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Nicholas Biddle

Banker

Nicholas Biddle, American banker. member Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1810-1811, Pennsylvania Senate, 1814-1818.

Background

Biddle, Nicholas was born on January 8, 1786 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Son of Charles and Hannah (Shepard) Biddle.

Education

Graduate (valedictorian) College of New Jersey (now Princeton), 1801.

Career

Secretary to General John Armstrong (minister to France), 1804. Secretary legation, London, England., 1806. An editor literary magazine Portfolio, 1806-1812.

Admitted to Pennsylvania bar, 1809. Member Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1810-1811, Pennsylvania Senate, 1814-1818. Director 2d Bank of the United States, 1819.

President Bank of the United States, 1823-1836. Leading advocate of rechartering of the bank (became major issue of 1832 presidential election). Became president United States Bank of Pennsylvania (successor to Bank of the United States after President Jackson’s veto of rechartering), 1836-1839.

President of the board of trustees Girard College, also University of Pennsylvania. President agricultural and horticultural societies Author: History of the Expedition of Captains Lewis and Clark, 1814.

Achievements

  • Biddle's accomplishments as a banker have been variously viewed by historians, many of whom have accepted the charges brought against him by President Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party. This view considers Biddle to have been an unscrupulous monopolist who used the great power of the Second Bank of the United States to enrich the mercantile and industrial classes and exploit the farmers and workers.

    But recent studies are beginning to reverse this view, and to call attention to the Bank's contributions in providing a sound, elastic, and convenient national currency and in protecting the general economy from the full effects of national and international financial crises. The Federal Reserve System (established in 1913), and the monetary and banking reforms adopted under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, can be seen in part as a return to the policies and principles first clearly established by Biddle during his administration of the Second Bank of the United States.

Works

  • Other Work

    • Author: History of the Expedition of Captains Lewis and Clark, 1814.

Membership

Member Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1810-1811, Pennsylvania Senate, 1814-1818.

Connections

Married Jane Craig, October 4, 1811.

father:
Charles Biddle

mother:
Hannah (Shepard) Biddle

spouse:
Jane Craig