Thomas Jefferson, representing rural, small-government and small-business interests, argued that sustaining a national debt would centralise economic influence in a small number of privileged hands. It could also lead to the kind of class inequality that had galvanised so many American immigrants to flee their native countries.
Legally and ethically, Jefferson argued, "We should consider ourselves unauthorised to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves."
When Jefferson became the president of America in 1801, he immediately began trying to reduce the debt:
Publish date: 15 October 2003
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