Greenbacks, Bimetallism and Mysticism

July 6, 2009



We have already noted the metaphors of monetary policy in Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz, who supported the issue of debt-free Greenbacks and the return of the money power to Congress. What I forgot to mention at the time was that Frank L. Baum was a member of the Theosophy movement of Helena Blavatsky. So too was another supporter of Populist monetary policy, Jacob S. Coxey, leader of the “Coxey’s Army” marches on Washington in favor of Greenbacks. Here’s a relevant quote from Web of Debt by Ellen Hodgson Brown.

In striking contrast to the rag-tag army he led, Jacob. S. Coxey was a wealthy populist who owned a sand quarry, bred horses, and wore hand-tailored suits. He was in it for the cause, one to which he was so committed that he named his son ‘Legal Tender.’ Like Frank Baum, Coxey was a follower of the new theosophical movement that was all the rage in the 1890s. He said his monetary solution had come to him fully-formed in a dream. He didn’t just dream it, but took it right to the capitol steps, in the sort of can-do spirit that would come to characterize the Populist movement. He called his protest ‘petition in boots.’ …

Coxey was … proposing something quite new and revolutionary: the government would determine the projects it wanted to carry out, then issue the money to pay for them. The country did not need to be limited by the money it already had, money based on gold the banks controlled. ‘Money’ was simply a receipt for labor and materials which the government could and should issue itself. If the labor and materials were available and people wanted the work done, they could all get together and trade, using paper receipts of their own design. It was a manifestation of the theosophical tenet that you could achieve your dreams simply by ‘realizing’ them-by making them real. You could realize the abundance you already had, just by bringing its potential into manifestation.

Of course this matches up with my own comparison of fiat currency to alchemy in my book Solomon’s Treasure: The Magic and Mystery of America’s Money-a comparison also made by Scottish philosopher John Law and German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in Faust. It is of note that at the time the dollar was being taken off of the gold standard, and the newly-designed dollar bills we use today were first issued, Roosevelt and his Secretary of State, Henry Wallace, were both heavily under the influence of mystic Nicholas Roerich, as well as Masonic author Manly P. Hall. It is believed that both Roerich and Hall influenced the mystical design of the dollar bill, which was created by Roosevelt and Wallace, both 33rd degree Scottish Rite masons.

Some might compare Coxey’s ideas to Keynesianism and Socialism. There is an important distinction between what Coxey was advocating and the way in which Socialist or Keynesian ideas have always been implemented. So far, whenever the government has injected money into the economy, it has done so by borrowing that money from the private banks, and enslaving the masses through taxes as collateral for the debt. Coxey’s Greenbacks were supposed to be a way to get debt-free money into the economy so that people could have control over their own destinies. Nor would these Greenbacks have to be the only type of money in circulation.

In Coxey’s day, only gold was considered money, and bank notes representing gold. Silver had been outlawed as money and pulled out of circulation by the banking cartels so that they could control the flow of commerce. The populist “bimetallists” supported both gold and silver coin. One of the most famous supporters of bimetallism was Minnesota congressman Ignatius Donnelly, author of the classic Atlantis: The Antediluvian World. But there is no reason why Greenbacks could not circulate in addition to gold and silver coin, as the populists noted. The harder it is to centrally control the money supply, the more power the people have to resist the pressure of the banking oligarchy.

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