Author and Historian William Hogeland to Discuss “Hamilton’s Hub” and the Legacy of the First Bank of the United States, October 18September 22, 2022
On Tuesday, October 18, 2022, at 6:30 p.m., author and historian William Hogeland will join the Museum of the American Revolution to present a lecture titled “Hamilton's Hub: The First Bank of the U.S. in the Creation of the American Economy.” Hogeland will discuss the establishment of the First Bank of the United States, which was the hub of the comprehensive system of national finance created by the first U.S. Treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, as well as the bank’s relevance today. The hybrid event is part of the Museum’s Read the Revolution Speaker Series.
The program will be held in the Museum’s Liberty Hall and will be broadcast live via Zoom. Following the presentation, Museum President & CEO Dr. R. Scott Stephenson will join the conversation to facilitate a live Q&A with the onsite and online audiences.
The First Bank, the country’s first national financial institution, was completed in 1797 and is located directly across from the Museum on Third Street. The First Bank was crucial to Hamilton’s financial system. As developed from the ideas of his mentor, the great Philadelphia merchant Robert Morris, the system combined funding the public war debt on a long-term basis, via national taxation, with growing and consolidating the debt by assuming the states’ debts in the national obligation. The bank was that system’s hub, and while it withstood two threatened crashes during Hamilton’s tenure, his opponents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison excoriated its existence as unconstitutional. In 1801, when they came to power, the new agenda was to dismantle Hamilton’s entire system.
In the ensuing decade, Albert Gallatin, a Genevan émigré, Treasury secretary first to President Jefferson and then to President Madison, worked tirelessly to reduce the public debt. And yet by 1811, when the bank’s charter expired, and the Jeffersonian majority in Congress sought to shutter the institution for good, Gallatin had concluded that the bank should remain open. What happened next involved a war, a national financial crisis, and political and ideological realignments that would shape American life throughout the next century.
Drawing both on his 2012 book Founding Finance and his narrative trilogy The Whiskey Rebellion, Declaration, and Autumn of the Black Snake, Hogeland will trace conflicts and alliances among Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, Gallatin, and ordinary people who had financial ideas of their own; connect those conflicts to ensuing generations’ decisions regarding debt, speculation, foreclosures, and taxation; and reveal the startling relevance of founding American struggles over economics to our political struggles today.
Onsite general admission tickets are $20 for non-members and $15 for Museum Members. Zoom access is included with onsite ticket purchase. Online general admission tickets are $15 for non-members and $10 for Museum Members. Tickets can be purchased here. Doors open at 6 p.m. for onsite guests to see featured artifacts, enjoy refreshments at a cash bar, and purchase signed copies of featured books.
Presented in partnership with Independence Historical Trust.
The Museum’s Read the Revolution Speaker Series brings celebrated authors and historians to the Museum for lively discussions of their work. The series is based on the Museum’s national Read the Revolution bi-monthly e-newsletters, which feature excerpts from thought-provoking books to inspire learning about the American Revolution.
About William Hogeland
William Hogeland is the author of the narrative trilogy The Whiskey Rebellion, Declaration, and Autumn of the Black Snake, as well as the expository work Founding Finance and a collection of essays, Inventing American History. Born in Virginia, he was raised in Brooklyn, New York, where he currently lives.
About Today’s First Bank and the Independence Historical Trust
The Independence Historical Trust, the philanthropic partner of Independence National Historical Park, has been raising money to restore the First Bank since 2017. Learn more about the First Bank Restoration Project and register for this event to hear an update about their progress to design educational exhibits and their campaign to maintain the landmark building. Friends of the Independence Historical Trust, who support the First Bank Restoration project, are invited to register for a reciprocal Member discount.
About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution uncovers and shares compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government. Through the Museum’s unmatched collection, immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive elements, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in ensuring that the promise of the American Revolution endures. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.