Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, and the War of American Finance

Open Access
Author:
Bannister, Derek
Area of Honors:
History
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Amy S Greenberg, Thesis Supervisor
  • Cathleen Denise Cahill, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • history
  • central bank
  • first bank of the united states
  • second bank of the united states
  • alexander hamilton
  • andrew jackson
  • american
  • united states
  • finance
  • bank war
  • henry clay
  • nicholas biddle
Abstract:
In the midst of the Revolutionary War and a fight for a new nation, Alexander Hamilton began writing about public finance and the need for the rebelling colonies to establish a national bank. Hamilton’s plans included selling stock in the bank to private investors as well as offering Congress oversight over the bank, policies which he believed would help align the public and private desires. Unfortunately for the bank – in its second iteration as the Second Bank of the United States – political rivalries and Andrew Jackson’s personal scruples put the institution at the center of a battle that ultimately ended in its destruction. Ultimately, Hamilton was driven by the desire for the American political experiment to survive in an era of uncertainty regarding the future of the republic. Jackson, on the other hand, had little to fear when it came to the survival of the United States and hoped to check the power of his ideological and political enemies.