Skip Navigation
NPR News
Andrew Jackson. (Flickr)

Episode 273: When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt

Aug 7, 2012

Hear this

This text will be replaced
Launch in player

Share this

On Jan. 8, 1835, all the big political names in Washington gathered to celebrate what President Andrew Jackson had just accomplished. A senator rose to make the big announcement: "Gentlemen ... the national debt ... is PAID."

That was the one time in U.S. history when the country was debt free. It lasted exactly one year.

On today's Planet Money: The legend of the national debt. Where the debt came from, what happened the one time we paid it all off, and why Congress created the debt ceiling in the first place.

This episode originally aired on May 13, 2011.

More from Planet Money:

Download the Planet Money iPhone App. Music: Surfer Blood's "I'm Not Ready." Find us:Twitter/ Facebook/ Spotify/ Tumblr.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR

Visitor comments


NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.