The Region

The "Monster" of Chestnut Street - In Brief

Phil Davies - Senior Writer

Published September 1, 2008  |  September 2008 issue

Biddle bank battle


  • The Second Bank of the United States was the nation’s first central bank, with some functions analogous to those of the modern Fed. Under its brilliant head, Nicholas Biddle, the Bank fostered economic growth in the 1820s.

  • But U.S. President Andrew Jackson disapproved of the Bank because of the concentrated economic power it placed in private hands. Calling the Bank a “monster,” Jackson aroused populist feeling and the envy of state banks to deny the Bank’s recharter.

  • Mindful of the Bank’s fate, the architects of the Federal Reserve System created a decentralized institution dedicated solely to the public interest.

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