Bil Lewis

Madison vs. Hamilton: What is Money, Anyway?

In the midst of crisis that was the founding of the United States, Alexander Hamilton published his “Report on Credit,” in which he elaborated on the necessity of having a private bank issue currency, something that was a complete anathema to Madison and Jefferson. Whereas they clearly saw money primarily in terms of Gold and Silver, Hamilton though of money as credit–a promise to pay. And the major reason people would trust that promise to pay is because it was “legal tender” — valid for paying taxes and debts (which the Continental was not).

In this presentation, Mr. Lewis, in the guise of James Madison, will lead a discussion on the nature of money as seen in 1790. He follows Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson as they consider the issues they face with debt, lack of taxes, and an unstable country.

Bil Lewis

Bil Lewis (, previously a Computer Scientist at Stanford & Tufts, is now a Madison Re-enactor and High School History Teacher.

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