Biddle, Jackson, and a Nation in Turmoil

Cordelia Frances Biddle


The Infamous Bank War The first half of the 19th century was an era of upheaval. The United States nearly lost the War of 1812. Partisanship became endemic during violent clashes...

Out of stock



The Infamous Bank War

The first half of the 19th century was an era of upheaval. The United States nearly lost the War of 1812. Partisanship became endemic during violent clashes regarding States’ Rights and the abolition of slavery. The battle between Andrew Jackson and Nicholas Biddle over the Second Bank of the United States epitomized a nation in turmoil: Biddle, the erudite aristocrat versus Jackson, the plain-spoken warrior. The conflict altered America’s political arena.

In 1832, President Andrew Jackson vowed to kill the Central Bank, setting in motion the infamous Bank War that almost bankrupted the nation. Under Biddle’s guidance, the Second Bank of the United States had become the most stable financial institution in the world. Biddle fought Jackson with tenacity and vigor; so did members of Congress not under the sway of “Old Hickory.” Jackson accused Biddle of treason; Biddle declared that the president promoted anarchy. The fight riveted the nation.

The United States is experiencing a reappearance of deep schisms within our population. They hearken back to the earliest debates about the federal government’s role regarding fiduciary responsibility and social welfare. The ideological descendants of Nicholas Biddle and Andrew Jackson are as polarized today as they were during the nineteenth century.

With this book, author Cordelia Frances Biddle documents the epic fight between Nicholas Biddle and Andrew Jackson over the fate of the Second Bank of the United States, shedding new light with previously undiscovered documents while bringing the story to life in a compelling biography of political intrigue.

What Others Are Saying

"Nicholas Biddle is a familiar figure among historians, who know him for his long and fulminous battle with President Andrew Jackson over the Second Bank of the United States. But now, through the deep research and deft unspooling of Biddle’s life, Cordelia Biddle has provided us with a luminous new view of her ancestor. No previous historian has so compellingly braided together the private and public lives of this polymathic politician, financial genius, gifted orator, and presidential advisor.  As a descendant of the man she brings to life, she might easily have given us a one-sided portrait of a man who indeed nearly broke his health in combating the intemperate and egomaniacal Jackson.  But instead Cordelia Biddle gives us a depiction of a man with tragic flaws alongside his brilliant analyses of the American economy and its banking system in an era of rambunctious, land-hungry, restless, and deeply divided Americans.  Readers of this admirably crafted, stunning book will come away with valuable new insights and a great respect for the engaging, graceful prose." - Gary B. Nash, author of Warner Mifflin: Unflinching Quaker Abolitionist

"Using previously unknown documents, Cordelia Biddle weaves together a rich and vivid tale of one of America's most prominent, brilliant, and misunderstood public figures.  The battle between Nicholas Biddle and Andrew Jackson was not just about the place of finance in American life, but about two different visions for the new nation: one Spartan, speculative, and rooted in land (and by extension, slavery); the other cosmopolitan, urban, and built on the bedrock of a centrally-controlled currency. Biddle's telling of her ancestor's rise and fall not only brings a vanished age back to life, but makes us ask crucial questions about our own era and how we got here."   - Steven Ujifusa, author of Barons of the Sea and A Man and His Ship

"In her meticulously researched new book, Cordelia Frances Biddle turns to a critical period in nineteenth-century American life as she brilliantly reveals the human dimensions of historic, true-life conflicts. Biddle, Jackson, and a Nation in Turmoil  brings presidents, financiers, and common folk to vivid relevance. This is history at its best--perceptive, witty, elegantly composed and deeply empathetic. I learned a great deal from this richly entertaining volume--in fact, I could not put it down!" - Donald Spoto, New York Times best-selling author

“Most Americans today remember Nicholas Biddle— if they remember him at all— as Andrew Jackson’s designated villain during the fight over the Bank of the United States in the early 1830s. In fact, Cordelia Biddle reminds us, Nicholas was actually a prominent renaissance figure of America’s early years— diplomat, lawyer, literary editor, politician, banker— whose life touched notables from Jefferson to Napoleon to Aaron Burr to Lewis and Clark. Who is better qualified to rescue Nicholas Biddle from obscurity than his great-great-great-granddaughter Cordelia Biddle? Between her novelist’s eye for detail and her unique access to his papers (and even his scrapbooks), the answer is: probably nobody.” - Dan Rottenberg (author of The Man Who Made Wall Street: Anthony J. Drexel and the Rise of Modern Finance)

"In the much-needed biography, Cordelia Biddle sheds new light on Nicholas Biddle’s impressive career and his fateful showdown with President Andrew Jackson." - Paul Kahan, author of The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance and Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln's Scandalous Secretary of War

by Cordelia Frances Biddle
Page Count: 328
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Publish Date: February 20, 2021
Imprint: Oxford Southern
Genre: History


HISTORY / United States / 19th Century
HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA)

Recently Viewed Products