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American Bankster: Money, Banking, and the Power Elite in US History

IS_EH_AB — with Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Cost: $49   Length: 5 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

About the Course

This course utilizes Murray Rothbard’s “power elite analysis” to expose the intersection of banking and politics in US History.

Selections from the following books by Rothbard will be assigned:

  • Origins of the Federal Reserve
  • Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy
  • History of Money and Banking in the United States

The quotations below will give an idea of what to expect:

Robert Morris’s nationalist vision was not confined to a strong central government, the power of the federal government to tax, and a massive pubic debt fastened permanently upon the taxpayers. Shortly after he assumed total economic power in Congress in the spring of 1781, Morris introduced a bill to create … the first central bank … the Bank of North America … modeled after the Bank of England.

Murray Rothbard, A History of Money and Banking in the United States

The Bank of the United States promptly fulfilled its inflationary potential. … The result of the outpouring of credit and paper money by the new Bank of the United States was … an increase [in prices] of 72 percent [from 1791 to 1796].

Murray Rothbard, A History of Money and Banking in the United States

[The Bank of the United States] ran into grave difficulties through mismanagement, speculation, and fraud.

James J. Kilpatrick, The Sovereign States

[Henry Clay’s] income from this business [general counsel to the Bank of the United States] apparently amounted to what he needed: three thousand dollars a year from the bank as chief counsel; more for appearing in specific cases; and a sizable amount of real estate in Ohio and Kentucky in addition to the cash. … When he resigned to become Secretary of State in 1825, he was pleased with his compensation.

Maurice Baxter, Henry Clay and the American System

I believe my retainer has not been renewed or refreshed as usual. If it be wished that my relation to the Bank [of the United States] should be continued, it may be well to send me the usual retainer.

Letter from Daniel Webster to Nicholas Biddle, president of the Bank of the United States

The Bank of the United States “is a monster, a hydra-headed monster equipped with horns, hoofs, and tail so dangerous that it impaired the morals of our people, corrupted our statesmen, and threatened our liberty. It bought up members of Congress by the Dozen … subverted the electoral process, and sought to destroy our republican institutions.

President Andrew Jackson

Congress gave [Treasury Secretary] Hank Paulson … $700 billion, and the first thing he did was to take $125 billion out of the bag and give it to his pals at the nine biggest banks and investment banks in the country. Never one to display ingratitude, he gave $10 billion to Goldman Sachs, the firm he had headed before passing through the revolving door to the Treasury.

Robert Higgs


All readings for this course are free, available online, and provided to students in a fully-hyperlinked syllabus.

Independent Study

Independent study courses are courses that were presented live in the past. These courses are now offered at a discount to anyone who wants to study independently. All courses include lecture recordings, slides, a complete hyper-linked syllabus, automatically-graded quizzes, and a discussion forum. Professors are not available for academic support for these independent study courses.

Sample Certificate of Participation

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Thomas DiLorenzo

Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Author of The Real LincolnLincoln Unmasked, and Hamilton’s Curse. Dr. DiLorenzo is today’s foremost critic of “Lincoln hagiography”.

DiLorenzo is a professor of economics at Loyola University Maryland and a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, he has written for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, Barron’s, and many other publications.  He is widely published in the academic journals, including the American Economic Review, Economic Inquiry, International Review of Law and Economics, Public Choice, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, and many others. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Virginia Tech.

Click here to read an interview with Professor DiLorenzo.

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