This country was founded on debt

A postwar recession and the deepening political malaise of the newly free colonists brought matters to a head, and in 1787 Morris joined with a coterie of nationalist-minded colleagues — George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and the rest — to establish a central government with taxing authority that would finally fund the lingering debts from the war. In the process, they replaced the 13 colonial currencies with a single, national medium of exchange, established a central bank and inaugurated a freewheeling market for government securities that set the stage for a decade of robust economic growth.

There were other critical elements to the Constitution, of course, regarding the shape and scope of the government and its powers, but debt and funding were at the top of the agenda in Philadelphia.

Lest there be any doubt as to the centrality of debt in Morris’ thinking, he spelled it out in a public address upon leaving office in 1784. “The payment of debts may well be expensive, but it is infinitely more expensive to withhold the payment,” Morris warned. “The former is an expense of money, when money may be commanded to defray it; but the latter involves the destruction of that source from whence money can be derived when all other sources fail. That source, abundant, nay almost inexhaustible, is public credit.”