The Second Bank of the United States: “Central” banker in an era of nation-building, 1816–1836, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Second Bank of the United States

“Central” banker in an era of nation-building, 1816–1836, 1st Edition

By Jane Ellen Knodell


188 pages | 36 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2016-09-08
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The year 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Second Bank of the United States (1816-1836). This book is an economic history of an early central bank, the Second Bank of the United States (1816-36). After US President Andrew Jackson vetoed the re-chartering of the Bank in 1832, the US would go without a central bank for the rest of the nineteenth century, unlike Europe and England. This book takes a fresh look at the role and legacy of the Second Bank.

The Second Bank of the United States shows how the Bank developed a business model that allowed it to make a competitive profit while providing integrating fiscal services to the national government for free. The model revolved around the strategic use of its unique ability to establish a nationwide system of branches. This book shows how the Bank used its branch network to establish dominance in select money markets: frontier money markets and markets for bills of exchange and specie. These lines of business created synergies with the Bank’s fiscal duties, and profits that helped cover their costs. The Bank’s branch in New Orleans, Louisiana, became its geographic centre of gravity, in contrast with the state-chartered banking system, which was already, by the 1820s, centred around New York.

This book is of great interest to those who study banking and American history, as well as economic students who have a great interest in economic history.


"Overall, this book is an important contribution to the understanding of the Second Bank of the United States and an excellent point of reference for scholars of early American economic and political history." - Claire Brennecke, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction

Chapter Two: Origin and purposes of the Second Bank

Chapter Three: The Second Bank’s branch network and the state banking system

Chapter Four: The Second Bank and the "exchanges": conquering space

Chapter Five: The "production" of monetary stability

Chapter Six: The Second Bank’s specie market operations

Chapter Seven: Conclusion

About the Author

Jane Ellen Knodell is Mark J. Zwynenburg Green and Gold Professor of Financial History at the University of Vermont, USA. Her research and teaching interests are in the fields of money and banking, macroeconomics, and economic history.

About the Series

Routledge Explorations in Economic History

This long established series provides a platform for books which break new ground in the understanding of the development of the modern world economy. Equally rooted in economics and history, the series is not limited to any particular period or region. Individual titles focus on particular countries, key industries, themes, or international economic relations.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic History