JACKSON AND THE SECOND BANK

The Second Bank of the United States, partly owned by the Government, had re­ceived its charter from Congress in 1816. This charter was to expire in 1836. Jackson knew that the Bank had become very .rich and powerful under the leadership of Nicho­las Biddle of Philadelphia. It had about twenty-five branches in other cities.

The Bank helped business in many ways, but it was growing unpopular, especially in the South and West. Poorer people had no chance to invest in the Bank to make money. The Bank was run by a small group of wealthy officers, and Jackson felt that they were using their power and influence in politics. He felt that the Bank placed too much power in the hands of a few wealthy people and that it favored the commercial interests of the East.

In 1832, four years before its charter ex­pired, officials of the Bank asked Congress for a new charter. They knew that Jackson was running for the presidency again and they thought he would avoid a fight with the Bank before election time. So they decided this would be a good time to get their charter without being opposed. Jackson, however, believed he would have popular support in a fight against the Bank.

Jackson's Stand Wins

Congress passed a bill granting the Bank a new charter. Jackson vetoed the bill. He felt that the Bank helped the rich and not the poor. In fact, in his first annual message, he had questioned its very constitutionality. Congress could not muster the necessary two-thirds vote to override Jackson's veto, so the Bank failed to obtain its new charter. Thereafter, the Bank became one of the biggest issues in the election. It was seem­ingly resolved when Jackson led the Demo­crats to victory over Henry Clay, who had supported the Bank. Jackson was elected to his second term as President and Martin Van Buren was elected Vice-President.

The Bank Dies

Since the people had backed Jackson in his fight against the Bank, he now felt it was his duty to put an end to it. Jackson gave orders to remove Government deposits from the Bank. Certain state banks (which were called "pet banks") were selected and the money was deposited in them. With Gov­ernment funds withdrawn, the Bank lost its power. In 1836, the life of the Second Bank of the United States ended when its charter was not renewed.