Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Writings of Thomas Jefferson, II

See prior excerpt here. From Jefferson's letter to Colonel Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816. In the letter, he discusses his grave concerns over the "bubble" of rapid expansion of banks and outstanding notes and weighs legislative intervention. The bubble would burst with the Panic of 1819, our country's first financial crisis. Interestingly, quoting Rothbard, "It does not seem accidental that the boom period saw the establishment of the first formal indoor stock exchange in the country: the New York Stock Exchange opened in March, 1817." The NYSE moved the trading done on Wall Street inside. The letter ends with this reflection on public education and participation in government.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.
(image credit: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904. Excerpt from The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 1907)