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Episode #26 – Alexander Hamilton’s Real Nemesis: Albert Gallatin and the Jeffersonians

While the Broadway musical “Hamilton” has popularized the notion that Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr were archenemies, historian Gregory May claims that Albert Gallatin – Thomas Jefferson’s Secretary of Treasury, should be the real rival in Hamilton’s story.  Author of Jefferson’s Treasure: How Albert Gallatin Saved the New Nation From Debt, May concludes that Gallatin, a lost and underappreciated Founding Father, was the true genius in establishing the American economic system we know today.  Learn why in our exclusive interview with Gregory May!

SHOW NOTES

  • 4:37 Discover the difference between Gallatin’s financial plan for the U.S., which was “frugal, stripped-down, and simple,” and Alexander Hamilton’s complex system!
  • 6:11 Did you know Gallatin had a much greater effect on the early American republic than his infamous counterpart, Alexander Hamilton? Gregory May explains why.
  • 8:48 Under Gallatin’s instructions, three-quarters of federal spending every year went to pay off the national debt, until the War of 1812.
  • 14:15 If Gallatin was so responsible with curtailing federal spending and paying off the national debt, how did we get to the trillions and trillions of debt we have today? Gregory May explains.
  • 16:46 Is it even worth caring about the massive federal debt today? If money matters, and if actions have consequences, then yes, May says.
  • 20:21 Did you know that Gallatin’s statue stands proudly in front of the U.S. Treasury in D.C., and Hamilton’s statue inside the Treasury, far from view?

OUR GUEST AUTHOR – Gregory May 

  • Gregory May is an internationally-known tax expert who has written extensively about tax and tax policy. Decades of work on historic preservation have given him a lively sense of the past as a tangible world, and long familiarity with finance has helped him to decode the evidence about America’s financial founding.
  • After working as a Supreme Court law clerk, Greg practiced law in Washington, DC and New York for thirty years. He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, where he wrote a thesis about the War of 1812, and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

BOOK OVERVIEW – Jefferson’s Treasure: How Albert Gallatin Saved the New Nation from Debt

  • Jefferson’s Treasure is a long overdue biography of the remarkable immigrant who launched the fiscal policies that shaped the early Republic and the future of American politics – not Alexander Hamilton, but Albert Gallatin.
  • Albert Gallatin was Jefferson’s champion in the fight over early American fiscal policy. Gallatin, a Swiss immigrant, served as Treasury Secretary for twelve years because he was the only man in Jefferson’s party who understood finance well enough to reform Alexander Hamilton’s system.
  • A look at Gallatin’s work—repealing internal taxes, restraining government spending, and repaying public debt—puts our current federal fiscal problems in perspective.

RESOURCES

  • Grab your own copy of Jefferson’s Treasure HERE!
  • Read more about Gregory May!

ENDORSEMENTS

George Gilder, author of Life After Google, says:

Jefferson’s Treasure is the fascinating story of how Albert Gallatin in his struggle to unwind the protectionist and debt-dependent central banking scheme with which AH had financed the new government of the united states. Hamilton stabilized the American economy and enriched the moneyed class from the coast at the expense of ordinary Americans. Gallatin had faith in free trade and debt-free public finance not only to spread prosperity to all but also to guarantee political liberty. Greg May serves up a solid contribution to the history of the early Republic, and a wealth of wisdom for our times.

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