Prior to the American Revolution, there were virtually no banks in the United States. However, Alexander Hamilton, who was George Washington’s key advisor on financial matters, was familiar with the central banks of England and the Netherlands which had been key factors in the growth of the economy of those countries.
Unlike some agrarian Virginian politicians such as Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton believed that banking and credit was the key to the nation’s future. In 1781 he encouraged Robert Morris, the recently appointed Superintendent of Finance for the Continental government, to form the Bank of North America in Philadelphia. For a time up, until the British surrender of New York, this was the only Bank in the colonies. [Read more…] about Wall Street History: The Politics of New York’s First Banks