Jackson Versus Biddle: The Struggle over the Second Bank of the United States

By George Rogers Taylor | Go to book overview

Suggestions for Additional Reading

Two good general financial histories of the United States are available to the reader desirous of reviewing the financial history of the young republic and attaining a better perspective from which to view the struggle over the rechartering of the second Bank of the United States. They are William J. Shultz and M. R. Caine , Financial Development of the United States ( New York, 1937), and Davis R. Dewey, Financial History of the United States ( New York, 1934). Both provide valuable bibliographical guides.

On the second Bank itself, the standard work is Ralph C. H. Catterall, The Second Bank of the United States ( Chicago, 1903). Although further light has been shed on the Bank since this book was published nearly fifty years ago, and the reader may not agree with all of Catterall's evaluations, yet no serious student can afford to overlook this scholarly and exhaustive study. Much briefer, but a good summary based largely on Catterall's findings, is Davis R. Dewey, "The Second Bank of the United States," The First and Second Banks of the United States, Senate Document, 61 Congress, 2 Session, Vol. 26 ( 1909- 1910), pp. 147-265.

A most valuable recent study of the Bank War is to be found in Fritz Redlich , The Molding of American Banking Men and Ideas ( New York, 1947), pp. 96-186. Redlich analyzes with great care and considerable insight the roles played by Biddle and Jackson, giving unusual attention not only to the technical banking issues but to the larger economic and social problems.

Especially useful for the political and personal side of the controversy, though sometimes less so on the economic and financial issues involved, are biographies of the leading figures in the controversy. Among the best of these are Carl B. Swisher , Roger B. Taney ( New York, 1935); Marquis James, Andrew Jackson, Portrait of a President ( New York, 1937); and Claude M. Fuess, Daniel Webster ( Boston, 1930). To these should be added the lively account in Claude G. Bowers , The Party Battles of the Jackson Period ( Boston, 1922).

Of the abundant literature produced at the time of the Bank War much is easily available to the student but only a few of the more important items can be mentioned here. The letters of the two leading figures are available respectively in Reginald C. McGrane, The Correspondence of Nicholas Biddle ( Boston, 1919), and John S. Bassett, Correspondence of Andrew Jackson ( Washington, 1935). For the congressional phase of the struggle a good anti-Bank summary will be found in Thomas H. Benton, Thirty Years' View ( New York, 1854), pp. 220-291. But the student will wish to go either to their collected works or to the Register of Debates in Congress to consult important speeches by such pro-Bank leaders as Webster, Clay, and McDuffie. A detailed examination of the whole financial situation and a defense of the Bank will be found in Henry

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