Early Banking in the United States:
Experiments with Central Banking
After the Revolutionary War in 1781, the Continental Congress adopted
the dollar as the unit for the national currency. At that time, a variety
of private notes were printed. After the adoption of the Constitution
in 1789, Congress chartered The First Bank of the United States to operate
until 1811 and authorized it to issue paper bank notes to eliminate confusion
and facilitate commerce.
This bank also served as the U.S. Treasury's fiscal agent, thus performing
the first central bank functions in the United States. The privately owned
bank was the subject of controversy, and its charter was not renewed.
The Second Bank of the United States was given a twenty-year charter in
1816. President Andrew Jackson vetoed the recharter of the Second Bank.