Second Bank of the United States

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The Second Bank of the United States was chartered in 1816, five years after the First Bank of the United States lost its own charter. The Second Bank of the United States was initially headquartered in Carpenters' Hall, Philadelphia, the same as the First Bank, and had branches throughout the nation.

The Second Bank was chartered by many of the same congressmen who in 1811 had refused to renew the charter of the original Bank of the United States. The predominant reason that the Second Bank of the United States was chartered was that in the War of 1812, the U.S. experienced severe inflation and had difficulty in financing military operations. Subsequently, the credit and borrowing status of the United States were at their lowest levels since its founding.

Like the First Bank, the Second Bank was also chartered for 20 years, and also failed to get its charter renewed. It existed for 5 more years as an ordinary bank before going bankrupt in 1841.


Charter renewal

The charter of the Second Bank of the United States (B.U.S.) was for 20 years and therefore up for renewal in 1836. The B.U.S. was in no sense a national bank but rather a privately held banking corporation.[citation needed] The bank had a unique relationship with the federal government that gave it access to substantial profits. Its role as the depository of the federal government's revenues made it a political target of banks chartered by the individual states which either objected to, or envied, the B.U.S.'s relationship with the central government. Partisan politics came heavily into play in the debate over the renewal of the charter. "The classic statement by Arthur Schlesinger was that the partisan politics during the Jacksonian period was grounded in class conflict. Viewed through the lens of party elite discourse, Schlesinger saw inter-party conflict as a clash between wealthy Whigs and working class Democrats"(Grynaviski). President Andrew Jackson strongly opposed the renewal of its charter, and built his platform for the election of 1832 around doing away with the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson's political target was Nicholas Biddle, financier, politician, and president of the Bank of the United States.

Apart from a general hostility to banking and the belief that specie (gold and/or silver) was the only true money, Jackson's reasons for opposing the renewal of the charter revolved around his belief that bestowing power and responsibility upon a single bank was the cause of inflation and other perceived evils.

During September 1833, President Jackson issued an executive order that ended the deposit of government funds into the Bank of the United States. After September 1833, these deposits were placed in the state chartered banks. While six of the seven initial depositories were controlled by Jacksonian Democrats, the later depositories, such as the ones in North Carolina, South Carolina and Michigan, were run by managers who opposed Jacksonian politics.

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