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Chapter XXX

  • The financial lesson of the Civil War
  • -- approaching bankruptcy of the government near the close of the War -- the legal -- tender notes an injury to the public credit -- a vicious clause in the Constitution -- no prejudice in the army against officers not educated at West Point -- the need of a law Reforming the relations between the President and the commander of the army -- devotion to the chosen leader in times of public peril.

another great lesson taught by our Civil War, perhaps even more important than any other, is the financial lesson. An established government which has a place to maintain among the commercial nations of the world must maintain its credit. It must purchase its supplies and munitions of war and pay its troops in money. In a great and prolonged war it is not possible for the people to contribute all the means required at the time. The amount of taxation would be greater than any people could bear. Hence the government must borrow the necessary money. This cannot be done without national credit. If credit declines, rates of interest and discount on securities increase until the national debt reaches its limit and no more money can be borrowed. In short, the nation becomes bankrupt. This was the condition of the United States before the close of the late Civil War. With a million of men on the muster-and pay-rolls, including several great armies of veteran troops in the field,

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