National Bank Act is Signed by President Lincoln

February 25, 1863

President Lincoln signs the National Bank Act developing a uniform banking system to support the currency legislation passed a year earlier.  Historian Walter A. McDougall noted that “fierce opposition from Wall Street, state banking interests, and old Jacksonians delayed passage until February 1863, when Senator John Sherman offered bribes under the guise of a compromise. One amendment killed proportional distribution of the Treasury’s largesse in favor of the large eastern banks, and another ensured 100 percent redemption of federal notes only at national banks based in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. The financial community, theretofore surly, found patriotism plus 5 percent more to its liking. All those initiatives were grist for the mills of hustlers and frauds. But the extraordinary Republican package made the partnership between the public and private sectors more than a motto.

Attorney General Edward Bates writes: “At night, Mr. [Isaac] Newton and Mr. Sargent called to see me, and Mr. N (as usual) had secrets to tell – He took me aside to say he must have a talk with me, but now – saying only that he had just had a long private talk with the P. partly about me – that the P. assured him that he had full and unabated confidence in me”.

This was in answer to my frequent refusals to go to the P. at his N’s instance, and volunteer opinion and advice, when not asked. In fact, for some time I have not recd. the consideration which I thought my due, especially in regard to Mo. Affairs — and also, some matters proper to my own office — I do not doubt the [Presidents’s] personal confidence, but he is under constant pressure of extreme factions and of bold and importunate men, who taking advantage of his amiable weakness, commit him beforehand to their ends, so as to bar all future deliberation.

Published in: on February 25, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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