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"The bank was saved but the money was ruined."
So says William Gouge (1796–1863), one of the best political economists of the American 19th century. He is speaking of the panic of 1819, but his sentence could sum up the whole thesis of this marvelous book.
A Short History of Paper Money and Banking in the United States was written in 1833, and it was a major blast against the trend towards inflation and paper money. Gouge was an economist, journalist, and Treasury official, and, most of all, the leading champion of sound money in his day, completely dedicated to liberty and hard money in a way that would classify him among the Austrians.
Here is his monetary history of the United States, in which he sought to show that the way of paper money leads to national ruin. His critique of the inflation doctrine anticipated the Austrians and mapped out a plan for preserving American liberty.
His prose and argument are thrilling, as much now as when they were first written. This book has been nearly impossible to get, but that changes with this Mises Institute edition, which is introduced by none other than Joseph Dorfman.
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