Nicholas Beedle

Nicholas Biddle was born on January 8, 1786 in Philadelphia to Charles and Hannah Shepard Biddle[10]. He described his own childhood by saying, "my boyhood was not I think happy.[11]" His reasoning in this statement came from his temperament which, as a young boy, was far more serious than one was expected to be at his age[12]. Because of this, Biddle took it upon himself to become self educated by reading and studying rather than participating in games or recreation. Due to his intense studies, Biddle entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1796 at the age of ten. When he was a senior he withdrew from the University and enrolled in the sophomore class at Princeton[13].

When he was nineteen years old, Biddle was invited to work as an unpaid secretary in Paris by General John Armstrong[14]. During his stay in France, Biddle developed an interest in international finance[15] then after spending time with James Monroe in London, he returned to Philadelphia as a young lawyer who felt obligated to assist his father's friend, Aaron Burr who, after being exonerated in killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel years earlier, was then dealing with his creditors. Other work in the legal profession soon followed Biddle. An accomplished writer, he transcribed the journals of Lewis and Clark for publication and shortly after completing them, married Jane Craig on October 3, 1811[16].

Biddle served one term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives before James Monroe appointed him as one of the directors of the Second Bank of the United States in 1819. In 1822, when he was only 37 years of age[17], he became president of the Bank where he would lead a program to stabilize the currency[18]. What happened following this ascension in the ranks of the Bank would be what put the name Nicholas Biddle into the history books and as a young man, untested in any sort of battle, thrust him into a war with a seasoned veteran of the military and a man who was soundly opposed to banks.