President of the United States
The president of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. In contemporary times, the president is looked upon as one of the world's most powerful political figures as the leader of the only remaining global superpower; the role includes responsibility for the world's most expensive military, which has the second largest nuclear arsenal. The president leads the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP; the president possesses international hard and soft power. Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, it vests the executive power of the United States in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic and judicial officers, concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The president directs the foreign and domestic policies of the United States, takes an active role in promoting his policy priorities to members of Congress. In addition, as part of the system of checks and balances, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to sign or veto federal legislation; the power of the presidency has grown since its formation, as has the power of the federal government as a whole. Through the Electoral College, registered voters indirectly elect the president and vice president to a four-year term; this is the only federal election in the United States, not decided by popular vote. Nine vice presidents became president by virtue of a president's intra-term resignation. Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 sets three qualifications for holding the presidency: natural-born U. S. citizenship.
The Twenty-second Amendment precludes any person from being elected president to a third term. In all, 44 individuals have served 45 presidencies spanning 57 full four-year terms. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms, so he is counted twice, as both the 22nd and 24th president. Donald Trump of New York is the current president of the United States, he assumed office on January 20, 2017. In July 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, the Thirteen Colonies, acting jointly through the Second Continental Congress, declared themselves to be 13 independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. Recognizing the necessity of coordinating their efforts against the British, the Continental Congress began the process of drafting a constitution that would bind the states together. There were long debates on a number of issues, including representation and voting, the exact powers to be given the central government. Congress finished work on the Articles of Confederation to establish a perpetual union between the states in November 1777 and sent it to the states for ratification.
Under the Articles, which took effect on March 1, 1781, the Congress of the Confederation was a central political authority without any legislative power. It could make its own resolutions and regulations, but not any laws, could not impose any taxes or enforce local commercial regulations upon its citizens; this institutional design reflected how Americans believed the deposed British system of Crown and Parliament ought to have functioned with respect to the royal dominion: a superintending body for matters that concerned the entire empire. The states were out from under any monarchy and assigned some royal prerogatives to Congress; the members of Congress elected a President of the United States in Congress Assembled to preside over its deliberation as a neutral discussion moderator. Unrelated to and quite dissimilar from the office of President of the United States, it was a ceremonial position without much influence. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris secured independence for each of the former colonies.
With peace at hand, the states each turned toward their own internal affairs. By 1786, Americans found their continental borders besieged and weak and their respective economies in crises as neighboring states agitated trade rivalries with one another, they witnessed their hard currency pouring into foreign markets to pay for imports, their Mediterranean commerce preyed upon by North African pirates, their foreign-financed Revolutionary War debts unpaid and accruing interest. Civil and political unrest loomed. Following the successful resolution of commercial and fishing disputes between Virginia and Maryland at the Mount Vernon Conference in 1785, Virginia called for a trade conference between all the states, set for September 1786 in Annapolis, with an aim toward resolving further-reaching interstate commercial antagonisms; when the convention failed for lack of attendance due to suspicions among most of the other states, Alexander Hamilton led the Annapolis delegates in a call for a convention to offer revisions to the Articles, to be held the next spring in Philadelphia.
Prospects for the next convention appeared bleak until James Madison and Edmund Randolph succeeded in securing George Washington's attendance to Philadelphia as a delegate for Virginia. When the Constitutional Convention convened in May 1787, the 12 state delegations in attendance (Rh
The Spanish dollar known as the piece of eight, is a silver coin, of 38 mm diameter, worth eight Spanish reales, minted in the Spanish Empire following a monetary reform in 1497. The Spanish dollar was used by many countries as the first international/world currency because of its uniformity in standard and milling characteristics; some countries countersigned the Spanish dollar. The Spanish dollar was the coin upon which the original United States dollar was based, it remained legal tender in the United States until the Coinage Act of 1857; because it was used in Europe, the Americas, the Far East, it became the first world currency by the late 18th century. Aside from the U. S. dollar, several other currencies, such as the Canadian dollar, the Japanese yen, the Chinese yuan, the Philippine peso, several currencies in the rest of the Americas, were based on the Spanish dollar and other 8-real coins. Diverse theories link the origin of the "$" symbol to the columns and stripes that appear on one side of the Spanish dollar.
The term peso was used in Spanish to refer to this denomination, it became the basis for many of the currencies in the former Spanish colonies, including the Argentine, Chilean, Costa Rican, Dominican, Guatemalan, Mexican, Paraguayan, Puerto Rican, Salvadoran and Venezuelan pesos. Of these, "peso" remains the name of the official currency in Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Uruguay. Millions of Spanish dollars were minted over the course of several centuries, they were among the most circulating coins of the colonial period in the Americas, were still in use in North America and in South-East Asia in the 19th century. In the 16th century, Count Hieronymus Schlick of Bohemia began minting a coin known as a Joachimsthaler, named for Joachimsthal, the valley in the Ore Mountains where the silver was mined. Joachimstaler was shortened to taler, a word that found its way into Norwegian and Swedish as daler, Russian as талер, Czech and Slovene as tolar, Polish as talar, Dutch as daalder, Amharic as ታላሪ, Hungarian as tallér, Italian as tallero, Greek as τάληρο, Spanish tálero and English as dollar.
The Joachimsthaler weighed 451 Troy grains of silver. So successful were these coins that similar thalers were minted in France; the Burgundian Cross Thaler depicted the Cross of Burgundy and was prevalent in the Burgundian Netherlands that were revolting against the Spanish king and Duke of Burgundy Philip II. After 1575, the Dutch revolting provinces replaced the currency with a daalder depicting a lion, hence its Dutch name leeuwendaalder. To facilitate export trade, the leeuwendaalder was authorized to contain 427.16 grains of.750 fine silver, lighter than the large denomination coins in circulation. It was more advantageous for a Dutch merchant to pay a foreign debt in leeuwendaalders rather than in other heavier, more costly coins. Thus, the leeuwendaalder or lion dollar became the coin of choice for foreign trade, it became popular in the Middle East, colonies in the east and west. They circulated throughout the English colonies during the 17th and early 18th centuries. From New Netherland the lion dollar spread to all thirteen colonies in the west.
English speakers began to apply the word "dollar" to the Spanish peso or "piece of eight" by 1581, widely used in the British North American colonies at the time of the American Revolution, hence adopted as the name and weight of the US monetary unit in the late 18th century. After the introduction of the Guldengroschen in Austria in 1486, the concept of a large silver coin with high purity spread throughout the rest of Europe. Monetary reform in Spain brought about the introduction of an 8-real coin in 1497. In 1537 the Spanish escudo gold coin was introduced, worth 16 reales; the Gold Doubloon was worth 32 reales or 2 escudos. It is this divisibility into 8 which caused the silver coins to be named "pieces of eight". In the following centuries, the coin was minted with several different designs at various mints in Spain and the New World, having gained wide acceptance beyond Spain's borders. Thanks to the vast silver deposits that were found in Potosí in modern-day Bolivia and to a lesser extent in Mexico, to silver from Spain's possessions throughout the Americas, mints in Mexico and Peru began to strike the coin.
The main New World mints for Spanish dollars were at Potosí, Mexico City, silver dollars from these mints could be distinguished from those minted in Spain by the Pillars of Hercules design on the reverse. In the 19th century, the coin's denomination was changed to 20 reales and 2 escudos. Spain's adoption of the peseta in 1869 and its joining the Latin Monetary Union meant the effective end of the last vestiges of the Spanish dollar in Spain itself. However, the 5-peseta coin was smaller and lighter but was of high purity silver. In the 1990s, commemorative 2000-peseta coins were minted, similar in size and weight to the 8 reales and with high fineness. Following independence in 1821, Mexican coinage of silver reales an
Second Bank of the United States
The Second Bank of the United States, located in Philadelphia, was the second federally authorized Hamiltonian national bank in the United States during its 20-year charter from February 1816 to January 1836. The bank's formal name, according to section 9 of its charter as passed by Congress, was "The President and Company, of the Bank of the United States."A private corporation with public duties, the bank handled all fiscal transactions for the U. S. Government, was accountable to Congress and the U. S. Treasury. Twenty percent of its capital was owned by the federal government, the bank's single largest stockholder. Four thousand private investors held 80% of the bank's capital, including one thousand Europeans; the bulk of the stocks were held by a few hundred wealthy Americans. In its time, the institution was the largest monied corporation in the world; the essential function of the bank was to regulate the public credit issued by private banking institutions through the fiscal duties it performed for the U.
S. Treasury, to establish a sound and stable national currency; the federal deposits endowed the BUS with its regulatory capacity. Modeled on Alexander Hamilton's First Bank of the United States, the Second Bank was chartered by President James Madison in 1816 and began operations at its main branch in Philadelphia on January 7, 1817, managing twenty-five branch offices nationwide by 1832; the efforts to renew the bank's charter put the institution at the center of the general election of 1832, in which the bank's president Nicholas Biddle and pro-bank National Republicans led by Henry Clay clashed with the "hard-money" Andrew Jackson administration and eastern banking interests in the Bank War. Failing to secure recharter, the Second Bank of the United States became a private corporation in 1836, underwent liquidation in 1841; the political support for the revival of a national banking system was rooted in the early 19th century transformation of the country from simple Jeffersonian agrarianism towards one interdependent with industrialization and finance.
In the aftermath of the War of 1812 the federal government suffered from the disarray of an unregulated currency and a lack of fiscal order. A national alliance arose to legislate a central bank to address these needs; the political climate—dubbed the Era of Good Feelings—favored the development of national programs and institutions, including a protective tariff, internal improvements and the revival of a Bank of the United States Southern and western support for the bank, led by Republican nationalists John C. Calhoun of South Carolina and Henry Clay of Kentucky was decisive in the successful chartering effort; the charter was signed into law by James Madison on April 10, 1816. Subsequent efforts by Calhoun and Clay to earmark the bank's $1.5 million establishment "bonus", annual dividends estimated at $650,000, as a fund for internal improvements, was vetoed by President Madison, on strict constructionist grounds. Opposition to the bank's revival emanated from two interests. Old Republicans, represented by John Taylor of Caroline and John Randolph of Roanoke characterized the Second Bank of the United States as both constitutionally illegitimate and a direct threat to Jeffersonian agrarianism, state sovereignty and the institution of slavery, expressed by Taylor's statement that "...if Congress could incorporate a bank, it might emancipate a slave".
Hostile to the regulatory effects of the central bank, private banks—proliferating with or without state charters—had scuttled rechartering of the first BUS in 1811. These interests played significant roles in undermining the institution during the administration of U. S. President Andrew Jackson; the BUS was launched in the midst of a major global market readjustment as Europe recovered from the Napoleonic Wars The central bank was charged with restraining uninhibited private bank note issue—already in progress—that threatened to create a credit bubble and the risks of a financial collapse. Government land sales in the West, fueled by European demand for agricultural products, ensured that a speculative bubble would form; the national bank was engaged in promoting a democratized expansion of credit to accommodate laissez-faire impulses among eastern business entrepreneurs and credit hungry western and southern farmers. Under the management of the first BUS president William Jones, the bank failed to control paper money issued from its branch banks in the West and South, contributing to the post-war speculative land boom.
When the U. S. markets collapsed in the Panic of 1819—a result of global economic adjustments—the central bank came under withering criticism for its belated tight money policies—policies that exacerbated mass unemployment and plunging property values. Further, it transpired that branch directors for the Baltimore office had engaged in fraud and larceny. Resigning in January 1819, Jones was replaced by Langdon Cheves who continued the contraction in credit in an effort to stop inflation and stabilize the bank as the economy began to correct; the central bank's reaction to the crisis—a clumsy expansion a sharp contraction of credit—indicated its weakness, not its strength. The effects were catastrophic, resulting in a protracted recession with mass unemployment and a sharp drop in property values that persisted until 1822; the financial crisis raised doubts among the American public as to the efficacy of paper money, in whose interests a national system of finance operated. Upon this widespread disaffection the anti-bank Jacksonian Democrats would mobilize opposition to the BUS in the 1830s.
The national bank was in general disrepute among most Americans when Nicholas Biddle, the third and last president of the bank, was app
Andrew Jackson was an American soldier and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States from 1829 to 1837. Before being elected to the presidency, Jackson gained fame as a general in the United States Army and served in both houses of Congress; as president, Jackson sought to advance the rights of the "common man" against a "corrupt aristocracy" and to preserve the Union. Born in the colonial Carolinas to a Scotch-Irish family in the decade before the American Revolutionary War, Jackson became a frontier lawyer and married Rachel Donelson Robards, he served in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, representing Tennessee. After resigning, he served as a justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court from 1798 until 1804. Jackson purchased a property known as The Hermitage, became a wealthy, slaveowning planter. In 1801, he was appointed colonel of the Tennessee militia and was elected its commander the following year, he led troops during the Creek War of 1813–1814, winning the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
The subsequent Treaty of Fort Jackson required the Creek surrender of vast lands in present-day Alabama and Georgia. In the concurrent war against the British, Jackson's victory in 1815 at the Battle of New Orleans made him a national hero. Jackson led U. S. forces in the First Seminole War. Jackson served as Florida's first territorial governor before returning to the Senate, he ran for president in 1824, winning a plurality of the electoral vote. As no candidate won an electoral majority, the House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams in a contingent election. In reaction to the alleged "corrupt bargain" between Adams and Henry Clay and the ambitious agenda of President Adams, Jackson's supporters founded the Democratic Party. Jackson ran again in 1828. Jackson faced the threat of secession by South Carolina over what opponents called the "Tariff of Abominations." The crisis was defused when the tariff was amended, Jackson threatened the use of military force if South Carolina attempted to secede.
In Congress, Henry Clay led the effort to reauthorize the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson, regarding the Bank as a corrupt institution, vetoed the renewal of its charter. After a lengthy struggle and his allies dismantled the Bank. In 1835, Jackson became the only president to pay off the national debt, fulfilling a longtime goal, his presidency marked the beginning of the ascendancy of the party "spoils system" in American politics. In 1830, Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, which forcibly relocated most members of the Native American tribes in the South to Indian Territory; the relocation process resulted in widespread death and disease. Jackson opposed the abolitionist movement. In foreign affairs, Jackson's administration concluded a "most favored nation" treaty with Great Britain, settled claims of damages against France from the Napoleonic Wars, recognized the Republic of Texas. In January 1835, he survived the first assassination attempt on a sitting president. In his retirement, Jackson remained active in Democratic Party politics, supporting the presidencies of Martin Van Buren and James K. Polk.
Though fearful of its effects on the slavery debate, Jackson advocated the annexation of Texas, accomplished shortly before his death. Jackson has been revered in the United States as an advocate for democracy and the common man. Many of his actions proved divisive, garnering both fervent support and strong opposition from many in the country, his reputation has suffered since the 1970s due to his role in Indian removal. Surveys of historians and scholars have ranked Jackson favorably among U. S. presidents. Andrew Jackson was born on March 1767 in the Waxhaws region of the Carolinas, his parents were Scots-Irish colonists Andrew and Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, Presbyterians who had emigrated from present day Northern Ireland two years earlier. Jackson's father was born in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, in current-day Northern Ireland, around 1738. Jackson's parents lived in the village of Boneybefore in County Antrim, his paternal family line originated in Killingswold Grove, England. When they immigrated to North America in 1765, Jackson's parents landed in Philadelphia.
Most they traveled overland through the Appalachian Mountains to the Scots-Irish community in the Waxhaws, straddling the border between North and South Carolina. They brought two children from Ireland and Robert. Jackson's father died in a logging accident while clearing land in February 1767 at the age of 29, three weeks before his son Andrew was born. Jackson, his mother, his brothers lived with Jackson's aunt and uncle in the Waxhaws region, Jackson received schooling from two nearby priests. Jackson's exact birthplace is unclear because of a lack of knowledge of his mother's actions following her husband's funeral; the area was so remote that the border between North and South Carolina had not been surveyed. In 1824 Jackson wrote a letter saying that he was born on the plantation of his uncle James Crawford in Lancaster County, South Carolina. Jackson may have claimed to be a South Carolinian because the state was considering nullification of the Tariff of 1824, which he opposed. In the mid-1850s, second-hand evidence indicated that he might have been born at a different uncle's home in North Carolina.
As a young boy, Jackson was offended and was considered something of a bully. He was, said to have taken a group of younger and weaker boys under his wing
James B. Longacre
James Barton Longacre was an American portraitist and engraver, the fourth Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1844 until his death. Longacre is best known for designing the Indian Head cent, which entered commerce in 1859, for the designs of the Shield nickel, Flying Eagle cent and other coins of the mid-19th century. Longacre was born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, in 1794, he ran away to Philadelphia at age 12. His artistic talent developed and he was released to apprentice in an engraving firm, he struck out on his own in 1819, making a name providing illustrations for popular biographical books. He portrayed the leading men of his day. Calhoun, led to his appointment as chief engraver after the death of Christian Gobrecht in 1844. In Longacre's first years as a chief engraver, the Philadelphia Mint was dominated by Mint Director Robert M. Patterson and Chief Coiner Franklin Peale. Conflict between Longacre and the two men developed after Congress ordered a new gold dollar and double eagle, with both to be designed by Longacre.
Peale and Patterson nearly had Longacre fired, but the chief engraver was able to convince Treasury Secretary William M. Meredith that he should be retained. Both Patterson and Peale left the Mint in the early 1850s. In 1856, Longacre designed the Flying Eagle cent; when that design proved difficult to strike, Longacre was responsible for the replacement, the Indian Head cent, issued beginning in 1859. Other coins designed by Longacre include the silver and nickel three-cent pieces, the Shield nickel, the pattern Washington nickel, the two-cent piece. In 1866–1867, he redesigned the coins of Chile. Longacre died on New Year's Day 1869. Longacre's coins are well-regarded today, although they have been criticized for lack of artistic advancement. James Barton Longacre was born on a farm in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, on August 11, 1794, his mother Sarah Longacre died early in his life. When Peter Longacre remarried, his son found the home life intolerable, James Longacre left home at the age of 12, seeking work in the nearby city of Philadelphia.
He apprenticed himself at a bookstore. Over the following years, Longacre worked in the bookstore, but Watson realized that the boy's skill was in portraiture. Watson granted Longacre a release from his apprenticeship in 1813 so that he could follow an artistic muse, but the two remained close, Watson would sell Longacre's works. Longacre became apprenticed to George Murray, principal in the engraving firm Murray, Fairman & Co. at 47 Sansom Street in Philadelphia. This business derived from the firm established by the Philadelphia Mint's first chief engraver, Robert Scot. Longacre remained at the Murray firm until 1819. Employed at the Murray firm from 1816 was the man who would be Longacre's predecessor as chief engraver, Christian Gobrecht. Longacre's work at the company gave him a good reputation as an engraver skilled in rendering other artists' paintings as a printed engraving, in 1819, he set up his own business at 230 Pine Street in Philadelphia. Longacre's first important commission were plates for S.
F. Bradford's Encyclopedia in 1820. Longacre agreed to engrave illustrations for Joseph and John Sanderson's Biographies of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, published in nine volumes between 1820 and 1827. Although the venture was marked by criticism of the writing, sales were good enough that the project was completed. Numismatic writer Richard Snow suggests that the books sold on the strength of the quality of Longacre's illustrations. Longacre completed a series of studies of actors in their roles in 1826 for The American Theatre. With lessons learned from the Sanderson series, Longacre proposed to issue his own set of biographies illustrated with plates of the subjects, he was on the point of launching this project, having invested $1,000 of his own money in preparation, when he learned that James Herring of New York City was planning a similar series. In October 1831, he wrote to Herring, the two men agreed to work together on The American Portrait Gallery, published in four volumes between 1834 and 1839.
Herring was an artist, but much of the work of illustrating fell to Longacre, who traveled in the United States to sketch subjects from life. He again sketched Jackson, by now president, as well as former president James Madison, both in July 1833, he met many of the political leaders of the day. Among these advocates was the former vice president, South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun. In July 1832, Niles' Register described a Longacre engraving, "one of the finest specimens of American advancement in the art". Longacre had married Eliza Stiles in 1827. Sales of the Gallery lagged due to the Panic of 1837.
United States Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. Established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue, the Treasury prints all paper currency and mints all coins in circulation through the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint, respectively. S. government debt instruments. The Department is administered by the Secretary of the Treasury, a member of the Cabinet. Senior advisor to the Secretary is the Treasurer of the United States. Signatures of both officials appear on all Federal Reserve notes; the first Secretary of the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton, sworn into office on September 11, 1789. Hamilton was appointed by President George Washington on the recommendation of Robert Morris, Washington's first choice for the position, who had declined the appointment. Hamilton established—almost singlehandedly—the nation's early financial system and for several years was a major presence in Washington's administration.
His portrait appears on the obverse of the ten-dollar bill, while the Treasury Department building is depicted on the reverse. The current Secretary of the Treasury is Steven Mnuchin, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 13, 2017. Jovita Carranza, appointed on April 28, 2017, is the incumbent treasurer; the history of the Department of the Treasury began in the turmoil of the American Revolution, when the Continental Congress at Philadelphia deliberated the crucial issue of financing a war of independence against Great Britain. The Congress had no power to levy and collect taxes, nor was there a tangible basis for securing funds from foreign investors or governments; the delegates resolved to issue paper money in the form of bills of credit, promising redemption in coin on faith in the revolutionary cause. On June 22, 1775—only a few days after the Battle of Bunker Hill—Congress issued $2 million in bills. On July 29, 1775, the Second Continental Congress assigned the responsibility for the administration of the revolutionary government's finances to joint Continental treasurers George Clymer and Michael Hillegas.
The Congress stipulated. To ensure proper and efficient handling of the growing national debt in the face of weak economic and political ties between the colonies, the Congress, on February 17, 1776, designated a committee of five to superintend the Treasury, settle accounts, report periodically to the Congress. On April 1, a Treasury Office of Accounts, consisting of an Auditor General and clerks, was established to facilitate the settlement of claims and to keep the public accounts for the government of the United Colonies. With the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the newborn republic as a sovereign nation was able to secure loans from abroad. Despite the infusion of foreign and domestic loans, the united colonies were unable to establish a well-organized agency for financial administration. Michael Hillegas was first called Treasurer of the United States on May 14, 1777; the Treasury Office was reorganized three times between 1778 and 1781. The $241.5 million in paper Continental bills devalued rapidly.
By May 1781, the dollar collapsed at a rate of from 500 to 1000 to 1 against hard currency. Protests against the worthless money swept the colonies, giving rise to the expression "not worth a Continental". Robert Morris was designated Superintendent of Finance in 1781 and restored stability to the nation's finances. Morris, a wealthy colonial merchant, was nicknamed "the Financier" because of his reputation for procuring funds or goods on a moment's notice, his staff included a comptroller, a treasurer, a register, auditors, who managed the country's finances through 1784, when Morris resigned because of ill health. The treasury board, consisting of three commissioners, continued to oversee the finances of the confederation of former colonies until September 1789; the First Congress of the United States was called to convene in New York on March 4, 1789, marking the beginning of government under the Constitution. On September 2, 1789, Congress created a permanent institution for the management of government finances:Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be a Department of Treasury, in which shall be the following officers, namely: a Secretary of the Treasury, to be deemed head of the department.
Alexander Hamilton took the oath of office as the first Secretary of the Treasury on September 11, 1789. Hamilton had served as George Washington's aide-de-camp during the Revolution and was of great importance in the ratification of the Constitution; because of his financial and managerial acumen, Hamilton was a logical choice for solving the problem of the new nation's heavy war debt. Hamilton's first official act was to submit a report to Congress in which he laid the foundation for the nation's financial health. To the surprise of many legislators, he insisted upon federal assumption and dollar-for-dollar repayment of the country's $75 million debt in order to revitalize the public credit: "he debt of the United States was the price of liberty; the faith of America has been pledged for it, with solemnities that give peculiar force to the obligation." Hami
The Bank War refers to the political struggle that developed over the issue of rechartering the Second Bank of the United States during the presidency of Andrew Jackson. The affair resulted in the destruction of its replacement by various state banks. Jacksonian Democrats cited a long list of criticisms in opposing the BUS. According to them, the BUS favored speculators at the expense of farmers and artisans, it owned large amounts of land in the West, possessed enormous material resources with the ability to make or break small towns, appropriated public money for risky private investments, in general, symbolized corruption while threatening liberty. As a state-sanctioned monopoly, the BUS conferred economic privileges on a small group of stockholders and financial elites, thereby violating the principle of equal opportunity. Critics added that the creation of a public-private, incorporated bank at the federal level was not explicitly authorized in the United States Constitution, that the bank interfered in the political process through its loans and expenditures, that the institution's charter violated state sovereignty, posing an implicit threat to Southern agrarian society dependent upon slavery.
On the other hand, pro-BUS National Republicans regarded the bank as a stabilizing force in the economy due to its unique ability to smooth out variations in prices and trade, extend credit where it was needed, supply the nation with a sound and uniform currency, provide helpful fiscal services for the treasury department, facilitate long-distance trade, prevent inflation by regulating the lending practices of state banks. In early 1832, the president of the Bank of the United States, Nicholas Biddle, in alliance with the National Republicans under Senators Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, submitted an early application for a renewal of the Bank's twenty-year charter; this application was four years before the current charter would expire and it made the elections of 1832 a referendum on the Bank's existence. When Congress voted to reauthorize the Bank, Jackson vetoed the bill, his veto message was a polemical declaration of the social philosophy of the Jacksonian movement that pitted "the planters, the farmers, the mechanic and the laborer" against the "monied interest."
The BUS became the central issue that divided the Jacksonians from the National Republicans in the presidential election of 1832. Although the Bank provided significant financial assistance to Clay and pro-BUS newspaper editors, Jackson secured an overwhelming election victory. Fearing economic reprisals from Biddle, Jackson moved swiftly to remove the Bank's federal deposits. In 1833, he succeeded in distributing these funds to several dozen state banks throughout the country; the new Whig Party emerged in opposition to his perceived abuse of executive power censuring Jackson in the Senate. In an effort to promote sympathy for the institution’s survival, Biddle retaliated by contracting Bank credit, inducing a mild financial downturn. A reaction set in throughout America’s financial and business centers against Biddle’s maneuvers, compelling the Bank to reverse its tight money policies. By the close of 1834, the prospects of a new Bank charter had dimmed considerably. Rather than permitting the Bank to go out of existence, Biddle arranged its conversion to a state chartered corporation in Pennsylvania just weeks before its federal charter expired in March 1836.
In 1841, during a global depression, the BUS declared bankruptcy. Jackson’s campaign against the Bank had triumphed. President James Madison and Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin both supported recharter of the First Bank of the United States in 1811, they cited "expediency" and "necessity" as opposed to principle. Opponents of the First Bank of the United States defeated recharter by a single vote in both the House and Senate in 1811. Opposition came from several fronts, including states’ rights advocates opposed to the doctrine of implied powers, private banking interests who objected to the regulatory effects of the B. U. S. State banks, big mercantilists, including John Jacob Astor, who had disputes with the Bank’s directors; the practical arguments in favor of reviving a national system of finance, as well as internal improvements and protective tariffs, were prompted by national security concerns during the War of 1812 and its aftermath. The chaos of the war had, according to some, "demonstrated the absolute necessity of a national banking system."The roots for the resurrection of the Bank of the United States lay fundamentally in the transformation of America from a simple agrarian economy to one, becoming interdependent with finance and industry.
Vast western lands were opening for white settlement, accompanied by rapid development, enhanced by steam power and financial credit. Economic planning at the federal level was deemed necessary by Republican nationalists to promote expansion and encourage private enterprise. At the same time, they tried to "republicanize" Bank policy. Calhoun boasted that the nationalists had the support of the yeomanry, who would now "share in the capital of the Bank."In 1815, Secretary of State James Monroe informed President James Madison that a national bank "would attach the commercial part of the community in a much greater degree to the Government interest them in its operations…This is the great desideratum of our system." Support for this "national system of money and finance" grew with the post-war economy and land boom, uniting the interests of eastern financiers with southern and western Republican nationalists who sought to "Republicanize Hamiltonian bank policy" and "employ Hamiltonian means to Jeffersonian ends."
Despite opposition from Old Republicans led