For the first 70 years, the gold-priced public debt was always less than twice its 1791 level, and often below the starting point.
Now to see the progress of the public debt since 1860:
... and second, since 1945:
These pictures seem to indicate the influence of:
(a) two world wars
(b) the closure of the "gold window" in 1971
(c) monetary expansion since the 1980s
(d) the Grand Bust of 2000, NOT 2007, and the consequent flight to commodities
- and on this way of measuring the catastrophe, we're 50% worse off than at the end of WWII - plus we're not rebuilding the economy, we're doing the reverse.