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The New Republic

The Birth of American Finance

December 10, 2012

The Founders and Finance: How Hamilton, Gallatin, and Other Immigrants Forged a New Economy

By Thomas K. McCraw

(Harvard University Press, 485 pp., $35)


THOMAS K. MCCRAW believed that financial leadership in government really matters. Since this is an issue that is very much with us at the present, his work of history may have a special timeliness. In The Founders and Finance, McCraw (who died in November) contends that the secretaries of the Treasury during the several decades following the inauguration of the new national government of the United States in 1789, especially Alexander Hamilton and Albert Gallatin, were crucially responsible for putting the nation’

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