Thomas Willing, Second US President (should have been)

Thomas Willing, Esq.
Thomas Willing, Esq.

In the 1,789th Year of Our Lord and the 14th Year of American Independence, Gen’l. George Washington took the oath of office in New York City to become our first president. He was exactly the right man for the job at the time. That year we needed the Father of Our Country; a national symbol. We needed the war hero who had presided over our victory in gaining independence. We needed a gentleman, a business executive and a millionaire. Gen’l Washington was all of these things. When presiding over the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the office of the executive branch was in fact created with his imposing frame and unimpeachable character in mind. Then, in his second presidential term in 1796, he opted not to stand for re-election.

Whilst our first president had to be a national icon who understood business and military organization, our second president needed to be a banker. The US Constitution was, after all, a laid-out plan for the formation a commercial republic. Ours was to be not unlike the Dutch or Venetian systems, though without the peerage titles. We had a national bank. We had hard-working people. We had a class of businessmen and large landowners. We had immigration. What we lacked were skilled masters of finance. The two greatest economic minds in the country were Alexander Hamilton and Albert Gallatin. Both were foreign born and so neither could be US President. The next-best option was Thomas Willing. Willing was Chairman of the Bank of the United States (the most-important entity in the country). Prior to that, he managed the largest independent bank in the country. He was an accomplished judge who had held local offices in Philadelphia (the nation’s capital at the time). Best of all, he was one of the richest men in the country. He would have worked well with Federalist Party leader Alexander Hamilton. And he would have steered the nation in the direction it needed to go—namely in the direction of the moneyed and propertied interests. He would have helped facilitate commerce. If the Constitution could not have a George Washington, it needed a Thomas Willing.

Sadly, like many of his caste, Thomas Willing was no politician and so he stayed out of the national public scene. Thus, a de facto system was made. The most-eminent patricians of the nation with all of the money and property would lurk in the background, controlling the economic gears and levers from New York, Philadelphia and the other big cities. They valued money, business and property above all else. Political power was of secondary concern since most political decisions could be traced back to financial or propertied interests. Least important of all was national attention. These people wanted to remain out of the public eye. Not only did they not wish to be targeted by the public for any mischievous actions, but they did not want to see or to be seen by the poor. No one needed to know how they lived. So instead, politicians like the Adams’, the Clintons (George and DeWitt), Rufus King and others happily filled the void as front-men of the government. Instead of men of business and finance, we were stuck with lawyers to run the government on behalf of the business people. The problem with this is that the lawyers didn’t know anything about business or finance. Worst of all, they did not particularly care for money. What they craved was political power—holding office and steering a course. Secondary was their love of celebrity. I find most politicians to be pretty useless. And so, thanks to this system of delusional lawyers running the government, we found ourselves with unnecessary wars, entangling military alliances and trillions in public debt.

There has never been a man so well suited for the presidency as George Washington. And there likely never will be again unless Bill Gates runs for office.