Feature

Today in history: September 10

Andrew Jackson started the 'Bank War'

Sept. 10, 1833: President Andrew Jackson shut down the Second Bank of the United States, in what became known as the "Bank War." Jackson said the national bank had too much power; he also disliked its lending practices and political ties. He removed all federal funds from the bank; Congress censured the president for what it viewed as his abuse of presidential power.

President George Washington and his Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton first created a national bank in 1791. They believed the government needed a central bank to hold its money. The Second Bank of the United States was founded in 1816, five years after this first bank's charter had expired. 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. Jackson, the epitome of the frontiersman, resented the bank's lack of funding for expansion into the unsettled Western territories. Jackson also objected to the bank's unusual political and economic power and to the lack of congressional oversight over its business dealings.

Jackson, known as obstinate and brutish but a man of the common people, called for an investigation into the bank's policies and political agenda as soon as he settled in to the White House in March 1829.

Quote of the day: "Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error." — Andrew Jackson

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