Second Bank of the United States

Philadelphia
PA

The Second Bank, modeled after the Parthenon

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QUICK FACTS
  • Designed by William Strickland (1788 - 1854) who won a competition in 1818. Famous for his Greek Revival architecture, The Second Bank building is Strickland’s fifth completed building, and the one that made him famous.
  • In 1828 Strickland accepted a commission to replace the steeple to Independence Hall. The original wooden steeple from 1750, badly damaged, had been removed in 1781. The steeple we see today is a restoration of the Strickland steeple completed in 2012.
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Completed in 1824, it is used today as a portrait gallery for 185 paintings of colonial and federal leaders, many by Charles Willson Peale.
Associated People

Yet there is no doubt that his natural abilities were what most distinguished [John] Marshal from other lawyers and jurists. His head, said Senator Rufus King, is the best organized of anyone I have known. Marshal could grasp a subject in its whole and yet simultaneously analyze it parts and relate them to the whole. He could move progressively and efficiently from premise to conclusion in a logical and rigorous manner and extract the essence of the law from the mass of particulars. In the words of Justice Story, he had the remarkable ability to seize, as it were by intuition, the very spirit of juridical doctrines. Even Jefferson acknowledged Marshall’s talent, but he scarcely respected it. Jefferson told Story that when conversing with Marshall, I never admit anything. So sure as you admit any position to be good, no matter how remote from the conclusion he seeks to establish, you are gone. So great is his sophistry you must never give him an affirmative answer, or you will be forced to grant his conclusion. Why, if he were to ask me whether it were daylight or not, I’d reply, Sir, I don’t know, I can’t tell.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)