U.S. Independent Treasury System

City: Washington

State: DC

Referred to by Abraham Lincoln and others as the Sub-Treasury System, the U.S. Independent Treasury System was the alternative to national banks proposed and implemented by Democrats during the 1840s. By 1846, it was firmly in place and existed in some fashion for the rest of Lincoln's lifetime, although it was altered significantly during his presidency when Republicans reintroduced a national bank in 1863. In short, the system divorced national finances from the broader banking and financial system by holding government funds in the treasury building itself and various sub-treasuries located throughout the nation. All payments to and from the government would be handled through specie or unique treasury notes. Whigs opposed the system and Lincoln made a speech directly voicing his opposition to it.

David Kinley, The History, Organization, and Influence of the Independent Treasury of the United States (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1893); Speech of Mr. Lincoln, at a Political Discussion, in the Hall of the House of Representatives, December 1839, at Springfield, Illinois.