Skip to main content

Bank Birth

June 2024
1min read


Anthony Brandt’s article about the delayed publication of the Lewis and Clark journals (“The Perilous Afterlife of the Lewis and Clark Expedition,” June/July 2004) was fascinating. However, there was a minor error in the text. While discussing Nicholas Biddle, Brandt claims that the “budding man of letters” would go on to become the first president of the Bank of the United States. The First Bank of the United States was chartered in 1791, when Biddle was six years old. He would become president of the Second Bank of the United States, which was chartered in 1816. But he was not even the first president of the Second Bank of the United States; that honor belonged to William Jones. Many historians believe that Jones’s policies helped trigger the Panic of 1819. Biddle did have his own legacy: a showdown with Andrew Jackson that would ultimately bring on the demise of the “Monster Bank.”

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.

Donate