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Bank of the United States

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• Alexander Hamilton
Andrew Jackson


Definition: Name of the first and second federal banks in American history. The brainchild of Alexander Hamilton, the Bank of the U.S. was set up to handle the monetary affairs of the federal government. The first bank was in existence from 1791 to 1811. The head office was in Philadelphia, and eight other cities had branch banks. Certain of the bank's policies angered state banks, farmers, and people from the West. Opposition grew so fierce that the Bank's charter was not renewed in 1811, despite support from President James Madison. After the War of 1812 proved yet again that the federal government needed a central bank, Congress granted a charter for the Second Bank of the United States. This bank functioned much like the first one (with 25 branch offices) and met with much the same opposition from state banks, farmers, and people from the West. One of these Westerners, Andrew Jackson, was elected president in 1828. He detested the Bank of the U.S. and wanted it done away with. He finally succeeded in 1836.

Related Resources:
The New Nation
Find out more about the period between the signing of the Constitution and the year 1800.

The 19th Century
Get a glimpse of what life was like in the exciting 1800s.

Elsewhere on the Web:
Encyclopedia Entry: Bank of the United States
Just the facts about the first two federal banks.

Why the United States Bank Was Closed, by Andrew Jackson
Understand the man better by reading his own words.

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