"It is apparent from the whole context of the Constitution as well as the history of the time which gave birth to it, that it was the purpose of the Convention to establish a currency consisting of the precious metals. These were adopted by a permanent rule excluding the use of a perishable medium of exchange . . . or the still more pernicious expedient of paper currency." - President Andrew Jackson (1826), as quoted in "Our Ageless Constitution" (1987), p. 117.
Jackson's words appear in an essay by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., entitled, "Gold and Silver Coin - The Foundation of the Monetary System Created by the Constitution," the second of two essays on the subject in this 292-page volume on the essential principles of liberty underlying the U. S. Constitution. In Vieira's contribution beginning on P. 117, he outlines the background of the Founders' concerns for liberty as they considered the establishment of a monetary system for a free society. Then, he traces the actions which later generations have taken which have endangered liberty over the 200 years between 1787 and 1987 (Bicentennial). A sequel to that essay could reveal more deterioration of the Founders' intended protections for liberty.
The opening two paragraphs are of interest here:
"In 1787, the Founding Fathers wer deeply concerned with the role of government in this nation's monetary system not only because of their deep insights into political and economic theory and their familiarity with numerous historical examples of destruction wrought by governments of other countries which abused their monetary powers, but also from their own personal involvement in what was then a raging economic, social, and political crisis stemming from debauchery of money in the United States itself (See: Part III, Gold and Silver Coin).
"Themselves eye-witnesses to the catastrophic inflation that follwed the emission of "Bills of Credit" (paper money) by both the Continental Congress and the States during the War of Independence, and after lengthy debate in the Constitutional Convention, the Founding Fathers carefullyy structured the monetary powers of the Constitution to prevent repetition of such a calamity, by utterly outlawing what the Continental Congress and the Federalist Papers denounced as the "fallacious Medium" and "improper and wicked project" of paper money (See Part VIII, Notable Quotations, Paper Money).
Dr. Vieira is an attorney and well-known author of works on the subject, including, "Pieces of Eight: The Monetary Powers and Disabilities of the United States Constitution" (1983).
Thomas Jefferson: "Paper is liable to be abused, has been, is, and forever will be abused, in every country in which it is permitted."
". . . although the other nations of Europe have tried and trodden every path of force or folly in fruitless quest of the same object, yet we still expect to find in juggling tricks and banking dreams, that money can be made out of nothing. . . The misfortune is. . . we shall plunge ourselves in unextinguishable debt, and entail on our posterity an inheritance of external taxes, which will bring our government and people into the condition of those of England, an nation of pikes and gudgeons, the latter bred merely as food for the former."
"Stock dealers and banking companies, by the aid of a paper system [paper money] are enriching themselves to the ruin of our country, and swaying the government by their possession of the printing presses, which their wealth commands, and by other means, not always honorable to the character of our countrymen."
Then there is John Maynard Keynes observation in "The Economic Consequences of the Peace - 1920":
"Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method, they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. . . . Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. . . . (It) does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose."
Thanks for your research. IIRC, inflation as measured by basic foodstuffs, (sugar, flour, corn meal come to mind) was a big fat ZERO between 1813 and 1913.
So what will happen when our currency is totally debauched? Will we return to Constitutional principles or demand an authoritarian government to “do something?”