Monetary Decisions of the Supreme Court

By Gerald T. Dunne | Go to book overview

II
The nation and the states

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.--Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

When the Constitution put the states out of the money business, it gave commercial banking a tremendous lift. The three state-chartered banks of 1784 grew to eighty-eight by 1800. We have seen that these institutions, by issuing bank notes, were creators of money, and that this power was limited only by the necessity of keeping enough coin in their tills to cover the notes presented for redemption. However, the banking policy of the time was generally conservative, and the issue of notes was not pressed to anything near the limit.

This salutary convention was also observed by the new federal bank.1 The Bank of the United States was a "quasi-

____________________
1
The official title of both this institution and its. successor was "The President, Directors, and Company, of the Bank of the United States." In the early nineteenth century they were known as the "national" banks, a term we presently ascribe to any commercial bank operating under a federal charter. Conversely, the earlier institutions are often now referred to as the first (or second) Bank of the United States.

Since these early institutions were central banks (i.e., organizations whose operations have a purpose transcending private profit and which deal de jure or de facto with "retail" banks as the monetary arm of government), Bray Hammond has used "federal bank" to describe them in his Bank and Politics or America ( Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957). His convention is followed here.

-23-

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Monetary Decisions of the Supreme Court
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • I - The Money Power: Background and Origin 3
  • II - The Nation And the States 23
  • III - Public Control And Individual Freedom 65
  • Synopsis of Cases 104
  • Bibliography 109
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