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American History

The national bank controversy in the U.S. is one of the most contentious issues ever debated by presidents, Congress, lawyers and judges. The first bank of the U.S. was established in 1791, with Alexander Hamilton’s backing that such a national bank was constitutional. Despite this bank’s existence for two decades (the time during which it was chartered), it was unpopular with many who saw the private corporation as favoring powerful, rich individuals. When its charter expired, for a few years banking was left in the hands of state-chartered banks. As inflation rose and a uniform currency was not provided by these banks, the push to charter a second bank of the U.S. gained momentum. Despite the advent of a second bank, opponents who viewed it as unconstitutional would eventually quash its existence. In my opinion, those who opposed such a private banking system were correct in view of the constitution.

Despite the eventual formation of a national banking system during the Civil War, during the period of the two banks of the U.S. there was great debate and controversy resulting from the two banks. On the one hand, many felt that two banks were not in violation of the constitution because it did not provide specific language granting the creation of a national bank to the U.S. government. One such individual was Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson wrote his opinion in the constitutionality of a national bank in 1791. In this opinion, Jefferson declared, “The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill, have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution” (Jefferson 2). Jefferson was aware of the powers specially enumerated by the constitution with respect to finance and economics. These included a power to lay taxes, to borrow money, and to regulate commerce with foreign nation, the States, and Indian tribes. Regardless, Jefferson felt there was nothing in the constitution gra...

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American History. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:39, March 22, 2019, from