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By Stanley Kroll

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For the balance of its life, the bank was known as "Biddle's Bank" because of the strong influence he exercised over it. But one of Biddle's major shortcomings was aligning himself against Andrew Jackson, the popular president from the Tennessee frontier. Biddie was the archetypal dilettante of his day, dabbling in many enterprises, usually with success. He was from a leading Quaker family in Philadelphia, had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania at the precocious age of thirteen, and later studied at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton).

The potential gains could be astronomical, although experience would prove that, in the long term, these investments provided only an average return. Roadway companies developed first. The Lancaster Pike, completed in 1794, was the first privately built roadway in the country, extending between Philadelphia and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Many new German immigrants used it to penetrate the interior of Pennsylvania and beyond to the Midwest. The turnpike authority had the right to collect tolls and de- The Early Years 29 clare eminent domain when charting its course through the countryside.

As the anonymous author of the early investor's guide said of a trader who had been victimized by his fellow floor brokers: "It had one good effect. . that such an insight into the business disgusted him . . "22 The early years of Wall Street provided a foundation for trading techniques, commissions, trading rules, and underwriting. However, the gaming atmosphere and the predatory practices helped show that the marketplace was still very much in its infancy and would need years to mature. Although America needed a stock exchange from the earliest years of the Republic, it would take several decades more for the exchanges to develop to the point where they would be treated as different from gaming places.

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