http://earlyamericanists.com/2015/10/27/continuing-the-debate-on-slavery-and-capitalism/ accessed 23 December 2015.
Because so many other scholars have dealt with Baptist’s use of statistics and argumentation, I will confine my comments his treatment of the Second Bank. Noticeably, there are many instances in which the cited primary sources do not support the conclusions he reaches, the integration of other primary sources that are not cited would lead to a different or at least more complicated and nuanced discussion, the conclusions he reaches are plausible but would require more evidence to convince the skeptical reader, and his interpretative framework can be challenged by other models.
For example, Baptist writes that support for the American System was be tied to one’s social class (218); without providing endnotes for the reader, Baptist writes that in the southwestern states, there was “virtually universal support” for Jackson among non-planters (225); that the BUS had spent money against Jackson in the 1828 presidential campaigns without mentioning that many of these accusations were vague and unsubstantiated, denied by many of Jackson’s followers and Biddle himself after conducting an in-person investigation (228); that most of the anti-BUS hostility in Mississippi stemmed from the institution’s loans to a small group of planters, antagonizing ordinary Mississippians or other banks that would challenge the Bank’s monopoly (233-244); that Henry Clay was primarily responsible for pushing Nicholas Biddle into asking Congress for an early recharter without citing the more compelling evidence that it was actually the Bank’s stockholders and BUS officer and cashier, Thomas Cadwalader, who were more decisive in Biddle’s thinking (250); that the philosophy of the majoritarian Democratic Party favored “unregulated” and “unstable” economy, something that has been contradicted by scholars and treasury secretary Roger Taney’s correspondence (252); that BUS supporters were “arrogant” toward white male equality (256); and besides recognizing the national Bank’s ability to propagate a sound and stable currency, that Baptist has generally taken most of the Jacksonian criticisms of the BUS at face value without considering the pro-BUS rebuttals and arguments. Admittedly the precise details of the Second Bank are not central to the overall thrust of Baptist’s otherwise excellent study, but they are numerous enough to mention. I develop my own interpretations of the Bank war with evidentiary support elsewhere.