May 20, 2008 Leave a comment
Just how many blatant falsehoods can we find in the publisher’s summary of The Money Men: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years’ War over the American Dollar by H. W. Brands:
A best-selling historian’s gripping account of the powerful men who controlled America’s financial destiny.
From the first days of the United States, a battle raged over money. On one side were the democrats, who wanted cheap money and feared the concentration of financial interests in the hands of a few. On the other were the capitalists who sought the soundness of a national bank — and the profits that came with it.
In telling this exciting story, H. W. Brands focuses on five “Money Men”: Alexander Hamilton, who championed a national bank; Nicholas Biddle, whose run-in with Andrew Jackson led to the bank’s demise; Jay Cooke, who financed the Union in the Civil War; Jay Gould, who tried to corner the gold market; and J. P. Morgan, whose position was so commanding that he bailed out the U.S. Treasury.
The Money Men is a riveting narrative, a revealing history of the men who fought over the lifeblood of American commerce and power.
Here’s a telling line from the Publisher’s Weekly review: “This inherent tension, the author writes, was resolved by the 1913 compromise that created the Federal Reserve System.”
So long as “capitalism” is understood to be at odds with free-market money, so long as it is associated with Alexander Hamilton and government-enforced cartels, so long as history continues to be told not just inaccurately but completely backwards, we really have little hope of having our position understood, let alone sympathized with or supported.