Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
By John J. Lalor
NEITHER American nor English literature has hitherto possessed a Cyclopædia of Political Science and Political Economy. The want of a work of reference on these important branches of knowledge has long been felt, especially by lawyers, journalists, members of our state and national legislatures, and the large and intelligent class of capitalists and business men who give serious thought to the political and social questions of the day. The present work, which will be completed in three volumes, is the first to supply that want. It is also the first Political History of the United States in encyclopædic form—the first to which the reader can refer for an account of the important events or facts in our political history, as he would to a dictionary for the precise meaning of a word. The French, the Germans and even the Italians are richer in works of reference on political science and political economy than the Americans or the English. The Germans have Rotteck and Welcker’s
Staatslexikon, and Bluntschli and Brater’s
Staatswörterbuch; the French, Block’s
Dictionnaire Général de la Politique, and the celebrated
Dictionnaire de l’Economie Politique, edited by Guillaumin and Coquelin.The “Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States” is intended to be to the American and English reader what the above-named works are to French and German students of political science and political economy. The articles by foreigners in our work are largely translations from the
Dictionnaire de l’Economie Politique, the
Dictionnaire Général de la Politique, the
Staatswörterbuch, and original articles by Mr. T. E. Cliffe Leslie, the eminent English economist; while the American articles are by the best American and Canadian writers on political economy and political science. The task of writing the articles on the political history of the United States was confided to one person, Mr. Alexander Johnston, of Norwalk, Connecticut, thoroughness, conciseness and the absence of repetition and of redundancy being thus secured…. [From the Preface]
First Pub. Date
New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
Originally printed in 3 volumes. Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
The text of this edition is in the public domain.
- V.1, Entry 1, ABDICATION
- V.1, Entry 2, ABOLITION AND ABOLITIONISTS
- V.1, Entry 3, ABSENTEEISM
- V.1, Entry 4, ABSOLUTE POWER
- V.1, Entry 5, ABSOLUTISM
- V.1, Entry 6, ABSTENTION
- V.1, Entry 7, ABUSES IN POLITICS
- V.1, Entry 8, ABYSSINIA
- V.1, Entry 9, ACADEMIES
- V.1, Entry 10, ACADEMIES
- V.1, Entry 11, ACCLAMATION
- V.1, Entry 12, ACCUMULATION OF WEALTH
- V.1, Entry 13, ACT
- V.1, Entry 14, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 15, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 16, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 17, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 18, ADJOURNMENT
- V.1, Entry 19, ADMINISTRATION
- V.1, Entry 20, ADMINISTRATIONS
- V.1, Entry 21, AFRICA
- V.1, Entry 22, AGE
- V.1, Entry 23, AGENT
- V.1, Entry 24, AGENTS
- V.1, Entry 25, AGIO
- V.1, Entry 26, AGIOTAGE
- V.1, Entry 27, AGRICULTURE
- V.1, Entry 28, ALABAMA
- V.1, Entry 29, ALABAMA CLAIMS
- V.1, Entry 30, ALASKA
- V.1, Entry 31, ALBANY PLAN OF UNION
- V.1, Entry 32, ALBANY REGENCY
- V.1, Entry 33, ALCALDE
- V.1, Entry 34, ALCOHOL
- V.1, Entry 35, ALGERIA
- V.1, Entry 36, ALGERINE WAR
- V.1, Entry 37, ALIEN AND SEDITION LAWS
- V.1, Entry 38, ALIENS
- V.1, Entry 39, ALLEGIANCE
- V.1, Entry 40, ALLEGIANCE
- V.1, Entry 41, ALLIANCE
- V.1, Entry 42, ALLIANCE
- V.1, Entry 43, ALLOYAGE
- V.1, Entry 44, ALMANACH DE GOTHA
- V.1, Entry 45, ALSACE-LORRAINE
- V.1, Entry 46, AMBASSADOR
- V.1, Entry 47, AMBITION
- V.1, Entry 48, AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
- V.1, Entry 49, AMERICA
- V.1, Entry 50, AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE
- V.1, Entry 51, AMERICAN PARTY
- V.1, Entry 52, AMERICAN WHIGS
- V.1, Entry 53, AMES
- V.1, Entry 54, AMISTAD CASE
- V.1, Entry 55, AMNESTY
- V.1, Entry 56, AMNESTY
- V.1, Entry 57, ANAM
- V.1, Entry 58, ANARCHY
- V.1, Entry 59, ANCIEN RÉGIME
- V.1, Entry 60, ANDORRA
- V.1, Entry 61, ANHALT
- V.1, Entry 62, ANNEXATION
- V.1, Entry 63, ANNEXATIONS
- V.1, Entry 64, ANTI-FEDERAL PARTY
- V.1, Entry 65, ANTI-MASONRY
- V.1, Entry 66, ANTI-NEBRASKA MEN
- V.1, Entry 67, ANTI-RENTERS
- V.1, Entry 68, ANTI-SLAVERY.
- V.1, Entry 69, APPORTIONMENT
- V.1, Entry 70, APPROPRIATION.
- V.1, Entry 71, APPROPRIATIONS
- V.1, Entry 72, ARBITRAGE
- V.1, Entry 73, ARBITRARY ARRESTS
- V.1, Entry 74, ARBITRARY POWER
- V.1, Entry 75, ARBITRATION
- V.1, Entry 76, ARCHONS
- V.1, Entry 77, AREOPAGUS.
- V.1, Entry 78, ARGENTINE CONFEDERATION
- V.1, Entry 79, ARISTOCRACY.
- V.1, Entry 80, ARISTOCRATIC AND DEMOCRATIC IDEAS.
- V.1, Entry 81, ARITHMETIC
- V.1, Entry 82, ARIZONA
- V.1, Entry 83, ARKANSAS
- V.1, Entry 84, ARMISTICE
- V.1, Entry 85, ARMIES
- V.1, Entry 86, ARMY
- V.1, Entry 87, ARTHUR
- V.1, Entry 88, ARTISANS
- V.1, Entry 89, ARYAN RACES.
- V.1, Entry 90, ASIA
- V.1, Entry 91, ASSEMBLY (IN U. S. HISTORY)
- V.1, Entry 92, ASSESSMENTS
- V.1, Entry 93, ASSIGNATS
- V.1, Entry 94, ASSOCIATION AND ASSOCIATIONS
- V.1, Entry 95, ASYLUM
- V.1, Entry 96, ATELIERS NATIONAUX
- V.1, Entry 97, ATTAINDER
- V.1, Entry 98, ATTORNEYS GENERAL
- V.1, Entry 99, AUSTRALIA
- V.1, Entry 100, AUSTRIA-HUNGARY
- V.1, Entry 101, AUTHORITY
- V.1, Entry 102, AUTHORS
- V.1, Entry 103, AUTOCRAT
- V.1, Entry 104, AUTONOMY.
- V.1, Entry 105, AYES AND NOES
- V.1, Entry 106, BADEN
- V.1, Entry 107, BALANCE OF POWER
- V.1, Entry 108, BALANCE OF TRADE
- V.1, Entry 109, BALLOT
- V.1, Entry 110, BANK CONTROVERSIES
- V.1, Entry 111, BANKING
- V.1, Entry 112, BANK NOTES.
- V.1, Entry 113, BANKRUPTCY.
- V.1, Entry 114, BANKRUPTCY, National.
- V.1, Entry 115, BANKS.
- V.1, Entry 116, BANKS, Functions of.
- V.1, Entry 117, BANKS OF ISSUE
- V.1, Entry 118, BANKS, Advantages of Savings.
- V.1, Entry 119, BANKS, History and Management of Savings,
- V.1, Entry 120, BAR
- V.1, Entry 121, BARNBURNERS
- V.1, Entry 122, BARRICADE
- V.1, Entry 123, BARTER.
- V.1, Entry 124, BASTILLE
- V.1, Entry 125, BAVARIA
- V.1, Entry 126, BELGIUM
- V.1, Entry 127, BELL
- V.1, Entry 128, BELLIGERENTS
- V.1, Entry 129, BENTON
- V.1, Entry 130, BERLIN DECREE
- V.1, Entry 131, BILL
- V.1, Entry 132, BILL OF EXCHANGE
- V.1, Entry 133, BILL OF RIGHTS
- V.1, Entry 134, BILLION
- V.1, Entry 135, BILLS
- V.1, Entry 136, BI-METALLISM.
- V.1, Entry 137, BIRNEY
- V.1, Entry 138, BLACK COCKADE
- V.1, Entry 139, BLACK CODE.
- V.1, Entry 140, BLACK REPUBLICAN.
- V.1, Entry 141, BLAINE
- V.1, Entry 142, BLAIR
- V.1, Entry 143, BLOCKADE
- V.1, Entry 144, BLOODY BILL
- V.1, Entry 145, BLUE LAWS
- V.1, Entry 146, BLUE LIGHT
- V.1, Entry 147, BOARD OF TRADE.
- V.1, Entry 148, BOLIVIA
- V.1, Entry 149, BOOTY
- V.1, Entry 150, BORDER RUFFIANS
- V.1, Entry 151, BORDER STATES
- V.1, Entry 152, BOURGEOISIE
- V.1, Entry 153, BOUTWELL
- V.1, Entry 154, BRAHMANISM.
- V.1, Entry 155, BRAZIL
- V.1, Entry 156, BRECKENRIDGE
- V.1, Entry 157, BROAD SEAL WAR
- V.1, Entry 158, BROKERS
- V.1, Entry 159, BROOKS
- V.1, Entry 160, BROWN
- V.1, Entry 161, BUCHANAN
- V.1, Entry 162, BUCKSHOT WAR
- V.1, Entry 163, BUCKTAILS
- V.1, Entry 164, BUDDHISM
- V.1, Entry 165, BUDGET
- V.1, Entry 166, BULL
- V.1, Entry 167, BUNDESRATH
- V.1, Entry 168, BUREAUCRACY
- V.1, Entry 169, BURGESSES
- V.1, Entry 170, BURLINGAME
- V.1, Entry 171, BURR
- V.1, Entry 172, BUTLER, Benj. F.
- V.1, Entry 173, BUTLER, William Orlando
- V.1, Entry 174, CACHET
- V.1, Entry 175, CÆSARISM
- V.1, Entry 176, CALENDAR
- V.1, Entry 177, CALHOUN
- V.1, Entry 178, CALIFORNIA
- V.1, Entry 179, CANADA
- V.1, Entry 180, CANALS
- V.1, Entry 181, CANON LAW
- V.1, Entry 182, CAPITAL
- V.1, Entry 183, CAPITAL
- V.1, Entry 184, CAPITULATION
- V.1, Entry 185, CARICATURE
- V.1, Entry 186, CARPET BAGGERS
- V.1, Entry 187, CARTEL
- V.1, Entry 188, CASS
- V.1, Entry 189, CASUS BELLI
- V.1, Entry 190, CAUCUS
- V.1, Entry 191, CAUCUS SYSTEM
- V.1, Entry 192, CAUSE AND EFFECT IN POLITICS.
- V.1, Entry 193, CELIBACY, Clerical
- V.1, Entry 194, CELIBACY, Political Aspects of.
- V.1, Entry 195, CELTS.
- V.1, Entry 196, CENSURE.
- V.1, Entry 197, CENSURE OF MORALS.
- V.1, Entry 198, CENSURES
- V.1, Entry 199, CENSUS.
- V.1, Entry 200, CENTRALIZATION and DECENTRALIZATION.
- V.1, Entry 201, CEREMONIAL
- V.1, Entry 202, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.
- V.1, Entry 203, CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES.
- V.1, Entry 204, CHARITY, Private.
- V.1, Entry 205, CHARITY, Public.
- V.1, Entry 206, CHARITY, State.
- V.1, Entry 207, CHASE
- V.1, Entry 208, CHECKS AND BALANCES.
- V.1, Entry 209, CHEROKEE CASE
- V.1, Entry 210, CHESAPEAKE CASE.
- V.1, Entry 211, CHILI.
- V.1, Entry 212, CHINA
- V.1, Entry 213, CHINESE IMMIGRATION.
- V.1, Entry 214, CHIVALRY.
- V.1, Entry 215, CHRISTIANITY.
- V.1, Entry 216, CHURCH AND STATE
- V.1, Entry 217, CHURCH
- V.1, Entry 218, CHURCH
- V.1, Entry 219, CHURCH
- V.1, Entry 220, CHURCHES AND RELIGIONS
- V.1, Entry 221, CHURCHES
- V.1, Entry 222, CINCINNATI
- V.1, Entry 223, CIPHER DISPATCHES AND DECIPHERMENT
- V.1, Entry 224, CIRCULATION OF WEALTH.
- V.1, Entry 225, CITIES
- V.1, Entry 226, CITIES AND TOWNS.
- V.1, Entry 227, CIVIL ADMINISTRATION
- V.1, Entry 228, CIVIL LIST.
- V.1, Entry 229, CIVIL RIGHTS BILL
- V.1, Entry 230, CIVIL SERVICE REFORM
- V.1, Entry 231, CIVILIZATION
- V.1, Entry 232, CLAY
- V.1, Entry 233, CLEARING, AND CLEARING HOUSES
- V.1, Entry 234, CLERICALISM
- V.1, Entry 235, CLIENTÈLE AND CUSTOM
- V.1, Entry 236, CLIMATE
- V.1, Entry 237, CLIMATE
- V.1, Entry 238, CLINTON
- V.1, Entry 239, CLINTON, George
- V.1, Entry 240, CL�TURE
- V.1, Entry 241, COASTING TRADE
- V.1, Entry 242, COCHIN CHINA
- V.1, Entry 243, COINAGE
- V.1, Entry 244, COLFAX
- V.1, Entry 245, COLONIZATION SOCIETY
- V.1, Entry 246, COLORADO
- V.1, Entry 247, COLOMBIA
- V.1, Entry 248, COMMERCE.
- V.1, Entry 249, COMMERCIAL CRISES
- V.1, Entry 250, COMMISSION
- V.1, Entry 251, COMMITTEES
- V.1, Entry 252, COMMON LAW
- V.1, Entry 253, COMMONS
- V.1, Entry 254, COMMUNE
- V.1, Entry 255, COMMUNISM
- V.1, Entry 256, COMPETITION.
- V.1, Entry 257, COMPROMISES
- V.1, Entry 258, COMPULSORY CIRCULATION
- V.1, Entry 259, COMPULSORY EDUCATION
- V.1, Entry 260, CONCESSION
- V.1, Entry 261, CONCLAVE.
- V.1, Entry 262, CONCLUSUM
- V.1, Entry 284, CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
- V.1, Entry 301, CONVENTION
- V.1, Entry 375, DISTILLED SPIRITS
- V.1, Entry 384, DOMINION OF CANADA
- V.2, Entry 7, EDUCATION
- V.2, Entry 18, EMBARGO
- V.2, Entry 33, EXCHANGE
- V.2, Entry 35, EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS
- V.2, Entry 37, EXCHANGE OF WEALTH
- V.2, Entry 121, GREAT BRITAIN
- V.2, Entry 130, HABEAS CORPUS
- V.2, Entry 180, INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION
- V.2, Entry 225, JUSTICE, Department of
- V.2, Entry 246, LAW
- V.2, Entry 364, NEW GRANADA
- V.2, Entry 379, NULLIFICATION
- V.3, Entry 4, OCEANICA
- V.3, Entry 29, PARIS MONETARY CONFERENCE
- V.3, Entry 32, PARLIAMENTARY LAW.
- V.3, Entry 116, RACES OF MANKIND
- V.3, Entry 137, REPUBLICAN PARTY
- V.3, Entry 155, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
- V.3, Entry 195, SLAVERY
- V.3, Entry 278, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- V. 2, List of Writers
- V. 3, List of Writers
- V. 3, List of American Writers
BANK CONTROVERSIES (IN
—18. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”
—From these two paragraphs broad constructionists have inferred the power of congress to charter a national bank, or any other corporation of national extent, which strict constructionists have denied.
—I. 1781-91. Under the confederation, Robert Morris, superintendent of finance, had drawn up the plan of the first national bank, which was chartered by congress, Dec. 31, 1781, for ten years, under the name of
The Bank of North America, with a capital of $400,000, afterward increased to $2,000,000. The general doubt of the power of congress to create a corporation cast a cloud upon the bank’s title to existence, and it was chartered by the state of Pennsylvania in 1783. In 1785 a change of parties in the state legislature brought about a repeal of the charter, and in 1787, after another party change, the charter was renewed.
—II. 1791-1811. In January, 1791, a bill to incorporate
The Bank of the United States passed the senate without division, and the house, Feb. 8, by a vote of 39 to 20. Its capital was to be $10,000,000, of which $2,000,000 was to be subscribed by the United States; its charter was to continue for twenty years; its bills were made receivable in all payments to the United States; and it had the power to establish branch banks, the headquarters remaining at Philadelphia. Immediately upon the passage of the bill a strong pressure was brought to bear upon president Washington to induce him to veto it, and he therefore called for the written opinions of his cabinet upon the constitutionality of the proposed bank. The opinions submitted by Jefferson and Hamilton are most interesting, as they map out with great exactness the opposite views of the federal government’s powers which were to control party conflict for the succeeding three-quarters of a century.
—Jefferson’s opinion, which was first given, begins with the following text: “I consider the foundation of the constitution as laid on this ground, that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people,’ (XII amendment). To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.”
—After showing that there was no power to establish a national bank under the special powers to lay taxes, to pay the debt of the United States, to borrow money, and to regulate commerce, he
proceeds to consider “the general phrases, which are the two following. 1. ‘To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States; that is to say, ‘to lay taxes
for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.’ For the laying of taxes is the
power, and the general welfare the
purpose for which the power is to be exercised. Congress are not to lay taxes,
ad libitum, for any purpose they please; but only
to pay the debts, or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not
to do anything they please, to provide for the general welfare, but only to
lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase; that of instituting a congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they pleased. * * * * * * Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect. * * * * * * 2. The second general phrase is ‘to make all laws
necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers.’ But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank, therefore, is not necessary, and, consequently, not authorized by this phrase. It has been much urged that a bank will give great facility or convenience in the collection of taxes. Suppose this were true: yet the constitution allows only the means which are ‘necessary,’ not those which are merely ‘convenient’ for effecting the enumerated powers. If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase, as to give any nonenumerated power, it will go to every one; for there is no one which ingenuity may not torture into a
convenience in some way or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers. It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one phrase, as before observed.” (Italics as in original.)
—Jefferson’s opinion that the paying of debts and providing for the general welfare is not a
power but a
purpose, is fully argued and accepted by Story as quoted below, and by the supreme court in the
Passenger Cases (in 7
Howard, below); but a colon, which the original has not (see
Maryland (in 4
Wheaton, below). (See also
—Hamilton’s opinion, though very much longer, may be clearly given in his own summary: “1. That the power of the government, as to the objects intrusted to its management, is, in its nature, sovereign. 2. That the right of erecting corporations is one inherent in, and inseparable from, the idea of sovereign power. 3. That the position that the government of the United States can exercise no power but such as is delegated to it by its constitution, does not militate against this principle. 4. That the word
necessary, in the general clause, can have no
restrictive operation, derogating from the force of this principle; indeed, that the degree in which a measure is or is not necessary can not be a
constitutional right, but of expediency only. 5. That the power to erect corporations is not to be considered as an independent and substantive power, but as an incidental and auxiliary one; and was, therefore, more properly left to implication than expressly granted. 6. That the principle in question does not extend the power of the government beyond the prescribed limits, because it only affirms a power to incorporate for purposes
within the sphere of the specified powers. And lastly, that the right to exercise such a power, in certain cases, is unequivocally granted in the most positive and comprehensive terms. To all which it only remains to be added that such a power has actually been exercised in two very eminent instances, namely, in the erection of two governments; one northwest of the river Ohio, and the other southwest; the last independent of any antecedent compact,” (see
—It will be perceived that the essence of Hamilton’s opinion, which is entirely lacking in Jefferson’s, but which the courts have since very steadily accepted, is the
sovereignty of the federal government within its specified bounds—the principle that, when a people have found it necessary to create a sovereignty even for specified purposes, a further and interior limitation upon the sovereignty within its own sphere must be express to be valid (see
—Hamilton’s opinion prevailed with the president, and the bill was signed and became law. The bank, thus chartered, went at once into active and successful operation. It had occasion to bring suits in federal and state courts, and was always recognized as a legally incorporated body. March 23, 1804, an act was passed without a division to allow it to establish branches in the territories, and, having been signed by Jefferson himself, now president, became law; and Feb. 24, 1807, an act to punish forgery of the bank’s notes was similarly passed. The charter was to expire in 1811. In 1809 the bank applied for a recharter, and its application was warmly indorsed by Gallatin, secretary of the treasury. In 1810 a bill for a recharter was introduced, met with some opposition on the grounds laid down by Jefferson, and went over to the next session. In the next session the bank’s application was renewed and finally defeated, Jan. 24, 1811. In the house the vote to postpone the bill indefinitely was 65 to
64; in the senate a motion to strike out the enacting clause of the bill was only carried by the casting vote of the vice-president, Clinton. The bank then, after an unsuccessful effort to obtain a charter from the state of Pennsylvania, wound up its affairs and went out of existence. The government had previously, in 1802, sold out its 2,200 shares of stock to the Barings, of London, at a premium of 57 per cent.
—III. 1816-36. The war of 1812, which almost immediately followed the failure to recharter the bank, was principally supported by loans and the issue of treasury notes. Party spirit was enlisted against the loans, and the federalist newspapers in New England denounced them so warmly that government agents in that section of the country were compelled to advertise that the names of subscribers to the loans would be kept secret. This opposition, together with the downfall of the import trade, the consequent decrease in revenue, the constant drain of specie from the country in payment for smuggled goods, and the want of any convertible currency to take its place, not only increased the public debt from a total of $45,209,737.90 in 1812, to a total of $127,334,933.74 in 1816, but decreased the national credit so far that the treasury negotiated the last loans of the war at a discount of 40 per cent. In January, 1814, upon a petition from New York, a project for a new national bank was introduced in the house, but, as the dominant party still held it unconstitutional, it was dropped without action. In October, 1814, the plan was revived, backed this time by the recommendation of the secretary of the treasury, Dallas, and the influence of the administration. Dallas’ plan obliged the bank to lend the government $30,000,000, but gave it power to suspend specie payments. It was met by another plan, introduced by Calhoun, of South Carolina, which neither obliged the bank to loan money to the government, nor allowed it to suspend. The federalists, by favoring Calhoun’s plan, defeated Dallas’, and then, by combining with the Dallas men, they defeated both plans. The senate, Dec. 9, 1814, then passed a bill for a bank on Dallas’ plan, which was defeated in the house by the casting vote of the speaker. A compromise plan then passed both houses, Calhoun’s two principles being retained, and was vetoed, Jan. 30, 1815, by the president. The veto message “waived the question of the bill’s constitutionality,” as having been already passed upon approvingly by the legislative, executive and judiciary, with the general concurrence of the people; but objected to the plan of this bill on the score of convenience, as not being calculated to aid the government or the people in their embarrassments. In February, 1815, after the arrival of the news of peace, the senate again passed a bank bill on Dallas’ plan, which was lost in the house by a single vote. April 10, 1816, the act to establish
The Bank of the United States became law. It followed Hamilton’s plan closely. The charter was to run twenty years; the capital was to be $35,000,000, one-fifth in cash, the rest in United States 6 per cent stocks; the government was to have the appointment of five of the twenty-five directors; and the bank was to have the custody of the public funds (see
—Within three years, the mismanagement, speculations and frauds of the president and directors of the bank brought the institution to the verge of bankruptcy and helped to derange the whole business of the country. The efforts of a new president were successful in saving the bank, but only by a curtailment and recall of loans to other banks, which aided in bringing on the general stringency of 1818-21, and roused strong feeling against the bank. State legislatures began to arraign it as unconstitutionally chartered. The legislatures of Maryland and Ohio, in 1818, levied taxes upon the branch banks in their states, with the intention of forcing them to close; and, though the supreme court (see
Maryland, in 4
Wheaton, below) decided in favor of the bank’s constitutionality, and against a state’s right to tax it, Ohio took the amount of her tax, $100,000. from the vaults of the branch bank at Chillicothe by force, in defiance of an injunction from the federal circuit court. The directors at once brought suit in the federal courts against the agents of the levy for trespass, and the state in 1820 withdrew the use of its jails for the custody of prisoners in such suits, at the same time reducing its tax to $10,000 a year, and refunding the over amount of $90,000. Returning prosperity changed the current of feeling, and Ohio withdrew from her position.
—Until 1829 the bank of the United States seems to have had no connection whatever with national politics. In the presidential elections of 1824 and 1828 we find no allusions to it. It was simply a very successful business enterprise, now numbering twenty-five branches, under the general control of the directors of the parent bank and their president, Nicholas Biddle. In Jackson’s letters of March, 1829, there are some traces of an under current of dislike for the bank and its directors, as “minions of Clay.” No symptoms appear, however, of any possibility of collision between the bank and the administration until June, 1829, when the Jackson managers of the state of New Hampshire, Isaac Hill and Levi Woodbury, began to urge president Biddle to remove the president of the branch bank at Portsmouth, N. H., and to appoint a Jackson man in his place. Biddle refused on the ground that the incumbent was a man “of first-rate character and abilities,” and not appointed for political reasons; and in October he finally, and so emphatically “as to leave no possibility of misconception,”
declared to the secretary of the treasury that neither the bank nor its branches “acknowledged the slightest responsibility of any description whatsoever to the secretary of the treasury touching the political opinions and conduct of their officers, that being a subject on which they never consult, and have no desire to know, the views of any administration.” Here the matter rested until the meeting of congress, when, in his message of Dec. 8, 1829, the president for the first time personally entered the field by making the following reference to the bank. “The charter of the Bank of the United States expires in 1836, and its stock-holders will most probably apply for a renewal of their privileges. In order to avoid the evils resulting from precipitancy in a measure involving such important principles and such deep pecuniary interests, I feel that I can not, in justice to the parties interested, too soon present it to the deliberate consideration of the legislature and the people. Both the constitutionality and the expediency of the law creating this bank are well questioned by a large portion of our fellow-citizens; and it must be admitted by all that it has failed in the great end of establishing a uniform and sound currency.”
—The message also suggested the substitution of a bank which should be a part of, and under the direct control of, the treasury. (See
—Up to this time Jackson seems to have been willing to avoid open war upon the bank until his other enemies should be disposed of, (see
buy its charter; and its loans to congressmen, mostly of the opposition to it, are stated by the report of a senate committee in 1834, as $322,199 to 59 congressmen in 1831, $478,069 to 54 congressmen in 1832, and $374,766 to 58 congressmen in 1833. A majority in both houses was in favor of the charter, but in the house the speaker was against it, and this circumstance controlled the operations of the opposition, guided by Benton. Vague and general charges of corruption were brought against the management of the bank, and the speaker so constituted the committee of investigation that, though the charges were disproved, the majority report brought the bank in guilty. Having thus obtained a basis for an “appeal to the people,” the opposition allowed the bill to recharter the bank to come to a vote, and it passed the senate June 11, 1832, 28 to 20, and the house July 3, 109 to 76. July 10, it was vetoed in a message of great ability, which was mainly devoted to proving the bank, as then constituted, to be an unnecessary, useless, expensive, un American monopoly, always hostile to the interests of the people and possibly dangerous to the government as well. An attempt to pass the bill over the veto failed.
—Time has shown that the application for a recharter at this session was a false step, and that the bank’s only course was to wait patiently until a two-thirds majority in congress could be obtained, pass the bill for the charter, if necessary, over the veto, and end the battle by one blow. For the bank only one victory was needed; the charter, once obtained, was secure. By impatience it succeeded only in implicating its quarrel with the presidential election, which resulted not only in the president’s triumphant re-election, but also in the choice of a house of representatives, to meet in 1833, which was pledged to support the president
against all his opponents, even against the bank.
—The president now had the move, and he made it. A premonition of his purpose was given in his message of Dec. 4, 1832, in which he announced a belief, which he had warmly taken up, that the bank was insolvent, and advised an investigation into its affairs and the sale of the government stock in it. This congress, however, the same which had recently passed the bill for a bank charter, was still opposed to the president, and the house voted that the deposits might safely be left in the bank. Before the meeting of the new congress, elected in 1832, the president had removed the deposits of public moneys from the bank (see
—IV. 1837-45. For over twenty years gold and silver, as a currency, had been practically unknown in the United States. Whatever may have been the evils connected with the free grant of the use of the public funds to a private corporation, the bank of the United States had at least provided a currency acceptable everywhere. What was to take its place? Benton’s engrossing desire was to bring his party back to its original devotion to “hard money,” gold and silver, but to this there was one insuperable obstacle: the state banks which were now the only available receptacle for the public funds, which had thrown the whole weight of their influence for the government and against the bank, and which it was necessary to support, possessed the power of issuing notes to a more unlimited and dangerous extent than the bank of the United States. If the sub-treasury system (see
specie circular, which directed the land offices to reject paper money and receive only specie in payment for public lands. At the following session congress did indeed pass a bill directing the reception of notes of specie-paying banks, but so late in the session that the president was able to dispose of it by a “pocket veto” (see
—The democratic party had by this time thoroughly learned the folly of the state bank, or “pet bank,” system. The pet banks had gladly received the public revenues, but, when called upon to refund them for distribution among the states (see
—President Harrison called congress together in extra session for May 31, 1841. His early death (see
of congress, decided to follow out Harrison’s action, and congress assembled at the appointed time. In his message the president avowed his belief that congress had the power to charter a national bank, but reserved the right to veto any plan which should contain unconstitutional or unwise provisions. The whig leaders, however, and particularly those under Clay’s influence, were more disposed to force Tyler to serve in the ranks than to recognize him as commander-in-chief. At the beginning of the session, on Clay’s motion, the secretary of the treasury furnished a plan for a national bank, and a bill drawn up on his recommendations, “to incorporate the subscribers to the fiscal bank of the United States,” passed both houses, Aug. 6, by a vote of 26 to 23 in the senate, and 123 to 98 in the house. The word “fiscal” was placed in the title by way of implication that there was some difference between this and the former bank of the United States, though it is difficult to see any great difference; Tyler had even wished that it should be called fiscal institute, or fiscal corporation. Aug. 9, the house passed a senate bill to repeal the sub-treasury law, and the repeal was signed by the president, Aug. 13. The passage of this bill just at the time when the president was considering the bank bill, was very significant and unexpectedly momentous. The debates alone seem to show that it was intended to force the president to sign the bank bill by leaving him without a sub-treasury; its actual result was, by leaving the president master of the treasury, unchecked by the limitations of any law, to enable him to dictate terms to his party. Aug. 16, the president vetoed the bill on the ground that the permission given in it to establish branch banks in the different states was dangerous and unjust to the states; but the veto also contained an intimation, which may be construed as a call upon the whigs to surrender with good quarter, that the president would be willing to sign a bank bill which should not be open to constitutional objections. By this time the distinctive Clay portion of the whig members of congress were in a white heat of exasperation against the president. They justly considered him a mediocre man, shifty in belief and practice, and only settled in a determination to make himself head either of the whig party or of a new third party of his own. They were with difficulty persuaded to restrain public exhibitions of their resentment while a new bill, to avoid the objections of the veto, was prepared and hurried through the house with indecent haste, Aug. 23, and the senate, Sept. 3 but their incautious private expressions, and particularly an angry letter of Botts, of Virginia, gave to Tyler an excuse, of which he availed himself Sept. 9, to veto this bill also. It is impossible to read the full details of Tyler’s defeat of this last bill, as given in the authorities cited below, and acquit him of double dealing; the only excuse to be made for him is that his mind was too much beclouded by his presidential aspirations to be able to estimate his own conduct impartially. His last veto, however, ended the list of attempts to grant to a private corporation the custody and emoluments of the national revenue. (See
Gouverneur Morris, 235, and 3: 437; the ordinance incorporating the bank of North America is in 1
Stat. at Large, (Bioren and Duane’s edition), 672. II. See
United States, 104; 1 Benton’s
Debates of Congress; 4 Jefferson’s
Works (edit. 1829). 306, 523; 1 Hamilton’s
Works, 138 foll, Story’s
Commentaries, § 903; Tiffany’s
Constitutional Law, § 337; 4
Wheat. 316; 7
The Federalist, xxxviii, xliv (both by Madison), 4 Elliot’s
Debates, 217, 265; for the Acts of Feb. 25 and March 2, 1791, see
Stat. at Large
Stat at Large
United States, 383; 5 Benton’s
Debates of Congress; 1
Statesman’s Manual, 323; A. J. Dallas’
Writings, 236 foll.; 2 Calhoun’s
Works, 155; 3 Parton’s
Life of Jackson, 187, 272 foll.;
Private Correspondence of Henry Clay, 322 foll.; Mackenzie’s
Life and Times of Van Buren, 133 foll.; Holland’s
Life of Van Buren, 294; 2
Statesman’s Manual, 863; Hunt’s
Life of Livingston, 370; 2 Sedgwick’s
Political Writings of Leggett; 3 Webster’s
Works, 391, 416; 1 Benton’s
Thirty Years’ View; 11 Benton’s
Debates of Congress; the Act of April 10, 1816, is in 3
Stat. at Large, 266; the Acts to wind up the affairs of the bank are in 5
Stat at Large, 8-297. IV. See
History of American Currency
United States, 406; 61 Niles’
Weekly Register; 10, 11 Adams’
Memoirs of John Quincy Adams; 2 Clay’s
Speeches; 2 Benton’s
Thirty Years’ View; 14 Benton’s
Debates of Congress; 2
Statesman’s Manual, 1345-1359.