Saturday, June 8, 2013

Jun 8 (1784) The Bank of New York Founded by Abolitionist Alexander Hamilton

On this day in 1784 the Bank of New York was founded by Alexander Hamilton. The Bank of New York would become one of the first five securities traded under the Buttonwood tree when the NYSE was formed eight years later. Today, the Bank of New York exists as as The Bank of New York Mellon or BNY Mellon, the oldest bank in the US.

Hamilton was also an a founding member of the New York Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves, and Protecting Such of Them as Have Been, or May be Liberated. In contrast to his political rival Thomas Jefferson, he detested slavery, considering it a terrible waste of human potential, and worked diligently to abolish it in his home state of New York, though it was not completely abolished in New York until 1827 (on the 4th of July). Hamilton died in a duel with Aaron Burr in 1804.

In a letter to Continental Congress president John Jay, written in 1779, Hamilton proposed recruiting African-Americans for the Continental Army, noting "I have not the least doubt, that they will make very excellent soldiers."

Image is from the Library of Congress, and is a statue of Alexander Hamilton in front of the US Treasury Building. The U.S. Department of the Treasury building was originally designed by Ammi B. Young. Sculptor James Earle Fraser created this statue of Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury which stands in front of the southern fa├žade facing The Ellipse.

Further Reading

US News article on Hamilton as the first treasury secretary

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Flannery O'Connor

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.