Second Bank of the United States, Philadelphia

4.3
Art Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The Second Bank of the United States, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the second federally authorized Hamiltonian national bank in the United States during its 20-year charter from February 1816 to January 1836. The bank's formal name, according to section 9 of its charter as passed by Congress, was "The President, Directors, and Company, of the Bank of the United States."
A private corporation with public duties, the bank handled all fiscal transactions for the U.S. Government, and was accountable to Congress and the U.S. Treasury. Twenty percent of its capital was owned by the federal government, the bank's single largest stockholder. Four thousand private investors held 80% of the bank's capital, including three thousand Europeans. The bulk of the stocks were held by a few hundred wealthy Americans. In its time, the institution was the largest monied corporation in the world.
The essential function of the bank was to regulate the public credit issued by private banking institutions through the fiscal duties it performed for the U.S. Treasury, and to establish a sound and stable national currency. The federal deposits endowed the BUS with its regulatory capacity.
Modeled on Alexander Hamilton's First Bank of the United States, the Second Bank was chartered by President James Madison in 1816 and began operations at its main branch in Philadelphia on January 7, 1817, managing twenty-five branch offices nationwide by 1832.
The efforts to renew the bank's charter put the institution at the center of the general election of 1832, in which the bank's president Nicholas Biddle and pro-bank National Republicans led by Henry Clay clashed with the "hard-money" Andrew Jackson administration and eastern banking interests in the Bank War. Failing to secure recharter, the Second Bank of the United States became a private corporation in 1836, and underwent liquidation in 1841.
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Second Bank of the United States reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
122 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • I took a quick self-guided tour of the bank. It was free and the rangers were friendly. I saw many portraits of the Founding Fathers. There is a lot of history which occurred within this area.  more »
  • The museum has nice portraits of the founding fathers with good descriptions. It was interesting to go through. When we were there they were also offering various slide shows/lectures. We went to.....  more »
Google
  • I thought the place was really cool. They have many very interesting paintings and history of the building itself is fascinating. Insider tip, well you're there ask one of the Rangers to show you the hidden vaults and point out the main vault in the basement to you. To me that really was the neatest part of the whole experience.
  • I'm so glad we decided to stop in here. The interior is just as interesting and beautiful as the exterior. And the hall of portraits was so cool! The best part about visiting the park was the NPS rangers who were just full of knowledge! And every one of them was so nice and enthusiastic about imparting that knowledge to the public. Best public servants ever!

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