The formation of the Second Bank of the United States came at the end of the War of 1812, in the year 1819. It was granted a twenty year charter. For nearly 200 years, the battle between the Bank’s president, Nicholas Biddle, and President Andrew Jackson remains one of the most discussed events in history. Many historians believe Andrew Jackson was simply out to destroy the Bank of the United States. Jackson is quoted telling Martin Van Buren, “the Bank is trying to kill me, but I will kill it” (Bernard Weisberger, 12). Was the issue of recharter a personal vendetta, or did Andrew Jackson act responsibly in accordance to the law?
Nicholas Biddle was named President of the Bank of the United States in 1823. In 1828, Andrew Jackson was elected President of the United States. Biddle felt President Jackson’s role was inferior to his own. By the end of the 1820’s, their personal battle had turned to war, as well as turning politics into theater. Jackson did not believe in bank notes, but rather believed that all bank notes should be backed with silver and gold, also referred to as specie. The Bank, in the meantime, was doing seventy-million dollars a year in business, circulating twenty-one million dollars of its own notes (Weisberger, 11). Financially, America was flourishing. Settlers were starting businesses, buying land, and creating the American dream.
With America thriving in its own successes, Biddle decided to apply for recharter four years early in the election year of 1832. Andrew Jackson was running for re-election, and Biddle saw this as an opportunity. Recharter passed the Senate 20-8 and the House 107-85 (Weisberger, 11). It was now in the hands of the President, and Biddle was...
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...r he thought first-rate civic strategy required it. Jackson succeeded in destroying the Bank of the United States. Perhaps the most ironic part of it all is that the man who did not believe in paper money now has his face plastered on the most popular paper currency in circulation in the United States.
Bennett, William J. “America: The Last Best Hope (Volume I): From the Age of Discovery to a World at War.” Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006. 247-250. Print.
Perkins, Edwin J. “Lost Opportunities For Compromise in the Bank War: A Reassessment of Jackson’s Veto Message.” Business History Review. 61.4 (1987): 531-542. General OneFile. Web. 10 Apr. 2011.
Weisberger, Bernard A. “The Bank War: History of First U.S. Government Bank.” American Heritage. July-Aug. 1997: 10-12. General OneFile. Web. 12 Apr. 2011.
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