This Day in Financial History - February 4 . . .

1841 - Plagued by poor investment decisions and an uncertain economic climate, the Bank of the United States was forced to call it quits on February 4, 1841. It was a painful end for an institution that had suffered through one of the more contentious episodes in the nation’s early financial history. Indeed, the Bank was the direct product of U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton’s controversial push for a national banking system. Despite the staunch objections of Thomas Jefferson, the federal government chartered the first Bank of the United States in 1791. However, Jefferson kept up his attack, and in 1811, led his supporters in Congress in a successful attempt to block the renewal of the bank’s charter. Buoyed by a confluence of conditions, including state banks’ recent run of woes and political shifts in the House, pro-bank forces forged a new charter in 1816. Under the charge of Nicholas Biddle, the revived Bank of the U.S. enjoyed some healthy years. However, before long, the Bank faced another round of opposition, this time led by President Andrew Jackson, who fiercely opposed the notion of a central bank system. A nasty and protracted political battle ensued, as the president attempted to use his executive power to do away with the bank. Jackson eventually won out, and when the bank’s charter expired in 1836, Biddle shifted course and reestablished the Bank of the United States as a state institution based in Pennsylvania. Biddle’s bank limped on for a few more years before being finally shut down on February 4, 1841. Source: www.history.com

1887 - The Interstate Commerce Act is enacted, creating the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission and giving the Federal government the radical new right to regulate the conduct of private businesses acting in the public interest, such as railroads. Source: www.jasonzweig.com





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