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DanAllosso

DanAllosso

Currently reading

400 Years Of Freethought
Samuel Porter Putnam
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
Jon Meacham
Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version
Philip Pullman, Jacob Grimm
Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson
Jennifer Michael Hecht
The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America
Paul E. Johnson, Sean Wilentz

A Nation of Counterfeiters: Capitalists, Con Men, and the Making of the United States

A Nation of Counterfeiters: Capitalists, Con Men, and the Making of the United States - Stephen Mihm Mihm’s argument is that the monetary chaos of the antebellum years prevented Americans from feeling confident in their currency, and by extension, in their economy and nation. “The Civil War, and the search for national unity it fostered, compelled the federal government to secure the right to make money.” The nation’s fight against counterfeiters (including the establishment of the Secret Service by near-criminal William Patrick Wood) and nationalization of the currency were necessary steps in the United States becoming “a genuine nation...[with] confidence in both our country and its currency.” Good storytelling, but Mihm overstates the counterfeiting issue at the expense of the CREDIT issue, which was probably a bigger deal to most 19th-century people worried about the legitimacy of banknotes. And he pretty much ignores the destruction of viable state banking systems when the Lincoln administration created a national currency.