U.S. Public Debt: 1797-2010

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2011

Federal Debt: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions – “The federal government has carried debt throughout virtually all of U.S. history. As part of Alexander Hamilton’s plan for strengthening the financial credit of the post-Constitution nation, the federal government assumed the debt incurred during the Revolutionary War and the period under the Articles of Confederation. Since that time, federal debt as a share of the nation’s income has varied. Historically, the nation has run up deficits during wars and recessions, but then debt has subsequently declined. For example, debt as a share of the economy peaked just after World War II, but then fell. In recent years, however, sharp increases in deficits and the resulting increases in debt have led to heightened concern about the long-term sustainability of the federal government’s fiscal policies.”
Federal Debt Held by the Public as a Share of GDP (1797-2010)
2010 Financial Report of the United States Government
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