Annual EBHS Conference, 39th Annual Economic and Business History Society Conference

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Colonial American Origins of Anti-Bank Sentiment
Elton G. McGoun, Andrew Mastrocola

Last modified: 2014-05-19

Abstract


General opinion in the United States regarding financial markets and institutions has never been palpably favorable.  Sometimes the public has been merely skeptical, while sometimes it has been overtly hostile.  Where have such strongly unfavorable opinions come from?  Anti-bank sentiment originating in colonial America had little to do with banks or institutions that performed banking functions.  Rather, banks’ association with money and money’s association with both economic and political power meant that the very idea of a bank, regardless of how necessary banking is to the effective functioning of a modern economy, evoked—and still evokes—Americans’ long-standing animosity towards anyone or anything that threatens their independence.