In the early 1800s, the US banking system was dominated by a unique blend of proprietary bank notes held by wealthy merchants and a working class mostly limited to foreign currencies (when they were lucky enough to earn real money at all). New England merchants, ever reliant on European trade, had developed or maintained extensive connections to prominent European trading partners. The capital to valorize these products, coupled with the unique trading opportunities that a continent of untapped resources offered, were fertile ground for a rising class of bourgeois. A shipbuilding/fishing economy had given way to an international-mercantilist model, and the monetary supply could hardly keep up with growth.
As this rapid accumulation of capital progressed, a clear winner was bound to emerge - and the US Government wasn’t playing around: they were going to enthrone the financiers to their own ends. Remember, in those days money wasn’t quite as easy as it was now – loans were in the form of promissory notes or proprietary bank notes: unlike fractional reserve banking, there was little liquidity in loaned value. This was such a problem that it would cause a run on debt in 1937. For the better part of the century, the country was set to witness profound clashes between nearly monolithic financial interests - interests, it turns out, that would manipulate popular movements to push their own financial agenda, all in the name of the "free market."1