The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House
by Jesse J Holland
First Lyons Press (2017)
This fascinating book recounts the personal histories of individuals slaves owned by US presidents between 1789 and 1861. Twelve of the first eighteen presidents owned slaves. Of founding fathers who became president, only John Adams and John Quincy Adam (who were Quakers) didn’t own them. Jefferson and Adams owned slaves despite speaking out against slavery.
Most is known about the individual slaves owned by Washington, Jefferson and Madison. At the time of the revolution, Washington owned 150 slaves. He would bring some of his house slaves with him to New York (the first US capitol) when he assumed the presidency in 1789. Things got more complicated when the US capitol moved to Philadelphia in 1790. Pennsylvania, which abolished slavery in 1780, had a law automatically granting freedom to any slave who remained in the state longer than six months. This meant Washington had to send his slaves back to his Mount Vernon plantation every six months to retain ownership.* This process likely led to of them to escape.
The chapter on Jefferson’s slaves includes his relationship with 15-year-old Sally Hemmings and the six children he had by her. Sally and her children remained at Jefferson’s Virginia plantation, though her brother James served as a French-trained chef in the Jefferson White House.
Madison owned 100 slaves. Like Washington and Jefferson brought his house slaves to the White House to serve as domestic servants.
In addition to chapters on slaves owned by Monroe, Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison, Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Andrew Johnson and Grant, there are excellent chapters on the history of the transition from indentured servitude to slavery and the early states to abolish slavery (Vermont 1777, Massachusetts 1783 and New York 1827).
One of the best chapters concerns the vital role slaves played in constructing the White House. One of the most important jobs they performed was digging up clay for bricks, although they also quarried stone used in interior walls and served as carpenters. The US paid their owners a wage for their services.
*This six-month rule was largely responsible for the decision to create a separate district as the nation’s capitol (Washington DC). The Southern slave states of Maryland and Virginia gladly gave up some of their state territory to accommodate slave-holding presidents.
Toward an American Revolution: Exposing the Constitution and other Illusions
by Jerry Fresia
South End Press (1988)
This book is a great follow-up for people wanting to know more about the secret machinations behind the US Constitution after watching the film Plutocracy.
I knew virtually nothing about the framing of the Constitution when I first read Toward an American Revolution in the mid-nineties. Fresia reveals how the first Constitutional Convention was actually a secret meeting of rich property owners and merchants whose business interests (expanded trade and personal wealth) were threatened by farmers who had seized control of legislatures in twelve out of thirteen states.
The clear intent of Washington, Hamilton, Madison and the other businessmen and plantation ownders who wrote the Constitution was to transfer power from relatively autonomous state assemblies to a centralized federal government. Most agreed from the outset that they wanted a system of government more like Britain’s, ie one in which the business elite could use government authority to enhance their economic interests.
According to Fresia, the true purpose of constitutional “checks and balances” (ie the three branches of government) was to insure that moneyed interests enjoyed a greater voice than ordinary people. The Senate, a distinctly unrepresentative body, plays a major role in minimizing popular input. The Senate, in which a tiny state like Rhode Island has the same number of votes as an a big state like California, is given sole authority to approve treaties and presidential appointees. Their longer terms (six years) mean senators are less accountable to voters than congress people (who have two years terms). Until 1913, senators were still chosen by the electoral college (as opposed by direct vote) as the president is.
In 2015, more than 200 years after the Constitution was first written, Americans are still denied the right to vote directly for President.
Toward an American Revolution also describes the dirty tricks the founding father used to get 9 legislatures to ratify the Constitution, despite overwhelming opposition from the majority of enfranchised American voters.
The second half of the book fast forwards to the twentieth century to demonstrate how the US has continued to be ruled by a secret political elite. The latter have a specific agenda of suppressing democracy when it interferes with their business interests.
The examples given include America’s “secret police” force under the FBI’s Cointelpo operation, the role played by President Herbert Hoover and US industrialists (represented by Wall Street lawyer Allen Dulles) in financing the rise of Hitler, the subsequent appointment of Dulles to head the most powerful secret police apparatus in history (the CIA), his incorporation of Nazi war criminals into US intelligence networks, the role of “secret government” in the assassination of JFK, the corruption of our democratically elected representatives by corporate lobbyists and Reagan’s illegal war in Nicaragua.
Produced twelve years before the 2008 economic collapse, The Money Masters provides a comprehensive outline of the role of the international banking cartel in hijacking America’s so-called “democratic” government. Referring to them as “moneychangers” (a New Testament reference), Still explores the key role international banksters have played in deliberately creating depressions and panics, instigating US wars, and assassinating presidents who sought to curtail their power.
Understanding how money is created in the US and other capitalist countries is essential in grasping this historical perspective. Contrary to popular misconception, the federal government doesn’t create or control the money supply – private banks do. Moreover the Federal Reserve isn’t a government agency. It’s actually a private corporation owned by its member banks. What’s more, the fractional reserve banking system allows these banks to loan and charge interest on money they don’t possess – that they essentially create out of thin air.
Most of the film is devoted to the 130 year battle between the world banking cartel and the American presidents who stood up to them: Jefferson, Madison, Andrew Jackson, Lincoln, McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and Warren Harding. Jefferson and Madison both warned that allowing private banks to seize control of money creation would be the end of democratic rule in the US.
During the 19th century, the global banking cartel was dominated by key families, like the Rothschilds and Rockefellers. However during the 20th century, this power shifted to a corporate structure with control residing with CEOs and interlocking boards. Still stresses that global economic and political instability can no longer be blamed on specific families (i.e. the Rothschilds) – that the problem lies with the corporate banking system itself.
The solution he proposes is to end fractional reserve banking and the ability of private banks to create money – to follow Lincoln’s example by restoring the responsibility for money creation to federal and state governments.
As the 3 ½ hour film below covers nearly 1000 years of history, I have indexed the key historical events covered:
0-21 min – 1100 AD King Henry I creates the tally stick to counter the influence of private goldsmiths and moneychangers who are wreaking economic havoc by manipulating the supply of gold coins.
22-27 min – 17th century Queen Elizabeth I counters the power of private moneychangers by issuing coins directly from the royal treasury. In 1642, international moneychangers finance Oliver Cromwell, who leads a Civil War to overthrow the monarchy. Later they finance an invasion by the Dutch William of Orange to invade England and overthrow the House of Stuart. In 1694 Bank of England (the world’s first central bank) is formed and granted power to create money out of thin air.
28-36 min 18th century Amschel Moses Bower, Frankfurt moneychanger, changes his name to Rothschild and five of his sons assume control of the central banks of Germany, Austria, London, Italy and Paris. The Rothschild family plays major role in financing the Vanderbilt and Harrison railroad monopolies, Carnegie’s monopoly of the steel industry, and 80% of JP Morgan’s holdings. The Rothschild family proceeds to finance both sides of a continuous cycle of European wars. The British treasury incurs a 140 million pound debt to the Bank of England. George III is forced to raise revenue by taxing the American colonies.
37-38 min 1764 Under pressure from the Bank of England, George III passes currency act forbidding the use of colonial scrip (paper money) in the American colonies. Forced to use scarce gold and silver coins issued by the Bank of England, the colonies are plunged into deep depression with massive unemployment. Benjamin Franklin maintains this, not the tea tax, triggers the American Revolution.
39-44 min 1781 Over strong objections of Jefferson and Madison, charter is granted for the Bank of North America, a privately owned central bank which is allowed to create money out of thin air. Charter allowed to lapse in 1785, and power to issue money reverts to federal government.
45–51 min 1790 Alexander Hamilton pressures Congress to charter a second private bank, the Bank of the United States. The US Treasury, which provides all the funds, is a 20% shareholder. The Bank creates money out of thin air to loan funds to private shareholders to purchase the other 80%.
52-99 min 1811 Congress refuses to renew Bank of US charter, despite a threat by Nathan Mayer Rothschild that “ . . .the United Stateswill find itself involved in a most disastrous war (War of 1812) if the bank’s charter is not renewed.”
1:00-1:01hr 1816 Devastated by war and war debt, Congress grants new charter for the (private) Bank of the United States, again funded mainly by the federal government. The US Treasury winds up with 20% share, with the Bank creating additional money to loan private shareholders (mostly foreign) sufficient funds to buy the other 80%.
1:02-1:10hr 1828 Andrew Jackson elected president on platform to end massive corruption and fraud at the Bank of the United Statesby shutting it down. Nearly assassinated after “powerful Europeans” hire gunman to kill him. The USremains free of central bank control for 77 years, with state chartered banks assuming responsibility for money creation.
1:11-1:18hr Civil War European financial powers pressure Southern states to secede by boycotting their cotton. Ending slavery was not the original cause of US Civil War, as Lincolnoriginally had no intention of abolishing it.
1:19-1:27hr 1862 To finance the Civil War, Lincoln issues $450 million in paper money (greenbacks) and is attacked by the London Times – which calls for the destruction of the US before it destroys the world’s monarchies. British troops mobilize in Canada and British navy mobilizes on Atlantic coast. The Rothschilds grant Napoleon III $3 million to seize Mexico. Russian czar stations battleships on West Coast and pledges to come to US defense if England and France enter Civil War (on behalf of the South). Lincoln agrees to allow national banks to temporarily issue currency through 1863 National Banking Act, though his government-issued greenbacks continue to circulate until 1994. German chancellor Otto von Bismarck predicts triumph for global banking cartel following Lincoln’s 1865 assassination. In 1934 Vancouver Mayor Gerry McGreer releases Secret Service records revealing John Wilkes Booth was hired by powerful banking interests.
1:28–1:30hr 1873 Banking interests pressure Congress to demonetize silver (which is far more plentiful than gold) and place all US money on gold standard. Deliberate contraction of the money supply leads to severe depression and unemployment (1/3 of US workforce unemployed in 1876). In 1877 riots calling for return of silver currency lead to 1878 Sherman Law, which allows limited number of silver coins to be minted.
1:37-1:38 hr 1881 President Garfield attacks the moneychangers and is assassinated.
1.38–1:47 hr 1891-1907 Determined to manipulate public opinion in favor of a new (private) central bank, themoneychangersdeliberately shrink US money supply, causing 20 years of extreme economic instability. .
1:48-1:54 hr 1907 secret meeting of Rockefellers and other major banking families at Jekyll Island to draw up plans for new central bank called the Federal Reserve. President Taft (a Republican) refuses to support it, so moneychangers begin courting Woodrow Wilson (a Democrat)
1:54-1:57 hr 1913 Wilson defeats Taft with support from William Jennings Bryant and other currency reformers by promising he won’t support the new central bank. Wilson betrays his supporters and Federal Reserve Act passed during Christmas recess. The Act requires the federal government to borrow funding for operational expenses from the Federal Reserve. A federal income tax is adopted to ensure the government can make the interest payments.
2:13-2:17 hr 1905-1917 $20 million of Federal Reserve funds channeled to Bolsheviks via Chase Manhattan Bank (controlled by Rockefellers) after czar denies them access to Russian oil fields.
2:18- 2:29 hr 1929 Federal Reserve deliberately contracts money supply and crashes the stock market after all their members transfer their wealth from stocks to gold and cash. According to Milton Friedman, this contraction triggers Great Depression.
2:30-2:31hr 1931 Rep Louis McFadden warns that US banks are subsidizing the rise of Hitler, channeling over $30 billion in Federal Reserve funds via Chase Manhattan Bank.
2:32-2:44 hr 1933 Roosevelt prohibits US citizens from owning gold coins or bullion and forces them to turn all their gold to the federal government. All US Treasury gold becomes property of Federal Reserve and most of it is sold to European speculators.
2:45-2:50 hr 1945 a global central bank is formed through creation of IMF, World Bank, and International Bank of Settlements. All are run by private bankers, with intention of consolidating control of the global money supply.
2:51-2:58 hr 1989-1993 Economy of Japan and Mexico wiped out when Bank of International Settlements contracts the global money supply. Punitive IMF interest charges result in massive transfer of wealth from third world countries to World Bank. Continuing consolidation of central bank control with formation of NAFTA and WTO.
Still produced a sequel to the Money Masters in 2010 called The Secret of Oz in 2010. It focuses mainly on the rise of the Populist movement in the 1890s and the presidential campaigns of Populist Democrat William Jennings Bryant. Bryant ran on a platform of ending the power of private banks to issue money and returning to federally issued greenbacks and silver coinage. L Frank Baum, who wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was a strong Bryant supporter. The book is loaded with symbols related to monetary reform (for example, the silver slippers, Emerald City, and the yellow brick road).