Alexander Hamilton and the Origins of Wall Street

Report-no: HW-02-101096

34 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 1996

See all articles by Howard M. Wachtel

Howard M. Wachtel

American University - Department of Economics


The origins of Wall Street are tied to Alexander Hamilton's plans for the financing of the new nation and the funding of its debt. The two hundredth anniversary of Wall Street in 1992 occasioned many retrospectives that owe more to mythology than to historical veracity. Wall Street's earliest history consists of market corners, insider trading, and financial scandal that implicated the high (Alexander Hamilton) and the low (William Duer). The 1792 Wall Street response was in the form of private self- regulation in order to hold off governmental regulation, setting a precedent for public policy that carries well into the twentieth century. Using new historical methodology, this article reinterprets the formative financial period of 1790-1792 and the origins of Wall Street.

JEL Classification: N21

Suggested Citation

Wachtel, Howard M., Alexander Hamilton and the Origins of Wall Street. Report-no: HW-02-101096, Available at SSRN: or

Howard M. Wachtel (Contact Author)

American University - Department of Economics ( email )

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