Lincoln, meanwhile, wasnâ€™t afraid to side with those who wanted to experiment with the economy.
For instance he threw his support behind the â€œgreenbackâ€ movement â€“ those who wanted a paper currency rather than gold.
Douglas Wilson, co-director of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College, in Galesburg, Ill., one of the nationâ€™s foremost Lincoln scholars, explained that in Lincolnâ€™s day, there was â€œa big splitâ€ in the way Americans looked at the monetary system and the nationâ€™s economy.
It was a split that even separated Lincoln from his own Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles.
â€œGideon Welles was what was called a â€˜hard money man.â€™ He believed very, very strongly, and lots of people did, that paper money was worthless,â€ Wilson said. â€œThe only thing that really mattered was hard money â€“ and you canâ€™t really expand the base of the economy by printing money. It just seemed to him, hopeless.â€
The â€œGreenbackâ€ became the national paper currency largely because of Lincolnâ€™s support.
â€œLincoln was willing to go in a direction that suggests that the government could go and get involved in the economy,â€ Wilson said, though he added that in Lincolnâ€™s case, government involvement â€œwasnâ€™t for national investment, it was for national preservation.â€
â€œHe thought, Iâ€™ve got to have guns, Iâ€™ve got to have uniforms, Iâ€™ve got to have ships, and Iâ€™ve got to have artillery. If I canâ€™t pay for it with hard money, Iâ€™ll pay for it whatever way I can find,â€ Wilson said.
Wilson sees something of a parallel between Lincolnâ€™s era and today.