The Founding Father of American Financial Disaster.
Thomas Jefferson's hatred of “money men” and commerce led to the creation of an unruly banking and regulatory system prone to periodic and disastrous breakdowns. The seeds of the current financial crisis were sown during Jefferson's epic battles with the first Treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, who was better acquainted than Jefferson with the rough-and-tumble of the marketplace. The two statesmen clashed over enormous war debts from the American Revolution, an unstable money supply, and the question of whether America required a central bank. Initially, Hamilton gained the upper hand, getting the young republic on a sound financial footing by establishing a coherent, disciplined banking system, but Jefferson and his supporters eventually destroyed Hamilton's system, setting the nation on a course to bank fraud and failure, a chaotic money supply, and a boom-and-bust cycle that has produced major financial crises about every 20 years.