Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics

A Note on the Machiavellian Origins of Central Banking in America

The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics

Volume 14, Number 1 (Spring 2011)


In The Mystery of Banking, Murray Rothbard explained how the origins of central banking in the US were rooted in a lobbying effort by Robert Morris and other “nationalists” to create a bank modeled after the Bank of England that would subsidize their businesses with cheap credit and other forms of corporate welfare. This paper argues that there was more to it than that, namely, that the chief proponent of a central bank, Alexander Hamilton, wanted the bank to be a more comprehensive engine of political corruption because of his belief that, without such corruption, government would be too small and ineffective. Members of Congress had to be “bought off” if they were to support the nationalists’ economic agenda, Hamilton believed, and a central bank was necessary to achieve that goal.


DiLorenzo, Thomas J. “A Note on the Machiavellian Origins of Central Banking in America.” The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 14, No. 1 (Spring 2011): 78–87.

All Rights Reserved ©
What is the Mises Institute?

The Mises Institute is a non-profit organization that exists to promote teaching and research in the Austrian School of economics, individual freedom, honest history, and international peace, in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard. 

Non-political, non-partisan, and non-PC, we advocate a radical shift in the intellectual climate, away from statism and toward a private property order. We believe that our foundational ideas are of permanent value, and oppose all efforts at compromise, sellout, and amalgamation of these ideas with fashionable political, cultural, and social doctrines inimical to their spirit.

Become a Member
Mises Institute