Robert Morris became the financier of the American Revolution. Morris had built a fortune from his partnership with Thomas Willing in Willing Morris and Company, which dealt in import, export and banking. This occurred due to his election as Superintendent of Finance from 1781 to 1784. As Superintendent of Finance he requested that he also be able to do business, even though he may profit from some of his decisions. If he did make personal profit then he later ploughed it into personally financing the revolution from his own pocket, risking everything he had. In this position Morris proposed the creation of a national bank, called The Bank of North America. The revolutionaries were broke and credit was extremely hard to get. Morris was one of the wealthiest,if not the wealthiest, men supporting the revolution and supplied some of the capital for the bank, but it was insufficient. Benjamin Franklin persuaded the French to loan the revolutionaries some gold to finance the revolution. Morris then had this deposited in the newly created Bank of North America, and used fractional reserve banking to create many millions in paper money which was then used to buy the bank stock, and to pay the revolutionaries and for supplies. Morris also risked his own credit and finances to pay for certain Continental Army operations, including the defeat of Cornwallis. So for this Morris was known as The Financier.
After the war of independence, Morris went back into the import and export business, and was a well respected man for his endeavours to finance the revolution. He quickly built up another fortune, and bought several million acres of land anticipating building farms and great towns for the expected great influx of immigrants, but the mass immigration never occurred and he began to owe his latest fortune and more. Morris proposed Washington as President. On becoming President, Washington asked Morris to become Secretary of the Treasury. Morris refused and instead proposed Alexander Hamilton. Morris had earlier written “On Public Credit” in which he proposed a national bank. One of Hamilton’s first duties was to solve the monetary crisis of the new republic which was seriously in debt. Hamilton proposed the First Bank of the United States, which was controlled by Morris’ partner Thomas Willing and was based on Morris’ ideas of public credit.
Morris later spent four years in debtors’ prison due to the failed land purchases. New laws were enacted to get Morris out debtor's prison. A few years after release he died in poverty in 1806.
Morris' story has persuaded me that money is a very, very complex concept, and the study of money is perhaps one of the greatest challenges to man. I still believe very strongly that the power to create money should never ever be in private hands as it is today, for it gives way too much power to certain people who, as they have shown, cannot be trusted with it and abuse that power for their own selfish megalomaniac purposes. During the US Civil War Abraham Lincoln saved the USA from the international bankers with Greenbacks, which were paper money backed by virtually nothing, but the country had faith in them and so they were accepted which kept the Union. Similarly, it would seem that Morris proposed nearly the same thing as Lincoln, but there was an element of privateering, but I believe any profit that Morris did make he used to pay for the revolution.