Andrew jackson and the national bank
The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance by Paul KahanThe Bitter Battle over the Charter of the Second Bank of the United States and Its Lasting Impact on the American Economy
Late one night in July 1832,Martin Van Buren rushed to the White House where he found an ailing President Andrew Jackson weakened but resolute. Thundering against his political antagonists, Jackson bellowed: “The Bank, Mr. Van Buren, is trying to kill me, but I shall kill it!”With those famous words, Jackson formally declared “war” against the Second Bank of the United States and its president Nicholas Biddle. The Bank of the United States, which held the majority of Federal monies, had been established as a means of centralizing and stabilizing American currency and the economy, particularly during the country’s vulnerable early years. Jackson and his allies viewed the bank as both elitist and a threat to states’ rights. Throughout his first term, Jackson had attacked the bank viciously but failed to take action against the institution. Congress’ decision to recharter the bank forced Jackson to either make good on his rhetoric and veto the recharter or sign the recharter bill and be condemned as a hypocrite.
In The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance, historian Paul Kahan explores one of the most important and dramatic events in American political and economic history, from the idea of centralized banking and the First Bank of the United States to Jackson’s triumph, the era of “free banking,” and the creation of the Federal Reserve System. Relying on a range of primary and secondary source material, the book also shows how the Bank War was a manifestation of the debates that were sparked at the Constitutional Convention—the role of the executive branch and the role of the federal government in American society—debates that endure to this day as philosophical differences that often divide the United States.
Andrew Jackson shuts down Second Bank of the U.S.
A national bank had first been created by George Washington and Alexander Hamilton in to serve as a central repository for federal funds. Traditionally, the bank had been run by a board of directors with ties to industry and manufacturing, and therefore was biased toward the urban and industrial northern states. To Jackson, the bank symbolized how a privileged class of businessmen oppressed the will of the common people of America. He made clear that he planned to challenge the constitutionality of the bank, much to the horror of its supporters. In response, the director of the bank, Nicholas Biddle, flexed his own political power, turning to members of Congress, including the powerful Kentucky Senator Henry Clay and leading businessmen sympathetic to the bank, to fight Jackson. Later that year, Jackson presented his case against the bank in a speech to Congress; to his chagrin, its members generally agreed that the bank was indeed constitutional.
On this day in , President Andrew Jackson announced that the government would no longer deposit federal funds in the Second Bank of the United States, the quasi-governmental national bank. He then used his executive power to close the account and to put the money in various state banks. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton had created a national bank in as a central repository for federal funds.
Where are you on the Gilder Lehrman Institute timeline? Are you a teacher or a student? New content is added regularly to the website, including online exhibitions , videos , lesson plans, and issues of the online journal History Now, which features essays by leading scholars on major topics in American history. When Alexander Hamilton called for a Bank of the United States in his Report on a National Bank , he envisioned a central bank that would sustain a developing national economy. The bank would, through the creation of bank "notes," replace some of the gold and silver money in circulation.