Among the Jefferson administration’s enduring achievements was to contain the federal government by restraining its fiscal power. That was Albert Gallatin’s work. He abolished internal revenue taxes in peacetime, slashed federal spending, and repaid half of the national debt and had a plan to retire the debt (before the War of 1812 intervened). Heavy spending during the War of 1812 severely tested Gallatin’s system, but his basic reforms created a culture of fiscal restraint that survived for over 120 years.

Albert Gallatin


A fight over federal fiscal and monetary policy was at the center of politics in the early American republic. Jefferson’s champion in that fight was Albert Gallatin.

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