Another book based on history and fascinating insights..William Hogeland, a writer has written this book called Founding Finance: How Debt, Speculation, Foreclosures, Protests, and Crackdowns Made Us a Nation.
There is a nice interview of the author here:
In his latest book, Founding Finance: How Debt, Speculation, Foreclosures, Protests, and Crackdowns Made Us a Nation, William Hogeland argues that America was born less from the fight between the founding fathers and the British Crown, which we’ve all heard about, than from the fight between the founding fathers and American economic populists, which we haven’t heard enough about. The much-ballyhooed conflicts among John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton over the federalist project belie their unity against pro-democratic financial and economic measures that would benefit the indebted masses at the expense of financial elites allied with the founders. That we still fight today over similar issues shows how central they are to our national identity. BR Web Editor David Johnson asked Hogeland about who Herman Husband was, why Robert Morris would feel at home working for Citigroup, and how George Washington would greet the Occupy and Tea Party movements.
In this he shows how much of US is built on big finance. So unlike what most people say, the founders of US would not have really sided with Occupy Wall Street movement etc:
DJ: Crazy ideas like banks that help the people. Speaking of the banks, the Occupy and Tea Party movements, who both took issue with the bank bailouts, have made rhetorical reference to the founders and their supposed values. How might they think differently after reading your book?
WH: When Occupy and the Tea Party reference founding finance, they’re just doing what everyone else does, too: everybody wants to ground their ideas in the basic values of the country, even if those ideas are diametrically opposed to what they advocate. When the Tea Party began, protesters wore three-corner hats and dressed up in 18th century garb. In the Occupy literature I’ve read, there are a number of references to the founding, and “We the People,” and so forth. They, too, seem to be suggesting that if the founders were here today they would be out with Occupy in the street trying to change the relationship between high finance and government. And I think my research suggests precisely the reverse.
Now that doesn’t mean there was nobody out in the street during the founding period trying to correct the relationship between high finance and government. There were people like Herman Husband, and thousands of people he represented, and the regulators and the militia privates, and so forth that I talk about in the book. But the famous founders themselves would not be the friends of Occupy. The question is whether there is something for those movements to get out of the founding period.
What ultimately is the real lesson? Herman Husband makes a difficult hero, as does Thomas Paine. They were far from pragmatic; they were visionary. Paine was a hyper-rationalist but, in another way, he could be quite extreme in his fervency about really changing the fundamental bases of society. I think Occupy has roots in the earliest moments of the founding period and that’s one of the things I want to bring out—but, if they followed those strands back to their origins, they would not find George Washington supporting them. Rather, they would find George Washington there with a club, trying to lock them up; they would be on Herman Husband’s side. And then the question becomes: how much do you want to embrace Herman Husband? That’s a question for everybody today. We’ve ignored Herman Husband partly because he’s so difficult to embrace. But maybe if we could embrace some of that extreme, utopian vision in the most radically democratic elements of our founding—the very things George Washington was trying to shut down—we might have something to learn from them.
Fascinating to read all these different perspectives on history and how it has shaped today’s events…