The First Bank of the United States
©1997 by Gerry Rough

When Alexander Hamilton entered office in 1789 as our first Secretary of the Treasury, Congress asked him to prepare a report on the state of the finances. As part of this report, Hamilton proposed a national bank, with the Federal Government owning one fifth of the stock. He suggested the bank on the grounds that (1) it would provide needed paper currency, (2) it would be a safe-haven for public funds, (3) it would provide banking facilities for commercial transactions, (4) it would provide for the sale of government bonds. The proposed bank would have enormous fiscal power and virtually dictate federal fiscal policy. [1]

The Bank was chartered in 1791 after the bill passed both Houses of Congress and President Washington signed it into law. The charter was to last 20 years with a beginning capital of $10,000,000. $8 million was to be subscribed by private investors, with the Federal Government owning the rest. Economic historians are almost universal in their positive assessment of the Bank. Harold Faulkner summarizes:

Not so the conspiracy theorists. A central bank to a New World Order conspiracy theorist is the equivalent of a cross to a vampire. The mere mention of our own Federal Reserve System elicits the now familiar gnashing of teeth, the proverbial finger print of a true New World Order conspiracy theorist. The same is true for the history of central banking as well. Letís see what the conspiracy theorists have said about our first attempt at central banking, the first Bank of the United States. Wicliffe B. Vennard, author of the tome, The Federal Reserve Hoax: The Age of Deception, states: Actually, Vennardís statement is accurate insofar as the basic facts without the froth are concerned. At the time there were only four banks in existence; the Bank of North America, the Bank of New York, the Bank of Massachusetts, and the Bank of Maryland, which was established in 1791. These were among the supporters of the bill to incorporate the Bank. [4] The real contradiction comes later when the charter renewal bill went before Congress. The Bank was so successful that when the vote to recharter the Bank came up again in Congress twenty years later, many who opposed it were now leading the fight for its recharter, Treasury Secretary Gallatin and President Madison being prime examples. With the exception of the large state banks, the opposition and the supporters of the charter renewal bill had mostly reversed each other. [5] Vennard, then, will have no doubt much to ponder. Namely, who dropped out of the conspiracy and who forgot to pay their dues. John K. Galbraith observes: Bob Adelmann, in a reprint from "The New American" magazine, states the following: Again, Adelmann is found to be grossly lacking in his facts. Elgin Groseclose, author of the classic, Money and Man, destroys the monopoly argument: The issue of "irredeemable paper money" is equally ridiculous just as is blaming the Bank for the rise in prices. Galbraith writes: Anyone with even the most basic knowledge of the first Bank of the United States would know that its currency circulated at par (face value). It was the note issues of the state banks that were the cause of the currency and inflationary problems, not that of the central bank. Margaret Myers would later remind us: So, on all four of the major points cited, Adelmann has no credibility. The Bank did not enjoy a monopoly of note issue, its note issues were redeemable in gold or silver, it was the state banks that were to blame for the inflationary problems, and none of this was due to the money issued by the Bank. All of this, mind you, in the short span of just two sentences. Adelmann as well has much to ponder.

By the way, letís not forget the short-interval absurdity of J.R. Church, lest you think that Adelmann is alone in such matters. Forthwith the dubious is hereby inscribed:

The Bank being discussed is the first Bank of the United States. It may well be confused with the Bank of North America, but the rest of the page and his bibliographical reference source [12] makes the context obvious. First, The Bank was not started at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, the Bank was started some eight years later, in 1791. [13] Second, the Bank was not based in New York City, it was based in Philadelphia. [14] Third, it is not said that Jefferson resigned in anger. This is a complete fabrication on his part; further attestation to Churchís abilities as a true researcher. Fourth, Thomas Jefferson resigned at the end of Washingtonís first term for only one reason; he planned it that way! [15]

Pat Robertson, author of The New World Order states on page 120:

Frankly, it is a national embarrassment that someone so completely ignorant of his own national history should come so close to the Office of the President of the United States. It is even worse that he is so obvious in his attempt to deliberately mislead his reader. Robertson, a Yale educated lawyer, surely would have known that the bill to incorporate the Bank would have to pass both Houses of Congress (largely populated with founding fathers) and have to be signed by President Washington. Anyone with Robertsonís academic credentials could not make this obvious an error without raising serious questions. This scribe can find no rationale for this magnitude an error.

Emanuel M. Josephson, author of the tome, The "Federal" Reserve Conspiracy & Rockefellers: Their "Gold Corner," says of the beginnings of the first Bank of the United States:

The Bank charter was not passed in such a manner, that being the emergency powers granted under the Constitution. While it is true that there was a need for such a bank, its charter was passed just as any other law would have been passed. Josephsonís error in stating that the Bank was created by the emergency powers is not repeated in any other writings; conspiracy or otherwise. Further down the same paragraph, Josephson casts an interesting new light on the Bank: ĎTis a trifle curious indeed that one conspiracy writer would break ranks with all others on the subject and even have the audacity to defend a central bank. Upon hearing this, many in the conspiracy camp will no doubt head for the gun closet. 00 buckshot will no doubt be the ammo of choice.

William T. Still, author of, New World Order: The Ancient Plan of Secret Societies, laments one of the most celebrated quotes in conspiracy theory writing:

G. Edward Griffin cites the more often quoted longer version: Griffin now continues, enunciating what every other conspiracy writer who cites the above says of the Rothschilds: In so citing this, Griffin and Still have continued to propagate a bald faced fraud in order to prove their absurd New World Order conspiracy theory. Here is the real truth. The citation is from Gustavus Myersí History of the Great American Fortunes. The actual quote is as follows: Did you catch the difference? The Rothschilds were not the power (singular), they were powers (plural-one of many powers). A blatant fraud propagated by almost every conspiracy writer* who cites this, for one simple reason; it helps to prove their case that the Rothschild family is part of the conspiracy. Without it, of course, the theoryís credibility is seriously damaged. Dare you think that, so far, this ridiculous affair damages the credibility of Griffin and Still, there is still the matter of context. Letís cite Gustavus Myers again, adding the next sentence for context: With the introduction of August Belmont, there is now another dimension to the quote. We now have time and place. According to Eustace Mullins, yet another conspiracy writer, August Belmont did not arrive in the United States until 1837. [24] Myers, then, is not talking about the first Bank of the United States, since its charter ran out in 1811. Myers is talking about the second Bank of the United States, chartered in 1816 and declared bankrupt after it suspended payments in 1839. In other words, Griffin and Still not only falsely quote Gustavus Myers, they assign the Rothschild quote to the wrong bank!!

Ignorance is indeed bliss.

G. Edward Griffin states of the charter:

As is so often the case in conspiracy writing, Griffin is only half correct. Margaret Myers again reveals Griffinís obvious error: Is there nothing sacred? Griffinís gross ignorance of the truth even reaches into the trivial. Frankly, there is no excuse for such obvious errors. Even the basics are easily refuted if there is no initial research to begin with. Itís nice to talk about conspiracy, but where Griffinís research is concerned, there is no there there. Griffin continues with yet another obvious error: The transparent fraud in this citation is beyond imagination. A short-fall of private investors ? Myers writes again: It is simply not possible for Griffin to come to this conclusion without complete fabrication on his part. If he did any research at all on the subject, this is what he found. If he didnít, then why did he imply that he did by writing it? Letís not forget the implication that the Bank opened its doors with less cash than it was supposed to, either. The absolute minimum requirements of the charter would calculate to $625,000 in cash, $50,000 less than the figures cited by Galbraith. [29] Further, Bray Hammond, author of the classic, Banks and Politics in America, would later observe: No conspiracy here, either. Griffin is again wanting on the issue of minimum requirements. All legal and no hanky panky. It is sad indeed that this passes for scholarship in New World Order conspiracy circles. Lest there be any doubt about the credibility of Griffin and fellow conspiracy buff Pat Robertson, the following should suffice. Robertson writes: Griffin is slightly more prolific in his ignorance: So, without even so much as a hint of any basic research, Griffin and Robertson casually mislead their readers into thinking that the Rothschild family was the "dominant force" behind the Bank. Like water off a duckís back, Griffin is even audacious enough to admit, "their names do not appear in the public literature," yet still concludes a "blunt reality." Incredible!! Where neither has done any research to find the real facts on the issue, enter Margaret Myers and one of her probable sources, Bray Hammond. Myers writes: Is it not outright fraud to state a fact without any supporting data? Is there no shame to these who would so casually use the printed word to propagate a theory that has not a shred of evidence in support of it? This scribe certainly thinks so. We have found again that the New World Order conspiracy theory is riddled with fraud, blatant deception, and factual errors that are frankly insulting to those who have done any serious research on the issue. So, the beginnings of central banking in the U.S. are not so frightening as the New World Order types would have us believe. Funny thing this stuff we call history.

* Gary Allen and Larry Abraham, authors of None Dare Call It Conspiracy, are the only conspiracy writers that I am aware of that correctly cite the passage.


1) Harold Underwood Faulkner, American Economic History (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. 1960) 155
2) Faulkner, p. 156
3) Wickliffe B. Vennard, The Federal Reserve Hoax: The Age of Deception (Palmdale, CA:Omni Publications) 62
4) Margaret G. Myers, A Financial History Of The United States (New York: Columbia University Press, 1970) 68
5) Bray Hammond, Banks and Politics in America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957) 197-226
6) John Kenneth Galbraith, Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1975) 73
7) Bulletin: Committee To Restore The Constitution, February, 1989 P.O. Box 986, Ft. Collins, CO 80522
8) Elgin Groseclose, Money and Man (Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1976) 183. See also Richard Hildreth, The History of Banks (Boston: Hilliard, Gray & Company, 1837; reprinted August M. Kelley, Publishers, 1968) 54
9) Galbraith, p. 72
10) Myers, p. 70
11) J.R. Church, Guardians of the Grail (Oklahoma City: Prophecy Publications, 1989) 178
12) "Bank of the United States," The World Book Encyclopedia, volume 2, 1973, p. 60 (as cited by church)
13) Groseclose, p. 182
14) Myers, p. 68
15) Noble E. Cunningham, Jr., In Pursuit of Reason (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987)178
16) Pat Robertson, The New World Order (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1991) 120
17) Emanuel M. Josephson, The "Federal" Reserve Conspiracy & Rockefellers: Their "Gold Corner" (New York: Chedney Press, 1968)15
18) Josephson, p. 15
19) William T. Still, New World Order: The Ancient Plan of Secret Societies (Lafayette: Huntington House Publishers, 1990) 147
20) G. Edward Griffin, The Creature from Jekyll Island (Appleton: American Opinion Publishing, Inc., 1995) 331
21) Griffin, p. 331
22) Gustavus Myers, History of the Great American Fortunes (New York: Random House, 1936) 556
23) Gustavus Myers, p. 556
24) Eustace Mullins, Secrets of the Federal Reserve: The London Connection (Staunton: Bankers Research Institute,1993) 53
25) Griffin, p. 330
26) Myers, p. 68
27) Griffin, p. 330
28) Myers, p. 68
29) M. St. Clair Clarke and D.A. Hall, Legislative and Documentary History of the Bank of the United States (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1832; reprinted August M. Kelley, Publishers, 1967) 31
30) Hammond, p. 123
31) Robertson, p. 123
32) Griffin, p. 331
33) Myers, p. 68

Conspiracy Theory index