Hamilton's National Bank

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In this lesson, students participate in two rounds of a role play to help them understand the role of banks in facilitating economic growth through loans. Round 1 is conducted without a bank. After the first round, students read excerpts from Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton’s 1790 report to Congress in which he proposes a national bank because the United States had few banks at the time. Students then conduct Round 2 of the role play with a bank. After the round, students read excerpts from and summaries of the statute creating a national bank, Thomas Jefferson’s opposition, and Hamilton’s rebuttal.

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See related lesson: Constitutionality of a Central Bank

Concepts covered in this lesson include:

  • Banks
  • Capital formation
  • Capital resources
  • Collateral
  • Gross domestic product (GDP)
  • Loan
  • Risk
  • Risk-reward relationship
  • Savings
  • Usury


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Education Level: 6-8 9-12 College Non-educators
Subjects: History Economics
Concepts: Banks Gross Domestic Product/GDP Interest
Resource Types: Lesson Primary Source Document PowerPoint
Languages: English
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