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Letter: Editorial incorrectly credited Jackson with creating Bank of U.S. he opposed
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I enjoyed the thematic thrust of your editorial, “Worthy change for a 20” of April 17. I just, however, take issue with one observation you made about President Andrew Jackson. You wrote, “As president he created the Bank of the United States.” The historical record will show he did not create the Bank of the U.S.

In 1816, the second Bank of the U.S. was created after the charter of the first bank was not renewed in 1811 after a 20-year run. In 1816, it was re-established with its charter to expire in 1836.

When Jackson ran for the presidency in 1828, the Bank of the U.S. was not his primary issue, though he had strong feelings about its constitutionality. It did become a political issue as his first term evolved and two political opponents, Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, along with Nicholas Biddle, president of the Bank, decided to “smoke him out.”

As Jackson’s term neared the 1832 election, the future of the second Bank of the U.S. came to a head when Jackson vetoed the attempt to renew the bank prior to its expiration in 1836 after Clay, Webster and Biddle sought to test his resolve on the issue. It backfired. Thus, Jackson did not “create” the Bank but his veto destroyed it with a blistering and emphatic “no.”

It was not until Woodrow Wilson’s first term that a central bank was again created, known as the Federal Reserve System. It turned 100 years old in 2013.

In the current presidential election, the Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton debates have, in large measure, concentrated on the power and influence of “the banks” and “power of the rich.” Again, there are echoes of the 1830s.

Heyward Gnann

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