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Charles S. Fairchild

1842-1924

Secretary of the Treasury - 1887-1889

Charles S. Fairchild (1842-1924) became Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Daniel Manning in 1885 and, when Manning's health forced him to retire in 1887, President Cleveland promoted Fairchild. Upon assuming the office of Secretary, Fairchild was confronted with a huge government surplus, the result of heavy taxation and large customs receipts. In order to prevent more money from accumulating in the Treasury vaults, Fairchild appealed to Congress to reduce taxation and to allow Treasury to deposit Treasury funds in commercial banks, an action then not permitted by law. 

Congress refused to act and Fairchild took matters into his own hands. By buying back government bonds from commercial banks, which held them as investments and increasing government deposits in commercial banks over the next two years, he was partly able to dispose of the surplus revenue. Fairchild suffered sharp congressional criticism, but he continued with his policy of putting funds into circulation and averted a financial crisis. He resigned at the end of Cleveland's term in 1889.  
- Text Courtesy of the Office of the Curator


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