10. The Constitutional Convention

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Length: {2:51 minutes}

Summary of Chapter 10: The Constitutional Convention

In 1787, colonial leaders met in Philadelphia to replace the Articles of Confederation. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison opposed a privately owned central bank, aware of the issues caused by the Bank of England. Jefferson warned that private banks could control currency through inflation and deflation, ultimately depriving people of their property.

During the debates on the monetary system, Gouverneur Morris criticized the motivations of the Bank of North America’s owners. Morris, who had written the final draft of the Constitution and had previously supported the Bank of North America with Robert Morris and Alexander Hamilton, expressed concern over the potential for the rich to dominate and enslave the rest of the population. In a letter to Madison, Morris stressed the need for government power to keep the wealthy in check.

Despite Morris’s defection, Hamilton, Robert Morris, Thomas Willing, and their European backers convinced the majority of Constitutional Convention delegates not to grant Congress the power to issue paper money. The delegates, wary of the inflation caused by paper currency during the Revolution, overlooked the success of colonial script before the war. The Constitution’s silence on the matter left an opening for the money changers, ensuring that America would not print its own money again.

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