Why Was Lincoln Shot?Submitted by CanyonRoad on Sun, 07/20/2008 - 22:18
"Very early in his carrier, Lincoln had made his views on national economic policy clear. In 1832, he told Illinois voters: "My politics are short and sweet... I am in favor of a national bank... in favor of the internal improvements system and a high protective tariff."
The way I read it, however, the national banking system Lincoln wanted was truly a national banking system – An American System – with a national currency that was not hostage to the English gold standard nor burdened by dependence on private credit and private currency issue. He had thus been against the Independent Treasury System, or so-called Sub-Treasury (1840-41), where the gold standard (an English requisite), was a central component.
Under Lincoln's plan, the government could use its own credit and currency for internal improvements (such as the post roads, highways, canals, railroads, and public buildings, etc.), without having to impose high taxation on the public or borrow from private sources – and the volume of currency available would not be inhibited by the necessity of "purchasing" gold backing.
Almost all of the popular and "professional" resistance to a national fiat currency have been based on the notion that money must either be gold or silver, or backed by them. Few non-economist hard money men stop to ponder the imponderables of the gold standard – that under the gold standard, every ounce of gold required to back the currency must first be purchased from those who have it to sell. Since, under hard money policy, no money can exist but by the grace of gold backing – where does the necessary money come from with which to purchase the gold? This would seem a "What comes first, the chicken or the egg?" proposition. In reality, either the gold must be taken from the people through taxation, or the national credit card must be used to get it from financiers who charge hefty interest for their patriotic services. And that was exactly the situation the nation has been in during most of its history – and still is, though gold has been largely eliminated from the equation (Our government now has to borrow money to get and use what is supposed to be its own legal tender, paying high interest in order to do it!).
And, significantly, Lincoln seemed to realize "that slavery and free trade belong to a single evil system..." – something our present day politicians seem to have totally forgotten. The South depended on free trade with England in order to profit from its cotton production – and only slave labor would suffice to produce it cheaply enough at that – and the English (since the Revolution and War of 1812), had been doing everything within their power to force the former colonies, both north and south, to institute free trade policies.
The protectionism that Lincoln, and the wisest of his predecessors and successors, advocated was what finally broke our umbilical cord to the mother country and made the United States truly politically and economically independent. We became a great and prosperous industrial nation under protectionist policies, though we had never managed to get it totally right, and are now into a "free trade" global economy in a big way, and have once again forfeited our economic independence."