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354CIVIL WAR HISTORY Some of the terminology Professor Jackson employs is also disconcertingly indefinite. Without adequate explanation, he writes of veto usages as demonstrating "positive" or "negative" presidential action; he identifies Pierce and Buchanan as the last "really conservative" Presidents from their vetoes favoring Federal austerity. In saying on page 109 that senators "paired off* against each other, he means something opposite to what a legislative expert might think. And in the Ught of some of the recent scholarship on Andrew Johnson, one can only question Jackson's beUef that "subtle manipulations " might have enabled that unfortunate chief executive to build a "vast patronage" with which to overawe Congress. That Professor Jackson has worked diUgently there can be no doubt, and the usefulness of what he has done cannot be denied. However, the analytical shortcomings from which his work suffers might have been partly avoided had its organization been topical instead of chronological, and had its pubUcation been in the form of extended articles rather than as a compendious single volume. Rodney Davis Knox College Biddle's Bank: The Crucial Years. By Jean Alexander W├╝burn. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967, Pp. 149. $6.50.) This study reexamines national attitudes toward the Second Bank of the United States in "the crucial years" 1831-1832, "after the Bank had begun to function properly and the people had had the opportunity of experiencing its benefits" (p. 134) and just prior to Andrew Jackson's veto of the Bank's recharter. Professor Wilburn challenges Ralph C. H. Catterall's sectional analysis of the recharter vote. Based on United States Senate votes only, Catterall concluded that New England supported the Bank, the West was divided, while the "determined opposition" came from the South and Southwest. An examination of both House and Senate votes shows neither New England nor the South and Southwest united in their positions; only the West was united, but in favor of the Bank. SectionaUsm remains relevant only for the West, and there in a way the reverse of traditional analysis. Turning next to votes in the New York legislature, the author finds that New York City ("Wall Street") and the "frontier" regions west of Auburn supported the Bank ("Chestnut Street"), while the Hudson valley and center of the state were in opposition. In her analysis of Bank support and the economic reasons therefor Mrs. Wilburn tries to break new ground. Historians have long asserted that two groups had strong economic reasons for opposing the Bank: the western farmers and the state bankers, because neither liked the poUcies of credit restriction which the Bank followed. The author admits this may have been true in 1819 but contends it was not true in 1831-1832. To support her case she turns to memorials and petitions sent to Congress, requests for new branches, and the correspondence of Nicholas Biddle. Western farmers, BOOKREVIEWS355 without State banks, were dependent on Biddle's branches for a circulating medium and for bills of exchange and discounts necessary to market their goods. State bankers welcomed both the stability in monetary affairs and the check upon excessive state bank note issues exercised by the Bank, and recognized that Biddle's Bank brought surplus capital from other regions into a state, something the state banks could not do. State bank support was strongest in regions needing the Bank's services, and weakest in New England , where a strong state bank system existed. Quantitatively, Bank opponents forwarded no state bank memorials and only eight citizens' memorials against recharter; Biddle's friends raised about seventy favorable state bank and 118 citizens' memorials. Having challenged the traditional picture of wide hostiUty to the Bank, the author attempts to explain why the President's veto was not overridden. Again concentrating on New York, she finds that Biddle's failure to estabUsh a Bank branch at Albany allowed Democratic leaders to pass legislative instructions against recharter which the Congressional delegation followed. She also asserts that the connection between the Bank recharter and the defeat of Martin Van Buren's nomination as ambassador to England turned "the Bank question, not primarily a poUtical issue, into a matter of party poUtics" (p. 125). The vaUdity of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 354-356
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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