In order to facilitate commercial transactions and economic investment after the American Revolution, many inhabitants of northern Virginia became convinced that the region needed financial institutions. Indeed, most politically active residents of the region—at least after the 1790s—saw banks as crucial agents of economic development. Thus, the philosophy of “agrarian republicans” such as Thomas Jefferson and John Taylor of Carolina—who saw banks as monopolistic and anti-republican institutions—had limited appeal in the region. Moreover, the banks of northern Virginia were not controlled by planters who sought capital to finance the purchase of slaves and land. Instead, banks supported a wide range of economic endeavors—agriculture, industry, internal improvement projects, and commercial activities. The broadening access to bank capital in northern Virginia reveals that in the South—as in the northern states—there was a “democratization” of banking in the years after Revolution.
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