The Federalists were not happy campers when Thomas Jefferson appointed Albert Gallatin Secretary of the Treasury in 1801. This was the man who was responsible for the Republican win. And now, this immigrant who spoke with a heavy French accent, who was from back county Pennsylvania, who had been Hamilton’s greatest critic, who had objections to spending any federal money, was to be in charge! Disaster was imminent! But Gallatin understood finance very, very well, and he knew that he must work to make the new nation debt free if it were to survive. And to free the country from debt he knew it could only be achieved by restraining the federal government’s fiscal power. I am amazed that Gallatin is so little known. Besides his influence in finance he was an adviser to Jefferson, Madison, and all of the notable Republicans. He served on the Treaty of Ghent commission that ended the War of 1812, was ambassador to France and Britain, helped found New York University, studied the languages of Native Americans and founded the American Ethnological Society. Whew. Gregory May, an internationally known tax expert, has written a very readable book, full of interesting asides, interesting facts. Gallatin became flesh and blood to me, a real person, and a very important person in the history of the United States of America. This is a must read for anyone interested in early American history. Highly recommend.
eGalley review Publication date 8.6.18