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

Author: Gregory May
Publisher: Regnery History • Aug. 7, 2018 • 540 pages

From internationally known tax expert and former Supreme Court law clerk Gregory May comes Jefferson’s Treasure, 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–Albert Gallatin.

To this day, the fight over fiscal policy lies at the center of American politics. Jefferson’s champion in that fight was Albert Gallatin—a Swiss immigrant who 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.

The Jefferson Administration’s enduring achievement was to contain the federal government by restraining its fiscal power. This was Gallatin’s work. It set the pattern for federal finance until the Civil War, and it created a culture of fiscal responsibility that survived well into the twentieth century.

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