Superintendent of Finance of the United States

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Superintendent of Finance of United States
Appointer Congress of the Confederation
Inaugural holder Robert Morris
Formation 1781
Final holder Robert Morris
Abolished 1785
Deputy Gouverneur Morris

In 1781 the Congress of the Confederation created executive offices to be filled by outsiders, or as they said "civilians".[citation needed] The post of Superintendent of Finance of the United States was one of the first three executive offices so created. Another office, Agent of the Marine, was also created was not directly filled, but taken on voluntarily by the Superintendent.[1] The only person to hold the office was Robert Morris, who served from 1781 to 1784,[2] with the assistance of Gouverneur Morris. Its powers were analogous to that of Secretary of the Treasury or the Prime Minister of many British Commonwealth countries. Unlike the office of Prime Minister, the office of Superintendent was not held by an individual who was at the time a member of the government. In this way, it was more like the prototype for the soon to be devised office of the Presidency.

The Bank of North America was chartered on December 31, 1781 by the Congress of the Confederation and opened on January 7, 1782, at the prodding of Robert Morris.[2] This was thus the nation's first de facto central bank, following in the footsteps of the Bank of England until 1785, when the Bank’s charter within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was revoked.

After Morris resigned, the post was taken over by a committee of three.

See also

Further reading

  • Ferguson, E. James. The power of the purse: A history of American public finance, 1776-1790 (1961)
  • Rappleye, Charles. Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution (2010)
  • Ver Steeg, Clarence L. Robert Morris, Revolutionary Financier. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1954 (ISBN 0-374-98078-0).


  1. Benson J. Lossing. Household History for All Readers. 1877. Republished in Our Country vol. 2
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Robert Morris". Signers of the Declaration Biographically Sketches. National Park Services. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>