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A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II Hardcover – August 30, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995) distinguished himself as an economist, writing a major treatise on theory, several important economic histories, and a highly praised history of economic thought. But he was also known as the pioneer thinker of libertarianism, the political philosophy that roots freedom in private property ownership and decries the state as inherently contrary to the ethics of a free society. Writing from this perspective, he gained a reputation as the most provocative and influential contributor to the anarchist tradition in our century.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Ludwig Von Mises Inst; 1st Printing This Edition edition (August 30, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 0945466331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0945466338
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Absolutely fabulous! Only the incomparable Rothbard could tell this compelling story in its full richness and detail.

Here the hidden history of money and banking in America unfolds as the internecine, behind-the-scenes warfare between elite financial interests such as the House of Morgan and the Rockefellers, the electoral struggle between the Hamiltonian Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans, and the duel-to-the-death Bank War of Nicholas Biddle and Andrew Jackson.

Discover the intriguing facts of how post-Civil War ethnoreligious political conflict between postmillennial pietist Protestant Republicans versus liturgical libertarian Democrats translated into deeply-felt attitudes toward inflation, sound money, and the Gold Standard.

Explore the arcane and clandestine origins of the powerful Federal Reserve, a secretive institution still clouded in mystery and myth.

This magnificent volume of unpublished and previously published writings by the late Murray N. Rothbard deserves to be on the shelf of every careful scholar of political economy, and of everyone who enjoys the discovery of unseasonable and unsettling truths concerning the government elites who attempt to run our lives, debase our money, and squander our children's futures.
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Format: Hardcover
Murray Rothbard delivers an absolute winner of a text written in the same easily readable style of "What Has Government Done To Our Money & The Case For a 100% Gold Dollar".

He has covered this lengthy timeline from the perspective of who the main players were, what their motives were, and what were the results of their actions. So what this book is NOT is a dry empirical statistical history...phew!!!

What you do get is a terrific understanding of the power struggle running through the timeline between the Houses of Morgan and Rockefeller, with of course the supporting cast of the Harrimans, Kuhn Loeb, Guggenheims and the Mellons, as it centred on their quest for banking domination, via the struggle between the sound money gold standard protaganists and the monetarist inflationary camp! Rothbard weaves in the political situation throughout so that you are able to develop a rounded picture of the political scene based on the power broking of these financial elite too. Outstanding!!

This history of the power struggles and the oscillations between sound money and inflationary monetarism will also take you through the genesis of the new Republic, the origins of the Federal Reserve, the New deal, and the Gold Exchange Standard.

It's fascinating stuff, superbly written, with excellent, detailed bottom-of-page footnoting and an extensive index.

My guess is this will be remembered as the seminal text on this subject in the decades to come!

If you haven't already read "What Has Government Done To Our Money & The Case For a 100% Gold Dollar", then you will want to as this text will also leave you wanting to further explore sound money and the Gold Standard. If you then really want to get to the heart of Rothbard, then I wholeheartedly recommend you read his awesome treatise "Man, Economy and State with Power and Market(Scholars Edition)".

You most definitely will not regret it!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this latest release of Murray Rothbard's epic volume detailing the history and economics of the United States; Mises Institute (2005) has again made available his writings that spans the time-frame from Colonial times up to the beginnings of World War II. It is an intriguing documentation of the intermixture of politics and economics that have, and continue to, shaped this Nation's history; and, by extension the state of commerce throughout the World.

It must be noted that this 509-page tome is not suggested for a novice reader that does not have any more than a rudimentary knowledge of economics. For those embarking on a study of economic history, Rothbard's early work, "What Has the Government Done to Our Money" might prove to be a more suitable introductory vehicle. With that disclaimer in mind, those readers with an interest in how politics and economics intertwine this volume is indeed illuminating. And, of course, (as history tells us over and over again) politics, diplomacy, and warfare are almost always, and inevitably, shaped by economics.

With alacrity, Rothbard weaves a tale of intrigue and exposes the often overlooked players that sought to impose their opposing economic and political viewpoints. These include those early Americans who espoused a strong Federal government and favored a Central Banking system as to those who favored "free banking". Also included are the various political opponents who fed the turmoil surrounding bimetallism who, in turn, vigorously debated and fanned the flames of gold versus silver parity rates.

Moving on to an America with Imperialistic notions, the Spanish-American War provided an opportunity to impose American economic principles on the previously Spanish occupied countries that America now found in its orb.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Murray was a free market, gold-backed money economist who makes persuasive arguments for his position. This system would, in a perfect world, be a good means of trade and would probably keep extremes of wealth in check. The logistics of changing to this system seem overwhelming. Nonetheless if one wants to know how the USA's banking system evolved this is a definitive read.
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