|About the Book|
Born to an aristocratic Swiss family, Albert Gallatin (1761-1849) immigrated to America in 1780. Elected to Congress in 1795 and serving until 1801, Gallatin fought constantly with the independent minded first Secretary of the Treasury AlexanderMoreBorn to an aristocratic Swiss family, Albert Gallatin (1761-1849) immigrated to America in 1780. Elected to Congress in 1795 and serving until 1801, Gallatin fought constantly with the independent minded first Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. He was responsible for the law of 1801 requiring an annual report by the Secretary of the Treasury, and he submitted the first one later that year as Secretary. He also helped create the powerful House Ways and Means Committee to assure Treasurys accountability to Congress by reviewing the Departments annual report concerning revenues, debts, loans, and expenditures. Appointed Secretary of the Treasury in 1801 by President Jefferson and continuing under President James Madison until 1814, Gallatin was in office nearly fourteen years, the longest term of any Secretary in the Departments history. As Secretary, he followed a Hamiltonian course, establishing the independence of the Secretary of the Treasury and institutionalizing the Department structures. Gallatin considerably reduced the federal debt by setting aside revenue for that purpose, and he revived internal taxes to pay for the War of 1812 but they were not sufficient. Having failed to convince Congress to recharter the First Bank of the United States in 1811, and foreseeing financial disaster, he resigned in 1814. That year Gallatin went to Russia to represent the United States in the peace conference with England and France settling hostilities. The outcome of the conference was the Treaty of Ghent signed in 1814.