fruits would multiply if you didn't have to give 30-50% of your slave output to the Feds to keep other slaves enslaved! Now we're "plantation" talkin'!

AlaricBalth's picture

I thoroughly agree. A majority of the American people are lost in a Bernaysian fog and don't have the sense to find their way out. I was scanning the news today and one of the headline articles was "Cris Jenner has twiiter account hacked". Who in the hell cares about some C list wannabe!!!! We are truly screwed.

NoDebt's picture

Mmmmm... I love Bernaysian fog.  It goes great on a nice filet with some asparagus on the side.

Wait... what was the question again?  I just got hungry.

NoDebt's picture

This is one area where it's OK to be a contrarian (against the rise of statism and the decline of the Constitution).  Say and do what you must to get through the day, but teach your kids the truth.  God knows the schools won't.  

Someday, this will go full-circle and people WILL seek out these ideas again as central planning and statism collapses under it's own weight, but it won't be for a long time.  This will be a marathon, not a sprint.  Think generationally.

N2OJoe's picture

I'm not sure if our will be the generation of the Revolution, or just the tortured decline preceding it.

Bro of the Sorrowful Figure's picture

#16 "End the Fed" -- Ron Paul

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Sounds like a great plan, to return to fundamental principles. Now.....who is going to inform the banks and corporations they must cede power? Then who is going to force them when they refuse? Oh, and those government and corporate pensions? Well......

Raymond K Hessel's picture

Andrew Jackson did it once.  What's to say we can't do the same?  Don't give up CD.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I have no doubt it can be done. No doubt what-so-ever. In fact I have great faith that it will be done...eventually.

Will "We the People" find the will, courage and personal sense of responsibility to cut off the hand that feeds 'us'? I rather doubt it. Only when 'we' can no longer find a way to pass the hot potato to someone else will 'we' become willing to find a new way forward and create a brave new world.

I often say that desperate people do desperate things. I am usually referring to the powers that be. In this case in order for "We the People" to leave behind the present day sorry state of affairs, all false hope must be lost. Only when we become desperate enough to leave the old ways behind and begin to imagine as possible what we previously thought impossible will a new day dawn.

And not one moment sooner.

notadouche's picture

  Too many people think they still have too much to lose to get that desperation you speak of.  Enough people are still managing to hang on to enough of their shit and are giving all they have to struggle everyday to feel as though they are keeping their own status quo even if they know deep down they are falling a little bit behind every day.  The need to tune out at night behind "reality tv" is a must for these folks right now.  

I believe it's going to either take another 2007 financial scare that causes another 20% of the population to become desperate enough to feel like they have nothing to lose.  Now they are desperate but still hanging in there.   If bank deposits/IRA's are touched, then that may be the spark, the wake up call that will act as the tipping point.  I would be surprised if it happened anytime before 2016 but who can know really.  Kicking that can down the road can apparently happen much longer than I ever dreamed.  

flash338's picture

If Jackson was president today, they would shoot him just like they shot Kennedy

Buster Cherry's picture

Jackson was a President that shot back.

Matt's picture

Jackson survived several assassination attempts and partook in more than a few duels.

"What we are doing right now is clearly not working.

So why don't we go back and do the things that we were doing when we were extremely successful as a nation?"

American Indian Wars style. Invade a country with resources, like Iraq or Afghanistan, but instead of this occupation nonsense, exterminate 95% of the population and put the rest into internment camps, then extract the shit out of those resources. That proved to be a very successful model for early America.


#17.....All banksters shall be suicided

DirkDiggler11's picture

Finally one of those Lists" articles I actually was interested in reading. Wise words that now fall on the ears of fools. For this to end, the tree will have to get water, and lots of it.

Goldilocks's picture

reverse robin hood

The Republican policy in US politics of taking from the poor to give to the rich.. The heart and soul of just about any Republican tax cut, initiative, or fiscal policy program.
See... We'll cut medicare, medicaid, food stamps, student loans, pell grants, welfare, social security, and grants for the arts... And we'll apply those savings to a tax break for the wealthiest 1/2% of Americans... Ta-da! Reverse Robin Hood!


AC/DC - Highway to Hell
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKggnBh2Mdw (3:28)

pods's picture

Can we please abstain from the typical left-right kneejerk comments Goldi?

This is important stuff here.


darteaus's picture

Hmm.  If I stop giving you moar of what I earn, then I'm taking from you?!

THAT, my friend, is the very definition of GREED - what someone else earns, belongs to you.


moneybots's picture

"See... We'll cut medicare, medicaid, food stamps, student loans, pell grants, welfare, social security, and grants for the arts... And we'll apply those savings to a tax break for the wealthiest 1/2% of Americans... Ta-da! Reverse Robin Hood!"


Student loans heve left graduates with 10's of thousands of dollars in debt.  Student loans should be cut, as it would cut the cost of college.  Supply and demand.  The greater the supply of money available to students, the more colleges have raised  tuition.

You could take Bill Gates entire fortune of 78 billion or so and it would run the Federal government for less than two months.  Once his fortune is gone, you can't go back for another 78 billion, but the government costs will still there.  What happens when you run out of other people's money and the costs are still there?




BlussMann's picture

Oh really, the Repubipukes couldn't even bring themselves to chop NPR.

dexter_morgan's picture

LOL. Yeah...good thing they didn't succeed in any of those cuts or just think how bad the economy would be then .........

darteaus's picture

"We" haven't.

The Fascists who demand to run everything have.

BlussMann's picture

A major difference between Fascism and Captialist/Marxist (i.e.Liberal "Democracy") is that Fascim econmics works, Marxism never works - and the US is a Marxist state.

moneybots's picture

"What we are doing right now is clearly not working."


It is working for the people who want it that way.  Otherwise we wouldn't be where we are.

JR's picture

Moving on up to to October 6, 1938, for a notable comment on the Fed and debt-based money:

"We pass worthy laws through the House and Senate, and the president signs. We attach a large penalty for violation and congratulate ourselves that we have expressed the will of the people in laws. But you, the Federal Reserve banking system, hold in your hand a mightier power, the power of money; for by this power you control God Almighty's first law, the law of self-preservation. You, by the power of money, can turn back the clock of time from civilization to dark past. For no power on Earth to man for evil or for good can equal the power of money." -- Rep. Charles G. Binderup (D.-Nebr.) on the floor of the House

pods's picture

Nice one JR, always count on you to present a gem.  Might I add:

"When the Federal Reserve Act was passed, the people of these United States did not perceive that a world banking system was being set up here. A super-state controlled by international bankers and industrialists...acting together to enslave the world...Every effort has been made by the Fed to conceal its powers but the truth is--the Fed has usurped the government."

Louis Thomas McFadden 

Radical Marijuana's picture

The money-as-debt system has become an almost totally metastasizing social cancer, which is therefore practically untreatable. Especially since 1971 in the USA, there has been a nearly perfect match to the mathematics of an exponential growth curve to the total debts in the USA. We are already committed to numbers which are debt insanities.

I see no way to go backwards. Going forwards from debt insanities into death insanities appears the only plausible outcome. Paradoxically, the longer that is postponed, the worse it must finally become, because the pressures of the growing debt insanities are constantly pumping more energy into the systems, driving towards severe social storms, and eventual psychotic breakdowns into crazy collapses into chaos.

The old-fashioned ideas of the "founding fathers" are NOT possible to ever return to. Those who promote that as the basis of "solutions" are reactionary revolutionaries, or Black Sheeple, attempting to lead the Zombie Sheeple backwards. Theoretically, the only good way forward is through intellectual scientific revolutions, that would apply to the politics of a world that has develop globalized electronic frauds, backed by the force of atomic bombs. However, practically nobody is able and willing to understand anything remotely close to that,  and anyway, we are already still committed to continue to pump up and up the levels of debt insanities, within the currently established money-as-debt systems, until they become too madly self-destructive to be able to continue, at which point the whole planet will be incomprehensibly screwed up, since that turning point will happen when the strip-mining of the planet's natural resources "paid" for with "money" made out of nothing, in a fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting system, is running into the real limits of diminishing returns from being able to continue to strip-mine the planet.

In my view, it is impossible to imagine how bad overshooting through those psychotic breakdowns will actually become, when those happen. I would like to day dream about ways to mitigate that, so that it would not become as bad as it otherwise would, and could be recovered from sooner and better. However, I actually think those are vain fantasies. Of course, I have been attempting to devise harder political science fiction for quite a while, however, my conclusions these days are that was nothing but political fantasies. We are terminally screwed, and stuck inside of society which is way too sick and insane to save itself. The monetary system HAS become a terminal disease, like a metastasized cancer, which is going to kill civilization, with the survivors on the other side of that being quite preposterous to try to predict, since it is not at all clear that enough civilization as we know it now will still exist then ???

JR's picture

Radical, in case you didn’t see this interview on ZH, Steen Jakobsen: Expect A 30% Stock Market Correction in 2014 with Chris Martenson, they discuss high energy costs and misplaced energy policy especially in Germany because of what’s been happening in Ukraine … and that ten years from now, according to Jakobsen, “less than 50 percent of the world’s population can have access to clean water. And much more…

Plug the Founders’ principles of freedom and representative government into going forward “through intellectual scientific revolutions, that would apply to the politics of a world that has develop globalized electronic frauds, backed by the force of atomic bombs,” as you advocate, and I think we’re on to something.

Keep on keeping on, Radical; you and others such as ZH are making great progress. The brass ring is within our reach and we have no choice but to reach it... because we must.


Radical Marijuana's picture

Thanks for that link, JR. As Pods said above, you can be counted upon to provide great quotes to add to the discussions!

monad's picture

I can only add that the framers thought to limit excise tax to 5%... for good reasons.

End the FR. End the IRS. Save our country.

_anonym's picture

This is cheap 'info-tainment.' The only correct thing in this article is the direct quotations of the founding fathers. Characterizations of 'socialism,' public debt and monetary theory are childish if not delusional.

I suggest the author rethink here or here

And of course, here: http://www.amazon.com/Das-Kapital-Capital-Best-Online-ebook/dp/B0082YUY1...

The idea of reverting to pre-industrial capitalism as a panacea is the stuff of infantile Tea Party minds. The oligarchy we have now is a direct and immutable consequence of the founding fathers' quaint ideas about property and 'free' markets, which are valid only compared to feudal monarchism.

Perhaps I should not expect any more from a zine called 'Zero Hedge.'

BlussMann's picture

The only problem with the source of those quotes is that most were Federalist F*ks who conned the rube legislatures of the original  Colonial Confederacy into merging into a Union, which has done nothing but cause misery and destroy freedom ever since - with one after another incompetent, malevolent, criminal, psychotic, crimnal President after the next.

Dr. Destructo's picture

"Why have we turned our backs on the principles that this nation was founded upon?"

Ask some of the founding fathers like Jefferson and Adams -they were among the first. Jefferson kept slaves while Adams came up with the Alien and Sedition acts.

The constitution is a piece of paper that's brought up whenever convenient, and tucked away when it isn't.

alexcojones's picture

Some of those quotes sound downright terroristic.

Betcha those guys drank tea and grew homegrown too.

Schmuck Raker's picture

"...our federal government has amassed the largest single debt that the world has ever seen."

Someone's never heard of Japan. (Though I share the sentiment.)

Schmuck Raker's picture

P.S. Why does the NSA keep crashing my browser as I try to post a comment to this thread?